10 Things You Probably Knew About Planning A Party

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Here are 10 things that you probably knew about planning a party.

Party decorations

Party planning ideas

There are many dedicated party sites and articles offering help with party planning and the tips below are probably already on your list, or are they? When did you last host a party?

  1. Find a special party invitation App. There are some amazing Apps available and it just adds more sophistication to receive a well prepared invitation to a party, than a text or email.
  2. The number of guests should not exceed the capacity for the venue. The last thing on your mind is probably health & safety issues or potential fire risks, etc. However, the host does have a duty of care to ensure that the safety of the guests is guaranteed.
  3. Always remember to include the starting time of the party in the invitation and be sure to include a finishing time. At least most people will start leaving by then.
  4. Some of the most successful parties have a simple theme which most people can get excited about, without having to go shopping for an outfit or props. The simplest theme idea is Colourful Clothing. Just ask your guest to wear something colourful.

5. As the host, you should not be running around multi-tasking when the guests arrive. Get help. There are many companies that offer party services and in my experience, they have become better and better.

6. Kids should not be invited to an adult’s party. Kids should have their own party with lots of exciting features.

7. If you are having a summer party, don’t forget to stock up on Ice.

chilled sparkling wine

Get a boat load of ice.

This is easily overlooked and many party hosts have had to apologise for the drinks not being chilled. Not good!

8. Be sure to insert a line in your invitation about where to park. You will be surprised how many guests get tickets at parties. If the party is in central London, there is almost a zero tolerance attitude by the well motivated wardens and the signs are ambiguous.

9. For music, if you are creating a playlist, don’t get stuck in a time warp by ignoring all the recent chart topping hits of the last 5 years unless it is part of the theme. There is nothing more annoying for the guests than listening to your 2 favourite bands all evening.

10. Hire professional entertainers. If you can afford a live ensemble or a function band, this is much better than asking a friend to sing a few songs, unless the friend is a chart topping artist.

I cover many private parties in London where space is tight and the organisers still manage to create a good balance by not inviting too many people. Some parties are crowded to the point where it takes a few minutes to get to the exit.

Penthouse london, flats in london

Apartments in London

Experienced party hosts and planners know how to create the right balance so that the guests are not knocking over the waiters and spilling your expensive champagne. They also set aside just enough space for a live ensemble to perform. If you are thinking of music for a penthouse party or some live music for a small house party, then have a look for a good duet or trio. I am not a huge fan of the soloist with backing tracks idea; it is much better to watch a competent musician performing on their own or interacting with at least 1 or 2 other musicians. The telepathy and coordination is just amazing. What’s your view on this? Have you ever booked a live band for a party in London, or any other City? Please let me know how it went. Also, if you found this post interest, please share the link with friends.

Parties in London – Ideas for a 25th birthday party.

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beach themed parties

25th birthday beach themed party

I often wonder what it would be like to be 25 again and celebrating my birthday in London. This is one of the most exciting cities for people who are turning 25 and have the means to enjoy the plethora of party options. Just trawling through Time Out magazine you will see that there are many venues which would welcome you to have all your friends and family in a function suite or club celebrating a special birthday.

One of the most exciting ideas is to have a beach themed party. I covered a beach themed party last year at the Kanaloa club, which Beyonce had visited when in London, and the average age was around 24/25 and it was such a great night. All the guests commit to the theme which is so important at a “themed party.” It was almost as if they all visited a party shop beforehand to get their props. When the girls started dancing around the steel drum band it was a real test of concentration as they all looked stunning in beach wear. If you are planning a big party, then it is worth considering the beach theme and you can ask the venue if they have a list of recommended suppliers to transform the room for your party.

Having said all of that, the James Bond theme is also very popular. Something amazing happens when people get dressed up for a James Bond party; it’s as if the tuxedo or dress comes preloaded with confidence, charm and sophistication. Maybe the simple answer is all the champagne which they drink at the reception and in some cases, the drinks before the party. It’s that feeling of the alcohol disabling your personal firewall and leaving you susceptible to all types of crazy ideas. It’s nice to retain cognitive ability so that you can find your way to your own home or at least remember the address when you call a cab. Worse is when you drink too much and make an error when a stunningly attractive person gives you their number. It is also good to retain some capability to deal with any immediate impulses at a party, perform your duties and enjoy the moment rather than disappoint someone whose hormones had your name written all over them.

In London, we have some of the best night clubs like Boujis, Aquum, Café De Paris, Dstrkt, and Mahiki, so if you want to go out and have fun with the chance of meeting famous people, then this is one way to celebrate your 25th birthday. However, if paying £16 for a glass of champagne is way too expensive or above your means, then I always like the idea of having dinner with my inner circle of friends; the friends who will always take your call no matter what. Just choose a special place and book a table. Choose carefully, as your reputation will be burnt like a steak if you get it wrong. One of my favourite places is an Indian restaurant called La Porte Des Indes which is near Marble Arch and they have a fantastic reputation for quality. It comes at a price, but you will impress your friends. If you have recently had a 25th birthday party in London or any other city, then leave some comments and share your party ideas.

Private Dining & Dinner parties in London

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Private dining London

There are some amazing venues in London where you can enjoy a private dinner party and here is a short list of venues to check out.

The Ritz Private Dining

Almeida Private Dining

Daphne’s

Bluebird

45 Park Lane

If you prefer to host your own dinner party, then this Pinterest board is full of dinner party ideas and includes everything like what to wear, what to cook and some options for musical entertainment.

If you plan to have a champagne reception for your guests, try to arrange for the arrival drinks to be ready just in time rather than preparing the champagne half an hour or longer before the guests arrive. Champagne tastes amazing when it is chilled and many of our clients prefer to serve it in a wine glass rather than a champagne flute. They also prefer a live ensemble performing during the reception than playing the current chart songs from a playlist. Whatever your preference, always plan ahead and share any dinner party ideas in the comments space below.

Best venues for a party in London

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Where shall I have my party? Which is the best venue for a party in London? This is the first decision to make when planning your party. Everything else will fit into place after you have found the perfect venue in London for your party.

Parties in London

Wedding receptions in London

Cost is always a consideration, but hiring the cheapest venue is never the right choice. Lots of Pubs have a function room for hire and this is sometimes a good option, especially if they regularly host parties. However, if they don’t host many parties, you may find yourself in a function room which has not been well maintained and will not be fit for the purpose. Avoid such venues. Hiring a good venue is also making a statement about who you are and your quality standards, but this must not be at the expense of compromising on the food or drinks. Below is a list of some of the best venues in London based on my experience of events at these venues.

  • Coq D’Argent
  • Athenaeum Club
  • The Garrick Club
  • The Roof Gardens
  • Millennium Hotel (Mayfair)
  • Cannizaro House
  • Wyndham Grand (Chelsea Harbour)
  • Home House
  • The Hempel Hotel
  • Intercontinental Hotel
  • Dorchester Hotel
  • Sheraton Skyline
  • Middle Temple
  • Grays Inn
  • Parkstead House
  • Royal Institute of British Architects

If you are having a party at a 5 star hotel and you only serve regular orange juice during the reception drinks, it will be a disappointment for your guests. Another option could be to find a cheaper venue and hire a party planner to transform the decor with a creative theme.

You could then assign all the other planning issues to your party planner. This is much better than trying to figure out all the solutions and wasting time brainstorming ideas with your friends or family.  Other ideas include hosting the party on a boat and either cruise or remain in the dock along the Embankment. There are some amazing views of London which are best enjoyed from a boat on the river, so remember to bring a good camera or hire a photographer.

Canary wharf

Sunset at Canary Wharf

Choosing the right venue for a party is one of the most important considerations. In London, there are lots of venues, but there are also problems like parking at the venue which will affect your guests and, your suppliers. Public transport can be used by the guests, but imagine if you choose a venue in a borough which does not allow your guests to park on a single yellow line until after midnight and the guest assumed that it was safe after 6.30pm; they may not see the car when they return. There are Golf clubs in London which can be hired for parties and this will solve any parking issues. There are also hotels in greater London which have more space for large parties. If you are looking for wedding venues in London, you will find lots of useful information in this short promo video.

When your guests arrive and see the amazing venue that you have chosen it always adds to the atmosphere and creates excitement. Be sure to arrange suitable entertainment to create an excellent ambiance at your party.

How to make friends in London

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Where is the best place to live? (Why London is popular)Making friends with people is like a skill which needs to be developed. You can start by developing the right mindset and saying hello and good morning to more people and see how they respond to you however, one of the best ways is to plan a party. This can include the people who you already know and ask each of them to bring two people who you have never met. They will usually persuade at least one person, but if you ask for one additional person, you can guess the outcome. Use a guest list App to get their basic contact details and confirm the numbers well in advance. Depending on the scale of your party, you will have enough time to greet all the strangers and make a good impression. During the party, you can refer to the guest list and leave some brief comments next to the name of a guest who impressed you. It will be too difficult to remember all the information if you wait until the next day, or drink too much. The idea is that you now have a list of useful names which you can add to your social network and follow-up to make friends.

Where can you host an outdoor party in London?When making contact with some of the people from the party, you may wish to suggest going out for drinks. It helps if you come up with some exciting suggestions as they are also assessing you, just as much as you are curious about them. Most of my favourite places have excellent views and the above photo is taken from the Sky Bar at the Trafalgar Hotel. I also like Skylon which is overlooking the Thames. The service is good and everything is well presented.

Cakes for Coffee

You can arrange to meet anywhere that you like, but it is better to score as many points as possible in the early rounds of a friendship. If you have good listening skills, this will be useful. There are over 300 different languages spoken in London from many cultures and you can bet that the people you meet will have an exciting story to share. You can share the most relevant parts of your experience and this will help to form a bond. Most people like the company of others with a common interest or someone who can help or become a useful contact. After a while, you will build a larger social network and be able to hand-pick the guests for your next party. I attend many parties in London to perform with my band and you can easily tell which ones are more about networking than celebrating. What’s special about London is that there are many hotels with good bars where you will find a comfortable space to have drinks with friends. You will also get a quality service and a clean glass; the wash rooms will also be in good condition. In my experience, this is better value than going to a crowded bar with a louder ambience, average service and no seats. It is worth paying a little extra for the comfort and quality.

Please leave some comments if you found this post useful and share any advice on making friends in London.

House Parties in London (Entertaining guests)

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An outdoor space is a luxury in a crowded city, but you can still be creative and plan a fantastic house party. This post covers some basic party ideas and top tips for entertaining your guests at home.

Hous parties london

You can use these suggestions for house parties, garden parties or parties in your penthouse flat in London.

Penthouse london, flats in london

It all starts with making your guests list and ensuring that you do not saturate the property until it overspills onto the streets, this will not score many points. It is best to limit the number of guests so that they can enjoy your attention and the full extent of your hospitality.  Most of my clients begin with a champagne reception and serve a selection of quality canapes.

Luxury canapes

There was a house party which my band covered in Cheyne Walk and as the guests entered, they could enjoy the aroma of freshly baked pastry. The canapes were freshly made and well presented.

canapes

The waiters then served chilled champagne, which was timed to perfection. Many hosts and catering companies get the timing totally wrong as they prepare the arrival drinks too early to cope with the demand at the start of a party. The guests arrive and are served champagne or fruit punch which was poured 30 to 45 minutes earlier.

Fruit punch

If you hire an experienced catering company, they will time this to perfection and clear the cartons before your guests arrive.

London parties

If your budget does not extend to having champagne, you could source a quality sparkling wine and ensure that it is served chilled. A good choice would be Reina Maria Cristina 2008.

house partiesChampagne should always be served in flutes, never in plastic glasses or anything else. You can purchase cheaper champagne flutes from Ikea or any suitable supplier. Be sure to add ice to your shopping list as this is easily overlooked. The most successful parties have a manageable guest list and a continuous supply of drinks, quality food and entertainment. If you have enough space for a live ensemble, then this is an excellent treat for your guests. The experienced party bands are very efficient at providing this service and will ensure that the sound is fit for the purpose. Popular choices include jazz bands, string quartets, steel drum bands and mariachi bands.

music for partiesA live act performing a couple of sets or just covering the reception drinks, will score many points and your guests will always remember such features from your party. Most of my clients just want to have live music in the background during the reception drinks, at a volume that they can talk over. After the reception phase, the party then goes into overdrive with pulsating dance music. You could at this point remember to take random pictures on your smartphone or use a dedicated photographer throughout the party. Create a pin board for the images on Pinterest or post onto your Facebook page and, you are welcome to link back to this blog post to help anyone who is planning a house party.

One final thought for house parties in London, is to remember your neighbours and insert an etiquette line with the invitation. This could include anything which you would like guests to adhere to when visiting your home.

40th Birthday Ideas

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For your 40th birthday, preparations should be made a year in advance, because this is a landmark birthday to celebrate 4 decades on the planet. Forty years of staying focused and dealing with all the challenges which have been thrown at you; all the obstacles that nearly destroyed your confidence; all the doubters who said that you could not or will never do certain things and, in the end you have stepped up and shown that you were in control of your own destiny.

Ideas for a 40th Birthday Party (Celebrate in 3 stages)

How to celebrate my 40th birthday?

The 40th birthday is so important that some of our clients have celebrated their birthday in 3 stages. One of the best parties was held at home and the client had invited just 20 guests, almost like an inner circle of friends. However, there was the most extravagant treats laid on which started with a catering company and waiters for the reception drinks, a steel drum band ensemble, a Caricaturist and close-up magician. During dinner they had a duet singing and playing guitar, followed by a mini disco and firework display in the garden. The next day, all of them were going on holiday to continue the celebrations. Some of our other clients have made use of the amazing view from the River Thames and celebrated with a cruise.

Where is the best place to live? (Why London is popular)

River Cruises

At night, the city looks amazing and you will need a good camera to capture the best images. The photo below was taken during a celebration cruise in September last year.

Parties in London

Parties on the River Thames

Hosting your party at a venue where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city, is a fantastic idea and there are many venues which are available for hire. If you wish to include our steel drum band for reception drinks, then I can recommend Altitude 360, Tower 24 and the Roof Gardens. You could also check out Paramount Bar at Centre Point and Galvin At Windows which is on the 28th floor at the Hilton Park Lane. If you have never planned a party before and need some help, there is a dedicated party ideas page with popular themes and suggestions on how to plan a succesful party. It is important that you arrange a celebration to remember turning 40, so invite the people who matter the most to you and have drinks in your garden or go out for dinner or afternoon tea at a hotel. You are welcome to submit party images in our special section to help anyone who is seeking ideas for their birthday celebrations.

How to Make Friends? (Networking & Party ideas)

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How to Make Friends? (Networking & Party Ideas)

Quality friendships are priceless. You meet someone for the first time and a bond is formed which connects you to that person. This post looks at some of the simple ideas for making new friends by networking and arranging parties.

One of the easiest things that you can do is to arrange a garden party and invite just 10 people, but ask each person to bring 2 people that you have never met. You can also request that they each bring a bottle of drink to share or you take the responsibility for all the refreshments.

Nowadays, you can use social media to set up a unique group and create a barrier to entry so that only those with similar interest can join. This strategy is popular on Facebook and LinkedIn. Some groups are so successful that they have weekly events.

To make new friends at these events you will need a certain amount of confidence to approach a complete stranger and start talking. The last thing that you want is to be seen standing by yourself. The best way to deal with any confidence issue is to be prepared and speak to the first person that makes eye contact with you. Start by saying hello with a smile and they will respond. From here, it gets more tricky so you need to focus. When you start a conversation, the person will want to know who you are and which company you are from or what you do. Keep it brief and do not hijack the conversation and make it all about yourself. See if you can explain what you do in just 2 short sentences and then allow the other person to do the same.

If you find yourself attracted to the other person, it will get more challenging. Should this happen, there is no preset response which works in all situations, but you could try taking more interest in what they are saying and exchange business cards. Whatever you do, there is certain etiquette which you should remember; do not get too excited or too loud, don’t forget their name and no personal contact like touching or patting on the back or shoulder. There will be many other attractive people at the event, so keep it brief and move on. As the host, you should arrange some light entertainment to create the perfect ambiance and ideally have a regular supply of canapes. The choice of music or live ensemble is important and should not make conversation too difficult by being loud. A steel drum band was not an obvious choice for networking parties, but we now have excellent relations with event planners who trust our expertise in this area.

After the event, you must follow up by thanking all your guests through the social platform and issue a bulletin about the upcoming event. Do not issue a series of bulletins, you need to give the impression that each event is really special. If you become successful at arranging such events, there will be opportunities to monetise the situation. You will also become a magnet and attract new friends and social followers.

Should any of these ideas work for you, we are happy to accept a gratuity and you are welcome to refer to this article in any promo material.

Kids or No Kids at a wedding? (Should Children be at Weddings?)

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Is it a good idea to have children at a wedding event?

This is a very sensitive subject and the best advice is not to have kids at a wedding event. We have covered many wedding events and kids do not enjoy weddings. The event is too long and boring for most children.

Parents have a different perspective and believe that children are a part of the family and should be included in the celebration. It is an interesting perspective, but try to look at it from the children’s point of view. What do kids like more than anything? They love to have fun. The invited guests who take their young children, do not get to enjoy the full event. For this reason, most of our clients do not permit guests to bring young children or babies to the weddings.

Some weddings have a seperate play area for children with inflatable features, and that seems to work. At other wedding events where there are no special preparations for the kids, they get bored very quickly and start to cause complete chaos. Then, there are those parents that carry pushchairs and buggies which take up lots of space and sometimes end up at the front of your beautiful wedding photos.

If you are planning a wedding and do not want any children to be at the event, it is best to state this on your invitiation. Most parents will respect your wishes and either make arrangements or, decline the invitation. There is no undo at a major event like a wedding, you just have to make some tough decisions.

There are many articles written on wedding etiquette and you will find different opinions on whether kids should be invited to a wedding or not. Please let me know your view, especially if you have recently had a wedding or plan to get married soon. For information on wedding reception music please visit the website.

How to celebrate your 21st birthday? (Travel Ideas and Suggestions)

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How to celebrate your 21st birthday?

Travel ideas for a 21st birthday celebration

If you are working or have enough money, then let the creative juices flow and enjoy a big celebration for your 21st birthday. After planning your big birthday party, I would recommend travelling abroad. Adventure and discovery is the theme for this holiday.

As usual, some caution is needed when planning a holiday and it is important to read Trip Advisor and some travel blogs for information. You can also check the foreign office advice for a chosen destination. Holiday should be fun, not a fiasco. Basic things like inoculations are easily overlooked by many people. For this holiday, it is time to leave the reckless-student software behind and load the new grown up Adventurer 1.0. Try to select a destination that most of your friends have never heard of or visited. Somewhere that has interesting things to see and do. One of my favourite sites is The Coolhunter and you will enjoy all the images of exciting places. Be sure to take a good camera and treat yourself to a condensed course on photography by reading a little about the basics of taking good pictures. There are so many things to capture with a camera on holiday and friends will enjoy when you share the images on social platforms like Facebook or Pinterest, etc,.

When you take people pictures, just snap away and discard all the weak ones afterwards instead of staging too many photos. Be sure to capture sunset images and beaches where you had fun.

Aerial shots are difficult, but impressive if you manage to snap at the right time. When you return home, hopefully you will feel inspired by just looking through all the amazing things that you did on your 21st birthday holiday.

If you cannot afford a holiday or a big celebration for your 21st birthday, then this is not a disaster. There will be many other landmark birthdays to celebrate and use these ideas. The 21st birthday must be celebrated in some way, so plan something on a scale that you can afford. Afford means without borrowing any money. If you are just having some drinks in the garden with your closest friends, you can hire a steel drum band as entertainment to make it a memorable occasion. If you are at the inception stage of planning your birthday celebrations, you are welcome to read our top tips on how to plan your first party and, the related party pages. If you are rich and looking for new ideas to celebrate your 21st birthday, then send an enquiry from the website and we will make some suggestions from our vault of parties that the band has covered.

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