Whether you've got a large group of family and friends or someone special is approaching a landmark birthday that everyone wants to celebrate, throwing a large party that everyone will enjoy can be a challenge. With so many guests attending, there are plenty of extra mouths to feed and a wider range of tastes to cater to, so there's certainly a lot more on your plate. With this in mind, here are our top ten tips for throwing a large birthday bash.
1. Try to get estimated numbers as soon as possible
Knowing how many people are planning to attend the birthday party is essential, so it's best to find out as soon as you can. Once you've got a rough figure, you can use it to make certain decisions such as where to host the party, how much food and drink to order, and where everyone is going to sit. You can use an app like Pro Party Planner for iOS or Android to keep the likes of your invite lists up to date and organised.
2. Budget to avoid overspending
Decide in advance how much you can afford to spend on the whole event, as this will affect the choices that you make further down the line when it comes to things like the venue, entertainment, and refreshments. Be careful not to spend money in a top-heavy fashion by blowing a large amount on a flash venue and then having to skimp on food and drink, for example. Plan ahead and allocate funds in a balanced way.
3. Choose an appropriate venue
There's no point planning a party for 100 people in your snug garden so, unless you have a large space available to you, there will probably be a bit of research into finding the ideal venue for your big bash. You might already have somewhere in mind, but if you need to find somewhere, TripAdvisor is a great resource for reading user reviews and finding details about potential venues. And, you can even filter places by location, so you should have no trouble finding local options. Make sure that you stick to places that are within your budget and that they can meet your needs before finalising your plans. There's little worse than paying a deposit and finding out later that something is wrong.
4. Decide between a buffet or a set menu
When it comes to deciding what type of food and drink to provide your guests, there are a few things to consider. Putting on a buffet is often cheaper and gives partygoers a lot of choice but, if you've got hundreds of people attending, it could also cause queuing chaos and a lot of food waste. Offering a set menu, often through the venue or a catering company, can be pricier, but things will be a lot more organised with less leftover food afterwards. Should you need to call in the professionals, the Nationwide Caterers' Association has a great free Find a Caterer service that can help connect you with a highly-rated caterer near you.
5. Think about any extra helpers you will need
While you can take on a lot of the responsibility for the party yourself, delegating some tasks to others can allow you to concentrate on the important matters. As soon as the invites are sent out, you're likely to have some of your nearest and dearest volunteering to help, and you shouldn't be afraid of saying yes. If you are hosting a really big party, you may also have to hire some professional catering staff to take care of everyone.
6. Buy supplies wholesale to save money
To stay under budget, it can make a lot of sense to buy supplies in bulk at a wholesaler. Plastic cups, cutlery, and paper plates are among many of the items that can be purchased in large quantities at discounted rates. Investing in some disposable supplies will also save an awful lot of tidying up afterwards as well. Alliance Online is a good choice as they offer eco-friendly supplies, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £50, so you can order as soon or as late as you like.
7. Personalise the party
A really great way of organising a memorable party is to personalise the event in the birthday boy or girl's honour. You can do this in many ways, such as having custom banners, placemats, or posters printed to display baby photos or meaningful pictures. You could create a slideshow of memories to go through before you cut the cake, or even choose a playlist of songs specifically from their birth year. There is a tonne of ways to create something special, so get thinking!
8. Ensure there is music and entertainment that has broad appeal
When you get a large number of people under one roof, it's virtually impossible to cater to everyone's tastes. You're likely to have a lot of young kids running around, teenagers sitting on their phones, middle–aged people wanting to dance, and older people wanting to gossip. The last thing you want to do is make someone feel bored or alienated, so do your best to choose a variety of entertainment that has broad appeal. This could amount to fun and games for the kids, some golden dancing tunes for the couples, and a comedian to keep everyone laughing.
9. Set up early
On the day of the event, you should get to your venue as early as you can to make sure everything is in place. It's better to be safe than sorry, otherwise you could end up rushing around at the last minute. Find out from your venue when is the earliest you can start setting up and aim for that time. You never know what situation you might find when you get there.
10. Bring along storage containers for leftovers
Once the event is over, you're likely to have a lot of edible leftovers to take care of — especially if you opt for a buffet. Rather than forcing your guests to take every morsel of food with them, arrive armed with some storage containers to easily box up uneaten food. This way, you can offer the best stuff to your team of helpers for them to take away, while keeping a lot for your own fridge at home. You can also be proud knowing you've done your best to avoid food waste.
There you have it: ten great tips for planning a fantastic birthday party to accommodate a lot of guests. Follow these points and you will be well on the way to hosting a successful event.