House Party Prep: Easy Steps

how to organize a house party

Planning a house party can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. The key to a good house party is to plan ahead, be a good host, and make sure your guests are happy. Here are some tips to help you organise an epic house party:

- Start by deciding on a date and time for your party. Be flexible and check if your most important guests are available. Avoid dates near holidays or long weekends, as people may have other plans.

- Determine your budget and prioritise essential party elements like food, drinks, decorations, and venue hire.

- Draw up a guest list and decide whether to host the party at home or in a venue. If you host it at home, you'll need to plan and organise more, but you'll have more control over the timing, catering, bar, and entertainment.

- Send out invitations to your guests. You can use paper invitations, email, or social media. Just make sure to include all the essential information, such as the date, time, dress code, and party theme.

- Plan your food and drinks. Consider the dietary requirements of your guests and whether you want a sit-down dinner, finger foods, or a buffet. Don't forget to have non-alcoholic options available!

- Create a party playlist or hire a DJ to keep the music going all night.

- Set up the party space by moving furniture, hanging decorations, and creating a dance floor.

- Prepare the bathroom by stocking up on toilet paper, clean towels, and air freshener.

- Let your neighbours know about the party in advance and apologise for any potential noise disturbances.

- Most importantly, don't forget to have fun and enjoy your own party!

Characteristics Values
Inviting guests Decide on the number of guests, send invitations, and include important information such as date, time, address, contact information, dress code, and end time.
Setting up the party Use the right lighting to set the mood, set up decorations, and create a nice flow within the house.
Choosing the music Make a playlist, play music for the type of party, and consider hiring a DJ or live band.
Coordinating activities Have guests play party games, set up a karaoke machine, and set aside different areas for different activities.
Planning food and drinks Set up a DIY drink-making station, have finger foods, match food and drinks to the party theme, and plan a midnight snack.
Deciding on the party type Have a themed party, invite friends over for a specific event, or throw a party focused on an activity.


Guest list and invites: decide on a number, and send invites in advance

The first step to organising a house party is to decide on the number of people you want to invite. The amount of space you have in your home will determine how many guests you can invite. You don't want a house that is so crowded that people can't move around easily. As a rule of thumb, you need about 8-12 square feet per person for a comfortable cocktail party, and about 5-8 square feet per person for a larger party.

Once you have decided on the number of guests, it's time to create your guest list. A good rule of thumb is to invite people from different parts of your life and let the magic happen. This could include your work friends, university friends, and that awesome ex-roommate. Just make sure you stipulate it's friends and friends of friends only.

When it comes to sending out invites, it's a good idea to use paper invitations, email, or social media. If you're using social media, be sure to specify that the event is only for friends and friends of friends to avoid gatecrashers. Send out your invitations several weeks in advance, and if you're inviting 20 people or less, you can poll your guests to see which date works best.

If you're planning a large party, pick a date that works well for you, and don't worry if it doesn't work for everyone. It's impossible to find a date that works for everyone! You can also lie about the start time to ensure a steady flow of people at your party. Tell your punctual friends to show up at 10 pm and your tardy friends to arrive at 8 pm.

Don't forget to include important information on the invitation, such as the date, time, address, and any dress code or theme. If you want your guests to leave at a certain time, include an end time, and if you're serving food, let your guests know if they need to bring anything.

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Food and drinks: plan a menu, and stock up on drinks and plastic cups

Planning food and drinks for a house party is a crucial part of the hosting process. Here are some tips to help you plan a menu and stock up on drinks and cups:

Planning the Menu:

Firstly, consider your guest list and their dietary needs. Are there any vegetarians, vegans, or guests with food allergies? Make sure to provide options that cater to everyone's dietary requirements. For example, if you are serving a salad, ensure there is a vegan option without cheese or other animal products.

Secondly, decide whether you want to cook or buy the food. If you plan to cook, choose recipes you are familiar with to reduce stress on the day of the party. Prepare and cook the food in advance so that you can enjoy the party too. If you are buying the food, order from a caterer or choose ready-made options from the supermarket.

Thirdly, think about the type of food you want to serve. Finger foods are a popular choice for house parties as they are easy to eat and do not require cutlery. Some ideas for finger foods include mini pizzas, sandwiches, chicken wings, cheese and sausage platters, wrap rolls, meatballs, mini quiches, stuffed mushrooms, salads, and puff pastries. If you are serving a meal, ensure you have enough plates, cutlery, and serving dishes.

Stocking Up on Drinks and Cups:

When it comes to drinks, it is essential to offer a variety of options, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Here are some tips for stocking up on drinks:

  • Beer: Offer a variety of beers, including non-alcoholic options.
  • Wine: Provide red and white wine, and perhaps some rosé or sparkling wine.
  • Soft drinks: Have a selection of soft drinks such as Coke, lemonade, juice, water (still and sparkling), and tonic water.
  • Energy drinks: Consider providing energy drinks for guests who want an extra boost.
  • Cocktails: If you plan to serve cocktails, ensure you have the necessary ingredients, including alcohol, mixers, ice, and garnishes. Some popular cocktail options include mojitos, piña coladas, sex on the beach, and margaritas.
  • Non-alcoholic alternatives: Think about offering non-alcoholic options such as mocktails, non-alcoholic beer, or wine.
  • Glassware and cups: Provide enough glasses for all your guests, and consider using paper cups for guests drinking outside or standing up.
  • Ice: Stock up on plenty of ice to keep drinks chilled.
  • Straws: Provide eco-friendly paper or reusable straws for practical and decorative purposes.

By following these tips, you will be well on your way to hosting a fantastic house party with delicious food and drinks!


Music: create a playlist or hire a DJ

Music is an essential part of any party, so it's important to get it right! Here are some tips to help you decide whether to create a playlist or hire a DJ for your house party:

Creating a Playlist

If you decide to create your own playlist, there are several things to consider. First, choose a platform that has a large music library, such as Spotify or YouTube, or stick with a service you already subscribe to. Think about the type of party atmosphere you want to create and select songs that will appeal to your guests. It's a good idea to mix new music with some nostalgic tunes and create multiple playlists for different stages of the party. For example, you might want one playlist to lift the energy and another for when it's time for people to go home.

When arranging your playlist, consider the flow of energy and how long you want the mix to be. Start with upbeat songs to get people in the mood, then move on to something more high-energy to encourage dancing. You can end the night with slower songs to calm things down. It's also a good idea to create multiple shorter playlists rather than one long one, so you can switch up the vibe as needed.

Hiring a DJ

Hiring a DJ can be a great way to ensure your party has continuous, high-quality music. They can work with you to create the perfect atmosphere and are adept at catering to specific audiences. DJs often provide their own equipment and can take care of setup and teardown. When deciding on a DJ, be sure to check reviews and discuss their specific needs, such as setup space and timing. The average cost of a DJ is $400-$600 for a 4-hour event, but this can vary depending on location, travel distance, experience, and event specifics.

Whether you decide to create your own playlist or hire a DJ, music is a key component of a successful house party!


Decorations: choose a theme, and prepare balloons, streamers, and lighting

Decorations are an essential part of throwing a house party. They help set the mood, create a cohesive look, and make your event memorable. Here are some tips to help you choose a theme and prepare decorations like balloons, streamers, and lighting:

Choose a Theme:

  • Selecting a theme for your party will make it stand out and create a fun, cohesive atmosphere. Themes can be based on a specific event, such as a holiday or birthday, or they can be more general, like a colour scheme or a particular time period.
  • For example, you could host a 90s-themed party, with decorations like inflatable boomboxes, cassette tape centrepieces, and 90s-themed paper plates and napkins. Or, if you're celebrating a holiday like Valentine's Day, you could use that as your theme and incorporate colours and symbols associated with the day.

Balloons and Streamers:

  • Balloons and streamers are classic party decorations that can instantly elevate the atmosphere. You can choose simple, colourful balloons or opt for themed options, like chain-link balloons.
  • To create a festive environment, hang balloons and streamers from the ceiling, drape them across furniture, or attach them to walls. You can also use balloons to create a fun photo backdrop for your guests.
  • If you want to be more environmentally conscious, consider using biodegradable balloons made from natural latex.


  • Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the vibe for your party. The right lighting can transform any space and enhance the party atmosphere.
  • For a simple yet effective option, fairy lights are versatile and can be draped, hung, or bent into any shape. You can also use LED strip light kits to subtly brighten a room or outdoor space. Position them below cabinets or run them up the stairs for a subtle glow.
  • If you want more control over the lighting levels, dimmable LED light bulbs are a great choice. You can adjust the brightness to suit the mood you want to create.
  • For a unique, upbeat vibe, fluorescent light tubes can turn any room into a dance floor. Dot them around the room or set them to flash intermittently for a disco feel.
  • To create a cosy, intimate atmosphere in certain areas, candles and fancy lamps can be a great choice.

Remember to plan your decorations in advance and start setting them up a day or two before the party to avoid last-minute stress. Enjoy decorating and getting creative!


Activities: plan games, or hire entertainment

Games are a great way to get your guests mingling and having fun. You can hire entertainment, such as a DJ or a live band, or plan some games to keep your guests amused. If you're hiring entertainment, be sure to check the venue's rules on sound levels, start and stop times, and the type of entertainment allowed.

  • Charades: Divide your guests into teams and have one person from each team act out a book, film, or song while their teammates try to guess what it is.
  • Two Truths and a Lie: Each guest writes down two truths and one lie about themselves. The host reads them out, and everyone else has to guess which statement is a lie.
  • Human Cluedo: Everyone writes their name, a household item, and a location on separate pieces of paper. Each person picks a name, item, and location. The aim is to give the item to the chosen person in the chosen location without getting caught. The last person remaining wins.
  • Cards Against Humanity: Each player is dealt ten white cards with words or phrases on them. One player draws a black card with a blank that needs to be filled. Everyone chooses a white card to fill the gap, and the funniest combination wins the round.
  • Beer Pong: Set up cups in a triangle shape at either end of a table. Teams take turns throwing a ping pong ball into the opposing team's cups. If the ball lands in a cup, a member of the opposing team must drink the contents. The first team to land the ball in all of the opposing team's cups wins.
  • Pictionary: Players write down phrases, objects, or actions on pieces of paper and put them in a bowl. Teams take turns drawing a phrase and trying to illustrate it without using words. Their teammates must guess the correct answer.
  • Heads Up: Download the Heads Up app, where one person acts out words from a chosen category while their teammates guess.
  • Mystery Word: Players put nouns in a hat and take turns trying to articulate the word without saying it, acting it out, describing it in one word, or acting it out under a sheet.
  • Ring of Fire: This classic drinking game involves spreading a pack of cards around a cup. Each card has a different rule, such as "You drink" or "Thumbmaster". Players take turns drawing cards and following the corresponding rule.
  • Chocolate, Knife, and Fork: Players sit in a circle with a bar of chocolate, a hat, a scarf, a knife, a fork, and a pair of oven gloves in the middle. Players take turns rolling a dice, and if they roll a six, they put on the hat, scarf, and oven gloves and try to cut a piece of chocolate using the knife and fork.
  • Articulate: In this board game, players describe words from different categories without saying the word itself.

Remember, the key to a successful party is to keep your guests entertained and having fun!

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Frequently asked questions

The number of people you invite will determine the vibe of your party. A small number of guests will make the party more intimate, while a larger number of guests will facilitate new friendships and lighter conversations. You should also consider the space you have available and ensure there is enough room for people to move around easily.

You can send invitations by mail, email, or social media. Include the date, time, address, your contact information, and any other important details like dress code or items for guests to bring. It's a good idea to send invitations several weeks in advance so that your friends can plan to attend.

It's a good idea to provide a variety of drinks and snacks for your guests. You can set up a DIY drink-making station with alcohol, mixers, ice, glasses, and stirrers. For food, consider appetizers or finger foods that guests can eat throughout the night. Make sure to prepare enough food so that you can replenish items as they get eaten.

You can organise party games such as lawn games (e.g. cornhole, croquet, volleyball) or indoor games (e.g. ping pong, foosball, pool). Karaoke is also a fun activity that provides music and entertainment for your guests.

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