Throw the perfect party…

That won’t result in a day of removing wine stains and finding food in weird places. Here’s how…

By Edwina Carr
Party planning

“Man I hate house parties.” Said no one. Ever. An awesome summer party with dancing, drinking and a late night swim is THE ultimate event on your social calendar. But what happens when you’re the host? The chances of throwing a great shindig without your house getting totally trashed in the process are pretty damn slim. Which is why we’ve found the easy tips and tricks that will allow you to get your party on minus the destruction….

1. Prep, prep and prep

The second you decide you’re going to throw a party you need to start thinking about where you’ll hold it, what food and drinks you’ll serve and how you can minimise your house looking like a bottle recycling plant afterwards. “Think about handy things that you’ll really need like fresh bin liners, disposable plates and cups, where you’re going to put rubbish – all the little factors that will really help you out come the morning after,” explains Lisa Wiles, director of Sydney Party Planner.

2. Serve yummy (practical food)

Sure, you want to serve up some awesome food to your friends but you need to be smart about it. Is serving saucy hot dogs that people will leave half-eaten around you house really the best idea? Uh uh. “The best option is to serve some yummy bite-sized options that people can pop in their mouths and don’t have to worry about waste,” explains Lisa. Making mini quiches over big burgers will ensure you have less waste to clean up the next day. #winning

3. Keep your drinks sitch simple

Sure, it’d be nice to offer your guests every drink option possible, but unless you want sticky mixer drinks and wine stains all over your house, that ain’t going to fly. “Opt for a refreshing homemade punch. It won’t take up a huge amount of space and looks beautiful,” suggest Lisa. “Always create a non-alcoholic option for guests who are driving.” Make some pretty labels so that it’s clear which is which. Plus, keep your nice glasses locked up and opt for stem-less wine glasses and cute, patterned plastic or paper cups.

4. Signage

If you don’t tell your guests where to put their empty bottles and rubbish, you can’t really blame them for leaving them scattered all over the place, right? “If you set up obvious rubbish spots around your party which clearly indicate which are for bottles and glassware and which are for general waste, by the end of the night, everyone will have essentially done your cleaning for you,” explains Lisa. Less cleaning = more sleeping in post-party.

5. Keep it contained

Rather than prepare every corner of your place for the party, choose one spot – like your outside deck or courtyard – to house the action. Why? “The most successful parties are ones that are held in an appropriate space,” explains Lisa. “Having guests in little pockets all around you house will divide people up.” Put decorations around your chosen space, keep the music and drink stations there and only serve food there.

6. Create a party toolkit

When it comes to throwing a party, it might seem like a downer, but expect the worst. “Anticipate that spillages and breakages will happen (because the likelihood is that they certainly will) and have a mop, bucket and several cleaning products in an easy to reach spot,” recommends Lisa. It means there will be less cleaning time and more mingling to be had. Cleaning will make your guests feel like they should be doing something and will kill the mood.

7. The aftermath

Even if your guests are slowly starting to trickle out, avoid turning into a cleaning lady on the remaining party people. “Don’t spend your whole night cleaning – chucking a few bottles in the bin every now and then is fine – but continuous tidying will put people on edge and make them feel like they’re obliged to clean too.” Yep, it’s a guaranteed buzz kill.