Your ultimate party planning kit for the festive season

We show you how to throw a good old-fashioned house party this festive season without breaking the bank, PLUS tips to keep the kids entertained.

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With party season in full swing, there are a plethora of options of where to spend your summer nights. While many of us look forward to a great jol during this season, sometimes having a good old-fashioned house party is the answer. But, in the age of social media, Ubers and extensive dietary requirements, we begged to ask: what does a modern house party look like?

We’ve compiled 5 essential tips for the ultimate party planning kit.

No more last-minute running around, serial broadcast WhatsApp messages or double trips to the convenience store for ice!

Kickstart your planning

First things first – you need to have your planning in order. Gone are the days of jotting down every single task in a notebook, although keeping a notepad for quick scribbles will never not be useful. The best way to keep everything concise, is doing it online (especially if you’re not the only one planning the party). Setting up a private event page with a website like Quicket will save you so much time, especially when it comes to the finer details like RSVPs, dietary requirements and payment, if you’ve chosen to charge a cover fee.

Having your own event page also makes it easier to relay important messages to your attendees, without feeling like you’re overwhelming them with multiple text messages. Include as much information as you can: the date, time, place (include a pinned location for convenience), what to bring along and what time you’d expect everyone to leave. If applicable, don’t forget to include the theme or dress code.

Lock down your budget

The best way to not go over your budget is by setting limits for each expense. Start with the unavoidable expenses like food, drinks and entertainment, and then look to items that you can still afford. There’s nothing wrong with simplifying your planning, and easy ways to do this include keeping your menu short and sweet. If you’re planning to braai, choose one meat, one vegetarian/vegan dish and one salad option. If you’re planning on serving drinks, pick a cocktail that you know would be quick and easy to serve. Should you really want to spark nostalgia with your guests, mix up a big bowl of punch to help quench thirsts.

ALSO SEE: 4 delicious mocktails for expecting moms

Divide and conquer

There’s nothing more daunting than having to navigate a party by yourself – so why not rope in your friends to help? Now that you have your event planning page set up, it’ll be easier to manage the tasks: one in charge of monitoring RSVPs and payment of cover charge on Quicket, and another in charge of staying in touch with guests, for example. Although, if you’re a perfectionist and prefer to do all the pre-planning yourself, only call on your friends for help on the night. Small errands that easily slip our minds like preparing the salad, rounding up everyone when it’s time to leave and making sure the music is always flowing can all be quickly managed if shared.

Have a checklist

This might seem obvious, but so many times we forget about the little things like charging bluetooth speakers, buying biodegradable cups and plates and ensuring you have enough loo rolls (trust us on this one). These are all miscellaneous items, but make a world of difference to how your guests experience your party. Having to ask someone to pop out for a roll or two of tissue is not ideal.

Take it a step further and make your checklist digital – this way everyone involved in the planning can tick off their tasks, and updates can be shown in real-time in order to avoid back and forth texting to check in and see if everything has been taken care of. Trello has a great system for teamwork, and allows you to create tasks within your checklist!

Kids love to party, too!

If you, or some of your guests, will be bringing children along, remember that they will need to be entertained, too. Involve them in the fun with their own special, non-alcoholic signature cocktail, and make sure they have a space to enjoy dinner. If they’re balancing plates on their laps, things might end in disaster! Kids are pretty good at entertaining one another, but be sure to leave a few board games or arts and crafts materials around if an ice breaker is needed.

ALSO SEE: Cute Christmas houses to make with the kids

Keep these in mind

There are a few other essentials your guests may ask for that you’ll need to prepare for in advance. For example, make sure to lock any rooms you don’t want people to go into, and have your Wi-Fi password up where everyone can see it. Creating a playlist beforehand will also take the pressure off having to run back and forth to skip songs.

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