10 Rules for Planning Successful Parties

Simple rules that will make organising your next party easier.

10 Rules for Planning Successful Parties!

For some of us, the mere thought of entertaining even just our nearest and dearest strikes terror in our hearts. For others, a house full of guests is true happiness.

As an inveterate party giver, I've learned that throwing even a big holiday party doesn't have to be difficult, and can actually be fun – if you follow certain rules. Wherever you fall on the entertaining spectrum, here are our ten commandments for making your Christmas party (or any party) an unqualified success.

Sharpen your pencil and start planning your party now

It wouldn't be a bad idea to start planning your party the moment you finish reading this. Seriously, the more time you have before the Big Day, the more shopping and cooking that you can do well in advance – instead of in a mad rush at the end.

1. Get your lists in order

The first step is to create three master lists (guests, menu, shopping) that will help you keep track of everything for the party. Keep the lists in your wallet or date book, so you'll know exactly what you still need to purchase and how many guests have RSVP'd at all times.

Your Guest List

You might want to call those guests whose presence you consider essential even before you set the date for your party. Inevitably, not everyone you ask will be able to come. But if it just wouldn't be the same without them, make sure they're free and invite them then and there. Your other guests should be invited as soon as you set the date. Try to give people no less than three weeks' notice – remember, holiday schedules fill up fast.

A good strategy: invite friends and family by phone, then follow up with a written reminder. Or let your Christmas cards do double duty - as a holiday greeting and an invitation.

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