It’s getting to that time of the year again, the leaves are falling off the trees, the evenings are noticeably darker every week and some of you I’m sure are contemplating turning on the heating. It can only mean Autumn is well and truly here which also means Christmas is just around the corner. I know, there is no escape from it, as we are well and truly reminded by this when you open your emails or take a trip to your local supermarket. Christmas decorations, advent calendars, adverts for Christmas parties, and a possible party invite from your super organised friend, how can someone be so organised??
So, you have done the whole restaurant party, hotel or even joiner parties and you feel like something different. You have thrown in the gauntlet and decided to host a party in your home. After all, “home is where the heart is,” right!!
So, what do you need to consider when hosting for a large amount of people in your home? Firstly, change the word party to soiree, it sounds so much better and is far more fitting. A soiree is an elegant intimate event held at a private residence. “Oh yes darling we are having a soiree” just sounds awesome!!
Here are our 10 easy steps to hosting a large party at home
Do you have a theme? A theme is a great way of knocking out any confusion or indecisiveness. Having a theme makes it so much easier to decide on so many of the other important elements involved in organising your party i.e. the food, the music, the colour scheme, the decor, even the welcome drinks and the dress code.
Budget is very important because when most people decide to host at home, they mainly think about the main two things; food and drinks. And when choosing the food and drinks a lot of people underestimate the costs of hosting at home. After all it should be cheaper than going out, right!!! Well not quite especially if you are a first-time home host as you may need to purchase extra items for dealing with larger numbers. What might have been your ideal budget for the whole event can quickly become consumed and suddenly you may consider watering down a couple of your choices which will almost make you feel like a failed host before the party has even started.
Your budget will pretty much be defined by your guest list, how many people are coming and how far out are you going with the theme. If you want to wow your guests, we recommend that you have a separate drinks budget, a food budget and a theme budget. This way it stops the costs getting out of control. Even better still, consider using a company that do it all for you. The price may seem high at the initial enquiry but by the time you add everything up there may not be a lot of difference between the costs.
3. Decor & Props
Props and decor add atmosphere to any party, you just need to decided how far you want to go with it. If you need a little assistance on getting inspiration Pinterest is a great place . Just type in your theme and scroll away until your fingers go numb or until you forget why you are on the app in the first place.
You may have already decided your home is enough which is perfectly fine, or you may just want some flowers or balloons or extra lighting to create a simple ambience. For flowers we recommend Stems in Sunningdale and for balloons the lovely ladies of Hullaballoonza in Sunninghill will be more than happy to help.
Of course, you also may want to take your party to the next level and maybe create your own outdoor fire and ice theme with snow machines and fire pits, having your guests drink and eat nibbles while gazing at the stars. As we said its entirely down to you. There are so many great local companies that will happily help you create your ideal theme for your event. From flowers, balloons, portable heaters, shelters, fully staffed mobile bars, snow machines, equipment hire, the possibilities are endless.
Space falls into two categories. When we talk about space we are not really talking about square footage. It’s more the area or areas themselves. Are you hosting in one large area or over a combination of different areas i.e. kitchen, living room, outside area.
The main thing to remember is people are little bit like sheep. I’m not saying they will poop on your carpet and chew up your flowerbed, well at least I hope they won’t!! People accumulate together in bunches, which is fine, you just don’t want them all bunched together in one single area. To prevent this, you just need to do a little planning. The main attractions will always be the drinks, food, smoking/vaping/outside and the entertainment areas.
The more spaced-out things are the less bunching you will get. This will ensure your guests move around and mingle and most importantly have a great time.
You will need to consider space for storage for the food & drinks. Freezer space for ice and somewhere for the food to be presented or served. Cool boxes are a great addition for extra storage especially for drinks and extra ice.
Often overlooked but do so at your peril. As the saying goes, once you pop you can’t stop!! Everyone holds it in for as long as possible. So as soon as your guests start to go pee pee your toilet will become a very popular place. Just make sure it’s not the main gathering point. If you are hosting a large party at home, make sure you have adequate provisions.
The last thing you want is your guests watering your hydrangeas in your garden or wandering upstairs to find another bathroom. Make sure you check your toilets regularly and keep the toilet rolls and hand towels topped up or easily accessible.
If you are worried you don’t have enough toilet space, toilet hire is a great option. Forget about any thoughts you may have of a smelly Portaloo. You will be very pleasantly surprised by the very affordable and elegant options available. They come fully stocked and ready to go. If you feel you need some extra flushing power then we recommend Deluxe loos in Wokingham.
Organising drinks for a crowd can be a little daunting and costly. Our best advice is keep it simple and cover the basics. The last thing you want is to be left with a load of alcohol you and your guests don’t want. If you need assistance with your wine choices we highly recommend Laithwaites in Binfield who will be more than happy to guide you with your choices. Go into the store and sample the wines from the sample table and you will have peace of mind knowing that any unopened wines can be returned.(Up to 25% of the order)
Most importantly be clear on what drinks will be provided. This gives your guests the option of bringing their own favourite tipple. If you want your guests to BYOB then clearly state this on their invite so there is no confusion.
When hosting for a large party at home it’s all about keeping things easy and simple. A welcome drink is a great option for when your guests arrive. You can usher them towards the drinks area for a pre prepared drink and they can store their drink of choice at the drinks table. This is especially handy if their drinks aren’t pre chilled.
Drinks Table/ Bar
A drinks table is a great way of letting your guests help themselves, hence taking the pressure of you as a host going around keeping peoples drinks topped up. As we said make sure you cover the basics.
A sufficient drinks table should include:
Mixers ie tonics, soda, coke
Sliced lemons & limes and tongs
Bottle & wine opener
Small bin for caps, corks, wrappers etc
Food is definitely one of the biggest causes of anxiety for the host. First you need to decide, are you doing it all yourself, or are you buying the food premade or are you hiring a professional to come and do it for you?If you are doing it yourself keep it simple. A grazing station is an easy option that covers most palates. It’s also cold so it can be set up before your guests arrive. Your guests can go and simply graze as they please going back and forth as often as they want.
If you are serving hot food, same thing applies, keep it simple but tasty. It also must be easy to eat meaning you just need a fork, or a spoon and your guests can hold it in one hand and still eat with the other. Avoid messy food that could splash and stain your guests nice clothing, spaghetti meatballs are a definite no no! Whatever you decide to offer just be clear with your guests. Tell them exactly what food will be provided so they can also prepare and everyone’s expectations are met.
If you are ordering the food in from Costco or various other places, just make sure you have enough space to store it safely. There are loads of companies that sell pre-prepared party food that can be served cold or just reheated in your oven. All you need to worry about is having enough plates, crockery, glassware and cutlery.
Remember you can also hire plates and glasses and for an extra fee these can be returned dirty. There is also a great range available of sustainable disposable plates, cutlery and glassware. For a local hire company we recommend AB event hire in Woking.
Music can make or break a good party. Too loud, not loud enough, too sad or slow, too modern, too oldie worldie. Yes, the music minefield is a tricky area, trying to please everyone’s tastes is not easy especially for a large crowd. If you are organising your own music the main decider will be your sound system. Is it powerful enough. People make a lot of noise especially when they are having fun so make sure you can thump out the tunes and it’s not swallowed out by the noise of the crowd.
Organise your playlists well in advance and even pre-play them so the music fits in with your event. Ask your guests to send any requests for the music in advance so you can add to the playlist or you can create a shared playlist on Apple or Spotify that guests can add to. Alternatively there are 1000’s of pre-made playlists on either of these platforms.
You may want a few playlists. When your guests arrive it’s better to have more background music so people can mingle and catch up without having to shout in each other’s ears. And once the mingling is done switch to a more upbeat tempo to encourage people to start to shake those moves. If this all sounds like too much hassle, why not hire a local D.J to come and do the music for you
9. Have Fun
It’s a party after all but most importantly as a host you must enjoy yourself. A happy host will have happy guests. A stressed host will have stressed guests and that goes against party etiquette. No body wants to be stressed at a party especially the host. Its OK to ask for help, it’s not easy organising a party let alone a large party. Just remember you don’t have to do it all by yourself.
As the saying goes “Many hands make light work”. Give family members and close friends specific jobs i.e. looking after the coats, welcome drink & drinks table, glass clearing, helping serve or top up the food or coordinate the music. Even superhero’s have sidekicks!! And if this all sounds like too much work, give us a call at DaChi’s Restaurant to You!
10. The Dreaded Clean Up
This is one of the most deciding factors when hosting at home. You have planned and planned, shopped and chopped, bribed the children to help with extra cleaning and moving stuff. Organised the food, drinks and decor. Finally, the day has come, you are nervous and excited and relieved its finally here.
Guests arrive, drinks are filled, some are spilled, the food is consumed, the music flows and the dancing and singing continue till the early hours and you almost forgot about the stress and hassle of organising the party.
The guests slowly trickle home and as the final one leaves you lock the door and look around, and that inner felling of elation quickly deflates by what is left behind. Despite your guests being very helpful and considerate you’ll kind of just want to close the kitchen and living room doors and forget about what’s behind them for at least two days. Maybe little elves will come down in the middle of the night and help with the clean-up.
Or you could just ask DaChi’s Restaurant To You to host your event for you. We hosted a large event on Saturday and as the last guest left our client simply locked her door. She smiled at how easy and enjoyable it was and just turned off the lights and went to bed. She had a great night’s sleep and didn’t dread coming downstairs in the morning as her house was exactly how it was the previous morning she woke up.
I hope you enjoyed this blog if you need any help organising an event, please do feel free to contact us. We specialise in hosting private events in your home from 2 to 40 guests.