Tuesday, 28 November 2017

5 Ways to Throw A Party With Very Little Effort

I love parties. However I have a tendency to decide to throw a party, invite loads of people and then panic about where I am going to put them all and how I am going to arrange enough refreshments without bankrupting myself or having a nervous breakdown.

My 40th which was some years ago turned into a giant affair. I invited too many people for the size of my house and garden and assumed many would decline. Most didn't. My poor husband actually ended up building a large bandstand gazebo as having invited too many people for them all to fit into our little terraced house, the only remaining space was in the garden. In May. In England where it rains a lot in May.

It was cold and wet but it was awesome. There were tiaras and jelly vodka shots and lots of cake and many wonderful people who joined me and partied into the wee hours! I felt very loved. And maybe not entirely sober as I think this picture demonstrates.

madmumof7 party tips

We learned a lot from throwing this party, and a subsequent anniversary party which featured a live band, afternoon tea for 100 and a string quartet on a budget of £200. Here are my top 5 tips on throwing a successful party with very little effort and a small budget!


  1. Rope in your friends. I have some amazing friends with incredible talents. From musicians to master bakers I am astounded at the range of abilities. Luckily they are all lovely people and for a very special occasion have proved absolute stars offering to share their talents either free or for mates rates. Don't be too shy to ask but make it clear their invitation to the event does not  depend on their contribution to it.
  2. Plan for every weather possibility. Especially if you live in a variable climate like we have in the UK where a hot sunny day can end with a deluge of rain or vice versa. It's worth investing in a couple of pop-up gazebos which are incredibly versatile for both sunny and rainy days. If nothing else you can keep the buffet dry! You can of course buy cheap gazebos which you erect like a tent but a pop up version goes up and down in minutes and doesn't need an army to build.
  3. Don't be too ambitious but DO be imaginative. It's easy and cheap to produce a brown buffet but there are only so many sausage rolls a person can eat in their lifetime before they lose the will to live. A time-short friend of mine on a budget ordered a gorgeous array of Indian sweets and asked us all to wear jewel colours. It was a very colourful party. Or think street food and make a big batch of pulled pork to pile onto soft rolls, or roast a range of flavoured sausages. Just don't forget to cater for those who don't eat meat or who have allergies. If you plan to offer food always include a request for dietary info on your invitation.
  4. Talking about invitations make use of free online invitation systems. These usually allow you to make a nicely designed invitation which you then email out. You can add information, requests and even ask for music requests or add a link to a gift registry if that's appropriate. The thing I like most about these type of invitations is that you can usually see who has viewed the invitation and it will also sort replies into categories so you can see at a glance who can and can't make it. You can also often send out a reminder just before the event.
  5. Remember to enjoy your own party! This sounds obvious but it's all too easy to rush around serving drinks and food and sorting music to make time to mingle properly with your friends. If possible get help - teenagers will often be happy to act as bar staff or servers, cloakroom attendants, children's entertainers and DJ's for a bit of extra cash


So there you have it. My learned wisdom after many parties. I have another big birthday coming up in just under two years. I just have to think how to top my 40th!

Disclaimer: collaborative post.

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