When that special occasion draws near whether it’s a wedding anniversary, engagement party, retirement ‘do’ or marking a milestone birthday it’s great to celebrate the occasion with family and friends.

It can be a daunting task arranging a party and you’ll want to get everything spot on to make it a memorable occasion for you and your guests.

With this in mind we’ve put together a list of 10 top tips to help with your planning:

  1. Book your Venue

It’s never too early to start planning for you party and the first thing to do is book a suitable venue. Here are a few points to consider beforehand:

  • Make sure the venue can accommodates all the guest you wish to invite
  • Cost of room hire
  • Is there car parking?
  • How accessible is the venue for guests with mobility difficulties
  • Check out the bar prices
  • Take a look at the catering options and prices
  • Is there an event coordinator to oversee your party arrangements?
  1. Meeting with Events Coordinator

Once you’ve established the right venue for your celebrations, arrange a meeting with the events coordinator and make your requirements clear. Get a written confirmation of what has been agreed and costs. You may want to set a date for another get together closer to the event.

  1. Catering – Food & Drink

Have a clear idea of the budget you intend to spend and consider a menu option which will go down well will the majority of your guests. Hot and cold buffets are always popular and covers a variety of food to suit most people. It’s also worth checking if any of your guests have special dietary requirements once you have the final guest list.

You may want to consider ordering bottles of wine or celebratory Cava of Prosecco if you’re planning a toast – Ask to see a wine list to check out what is available and the cost.

  1. Entertainment and Music

If you’re planning on partying the night away, you will either want a disco or possibly a live band or singers. It’s important to secure any entertainment as soon as possible as the reputable ones tend to get booked up well in advance. If you’re not sure where to  find your entertainers, it’s worth checking to see if the venue have any they can recommend. Make sure any musicians or DJ’s have their equipment PAT tested as this is likely to be a mandatory requirement of the venue.

  1. Children

If there are likely to be children attending make sure they are catered for separately for food and maybe organise a room set up nearby with a children’s entertainer to keep them happy and occupied. This will also make the evening more relaxed for their parents!

  1. Photos

Think about whether you’re happy taking any photographs yourself and between guests or if you would prefer not to have the worry and get a professional photographer in. Again, they will need to be booked well in advance and the venue may be able to recommend one to you.

Alternatively, consider hiring a photo booth for the event – Great fun for everyone and some packages come with a photographer too!

  1. Theme

Decide if you want your party to follow a particular theme – Popular ones are ‘Great Gatsby’, a glamorous Hollywood theme, Vintage 40’s, Hawaiian and James Bond but the list is endless! Apart from giving guests costume ideas you’ll want to find table and room decorations to fit with your chosen theme. Check with the venue if you are able to get in early to set this in place.

  1. Invitations

Send these out around 4 – 6 weeks before you event. Make it clear when you want recipients to RSPV (usually as least 2 weeks before your party) and give a mobile number or email address to make it easy for guests to reply. As well as the obvious info, you’ll need to advise them of the dress code or theme.

  1. Final Preparations

Meet again with the events coordinator of your party venue about 10 days before and check that all the plans are in place and ready to go. Chase up any invitation replies still outstanding so that you can confirm numbers for the catering. If you plan to enjoy a glass of wine (or two) make sure you order transport to take you home

  1. Enjoy!

Your big day has finally arrived and hopefully, if you have followed these steps and invested a bit of time in planning everything, your party will flow seamlessly and you’ll be able to relax, celebrate and enjoy every minute!