By Shakerah Bhagalia, mom to 4 beautiful children, guest blogger for Nspired Style providing recipes, loves traveling, endlessly curious about the culinary world and invaluable Jozikids staff member.
Take a step back at the next party to just absorb all that is going on and then consider what really makes a party, a party. Is it the food, the company, the venue, the entertainment, the party favors, the cake, or the occasion? Or is it a combination of it all..?
The party trend has been fervently growing, raising expectation amongst toddlers and tweens alike, and even the fabulous forties, not to mention graduations, bridal and baby showers and even the matric viewing party. As South Africans, we always have a reason to bring on the party!
Party and event planning has become a career choice for many. Recently though, for individuals who cannot afford this expertise, party planning has become overwhelming . There’s so much choice and grandeur out there, it is difficult to kerb ones desire, within reason. It is thus important that you internalise what really makes a party successful, for you. This will lay the foundation of how you would structure your party, in perfect poise.
Does the Venue make the party successful?
If venue scores top on your successful party planning sheet, you will be spoilt for choice. Apart from the warm, welcoming and personal reception at home, there are many venues that will offer the same sort of ambience around the cities. Just about every entertainment venue offers a party venue option as well. Although these all come at a cost, hiring a venue will alleviate the pressure of hiring additional furniture, space and most of all entertainment ( and in my case making sure the house is spic and span before the arrival of guests, and then repeating operation clean – up the following day!)
The Upside of venue hire: less co-ordination required to set-up, themes and especially entertainment. Definitely convenient.
The Downside of venue hire: Costly, and limited to number of guests as well as time.
Does the Food make the party successful?
Kids will be kids and will be happiest with junk food, but for most adults delicious and well presented food will be remembered for days to come. Food choices should be themed with the party and most of all suit the palates of the esteemed guests. You may choose a colour scheme, and theme all food with that, or build a menu based on the time of the party. Try not to offer too much of the sugar highs – keep it balanced with suitable starters, mains, desserts and of course cake- making sure your selection complements each other. For me, spoiling my guests with some good old fashioned homemade treats is a must that I know will go straight to the heart. Some homemade, some catered – leave your guests with an unforgettable, gastronomical experience.
The Upside of Catered Food: No flops, no mess, no fuss, no endless grocery lists – masterpieces delivered on time and ready to eat.
The Downside of Catered Food: Costly, not always personal, collection and co-ordinantion can be tricky. Takes away the fun and creativity of prepping too.
Does the Company make the party successful?
If you’re anything like me, you would never know where to stop on that guest list! Just about everyone makes me happy and just about everyone should be at the party! Be it in reciprocation or mostly for the love of sharing and enjoying some time together, my guest lists are endless. However, over the years I have learnt to rather have quality time with guests in batches – so not everyone has to be at every party. Example, if you are hosting a party for your kid, keep your guest list limited to his/her friends and the same aged cousins. Parents are welcome too and in most cases this is where the friendships all begin – we get to know our kids friends and their families. And the circle gets bigger.
The Upside of big parties: Already lends to the party feel, social circles grow
The Downside of big parties: not everyone of similar interest, no quality time with any particular guest, costly
Does entertainment make a party successful?
But of course! Every party has to have some sort of entertainment – your score sheet will help you decide just how important it is to you and thereby how much you would like to spend on entertainment. An action packed party for your 8 yr old will be more entertainment focused than food focused, whereas a breakfast party for a new bride may include a few games and lay more emphasis on the food…
The Upside of hiring entertainment: Great options and great fun
The Downside of entertainment hire: costs may lend to limited nr of guests
So what is a successful party then?
Hey! So long as there’s a good combination of the above you can’t simply go wrong. Rise to the occasion, budget well and most of all wear that smile with confidence as you welcome each guest. Don’t fret the small stuff, let go, let loose, and party on!