You have just announced to your friends that you are going to organise a house party. This may be for a birthday, a house-warming or just for a bit of fun, either way you want to get it right. After reading our “How to organise a house party” guide, you will be able to cover everything to make sure your party is the best it can be.
When you organise a house party, you need to think about who you invite.
How many people you invite will depend on the size of your house, what the party is for and the amount of food and drink you are providing. If you are going to put on a huge bash you can invite your best friends, close friends, work colleagues and neighbors (quite important if you are going to make lots of noise). Typically, 70 to 80% of the people you invite actually turn up. Therefore, you should ideally invite 20% more people to your party, if numbers are important to you.
However, if you are planning on a smaller do, you will need to be more picky with the guest list. If your close friends can provide enough of an atmosphere for everyone to enjoy themselves, just invite “key personnel”. This is especially the case if you are on a budget.
The best way to send invitations these days is over the internet. Email is OK, but starting a Facebook or Whatsapp group is the ideal way. As people can reply quickly, giving you an idea of numbers. You can also make it clear what you want them to bring with them. For example, you can get them to bring some beers or even organise for everyone to bring their signature dish.
2. Types of Guests
It makes for a great party when you invite guests who genuinely enjoy themselves. But, you need to make sure you get the tone right for them. For example, if your guests are foodies or wine buffs, a beer bong and a few bags of crisps are not going to work.
Themed parties can work well, or they can fall flat very quickly. Some themes can be deemed too much effort by some people. But, it all depends on your group of friends. Therefore, if you want a theme you need to consider how it is going to be received.
Examples of good themes for fancy dress parties:
– “letter of the alphabet” Party
– Ugly shirt/jumper
– You are what you eat
– Favourite animals
– TV shows
Examples of bad themes for fancy dress:
– Bad taste (someone will get offended)
– Favourite minority
– Anything but clothes
– Anything that may encourage someone to dress up as a Nazi or a dictator
A themed party doesn’t have to be fancy dress though. It can be themed around a type of food or drink. For example, a Mexican party is great. People love the food and it is easy for them to help themselves. For drinks, you can make some mean margaritas and get in a load of Corona.
4. Planning the Menu
Once you have decided on the guests and the theme, you need to plan what food you are going to provide. It is much easier to make a big pot of something and some finger food. This way, people can help themselves. If you feel time is against you, speak to your friends and ask them to bring something with them. If you organise it well, you can get people to bring nibbles and dessert, while you prepare the main course.
Ideally, you should choose food that can be made in advance. This is because, you are going to be busy on the day of the party getting everything ready.
Examples of easy party food are:
– Anything slow cooked. This type of food can be made the day before with minimum effort. It is super tasty and actually matures to taste better
– Cheese board. Don’t just get some boring cheese, get some interesting ones that people may not have tried
– Meatballs. A big pot of meatballs in a tomato sauce is always popular. It can be put in a wrap, with pasta or on jacket potatoes
Click here to see what to do with meatballs
– Jacket potatoes. Very easy and can be eaten with various fillings
– A big cake. Everyone loves cake
Click here for tips for using a slow cooker
5. Get help
Make sure to draft in some help where you need it. Do you have a friend that is an excellent cake maker? Do, you know someone who has a decent sound system? Maybe you could get someone to help put up any decorations or set up the table?
6. Make a shopping list
Starting your shopping list in advance, is a good thing to do. As the night of your party approaches, you will come up with more ideas. If you leave it too late, you will be sending someone to the shops to buy something essential that you have forgotten.
Depending on your group of friends, a selection of games may be worth considering. Some people love them, some don’t. Therefore, on the night don’t be too pushy and make people feel like they have to play. Again, depending on your guests and the type of party, think about some drinking games that they may want to play.
Click here for some great beer drinking games
Preparations building up to the night
1. Clean up
I’m not saying that you need to deep clean the house right now. But, doing some jobs that will make your life easier on the day are worth doing in advance. Have a look around and see what you don’t need and put them away. You don’t want things to get broken unnecessarily.
Organising a playlist in advance is a good idea. This can take a while, and you don’t want to be building your playlist on the night (at least not to start with). Sometimes, the music should match the theme of the party. However, if you have the Mexican theme, some people may not want to listen to Mariachi music all night.
3. Do first round of shopping and cooking
You may not buy everything in one shopping trip, but it is a good idea to get some provisions in. Depending on your menu, you may be able to cook up some food and freeze it, ready to defrost closer to the party.
One week before the party
1. Clean the house
Doing this now, will mean that you will only need to give the place a quick once over before the party starts.
2. Set the scene
Arrange the furniture so that everyone has somewhere to sit and they can move around easily. This is a good time to contact friends to bring “emergency chairs” if you don’t have enough seating. However, less seating encourages people to mingle, rather than sit around. Therefore, don’t worry too much about seating. You may want to think about an area for people to dance or play games.
3. Make sure you have everything you need to cook with
If you have planned to cook certain food, make sure you have the necessary cookware to make it in. You will either have to buy it or borrow it from a friend.
4. Stock the bar
Now is time to get the booze in. You really need to think about stocking with three bottles of wine per person, and three to four cocktails per person. You also need to stock up with some beer, this way you can start chilling it (nobody likes a warm beer).
Click here for fun booze related stuff
Click here for the best gifts for wine drinkers
Three days before the night
1. Tell your neighbors
You may have invited your neighbors, but if not, it is a good idea to give them some notice that there may be some noise. Use the “pop round for a drink!” line, this way they will feel included, or will go out to avoid the noise. Additionally, if you are on good terms with them, they may have a spare parking space for some guests. Keep ’em sweet.
If you are decorating your house for the party, now is the time to do it. You don’t really want to be arranging lights and bunting on the day of the party.
3. Hide personal stuff
If you have items in your medicine cabinet that may reveal things about you that you don’t want getting out, hide them. Additionally, make sure any “personal” items are well hidden. Unless you want them to be found in hope that the party takes a different turn 😉
4. Finish your shopping
This is the time when you should be buying the rest of the things you need for the party. It is also when you should be planning how long everything is going to take to cook. This is so everything is ready in time for your first guests to arrive.
Day of the Party
1. Quick clean
Giving the house a quick once over in the morning is ideal. Hopefully, you will just have a few touch ups to do that won’t take too long.
2. Last minute cooking
You should have most things prepped by now, so this will be minimal.
3. Set up bin bags etc
The least amount of clearing up to do after the party the better right? So set up bin bags and recycling bags in strategic positions. This way people won’t just dump bottles and cans everywhere
4. Arrange your tables and chairs
Get everything ready, put the food out on the tables and make it easy for people to help themselves to food and drink. Cover the food as necessary and remove the foil/cling film when people arrive. Don’t forget snacks and nibbles!
5. Greet your guests and enjoy yourself
You have done all the hard work, so now it is just time to enjoy yourself and entertain everyone.