Great Party Ideas: 5 Key Steps to Planning a Memorable Party

Do you wonder where to get started? Looking for great party ideas? This short article will help you with some ideas and suggestions on how to create the most memorable party.

Step 1 – Style and Theme

This doesn’t necessarily mean asking guests to arrive in costume and making sure that all the food is a certain shade of blue! However some thought to the style and theme of your party will help you to plan the elements so that the party ideas have a distinct feel to them, one that your guests will remember.

Your party ideas theme will often come from the reason for the party; a birthday, special occasion, celebrating an event, a particular group of people etc. Is there a particular theme that is particularly relevant to the party, or you might wish to allude gently to one. Of course the list of theme ideas is almost endless. Choose something that has relevance to your party ideas, or is a personal favorite. Decide if you are going all out with theme – guests will dress up and everything will be themed, or do you just wish to use the theme as a guide for the planning, giving the party a particular flavor.

Party ideas for style will be to some extent dictated by the theme. Consider how you would like your guests to dress: casual, black tie, costumed; what impression do you want to create e.g. casual, sophisticated, wacky

Step 2 – Food and Drink

Most, if not all party planning will involve food and drink. This can make or break a great party. Do give some thought to the part that food will play at your party – is it the main event, or a side issue to other activities? Food and drink will be influenced by several factors, you will need to consider:

Time of day & duration of the party. Will your guests expect a full meal, a light meal or just nibbles.

Theme and style. How far will these affect the food choices? You may need to research food and drink appropriate to your theme.

Budget. Food and drink expenditure may form the largest part of your budget. Set your budget and divide by the number of guests to give you the amount that you can afford to spend on each person. If your budget is limited, you might consider asking guests to bring their own alcohol drinks, or have a paid bar. Do provide plenty of soft drinks though.

Don’t forget about how your food and drink will be served – a full sit down meal, or buffet style – do you need waiting staff? Who will prepare the food – yourself, caterers, or consider hiring a chef for the day – it can be a lot cheaper than you might think.

Step 3 – Entertainment

Do you wish to provide entertainment for your guests, or just hope that they will all find each other exhilarating company! Of course we all aspire to having the most eclectic and entertaining mixture of party guest who will effortlessly entertain each other! However the reality is that some form of entertainment will be welcomed and can be used as a great starting point for guests to interact with each other.

Think carefully about what you would like your entertainment to achieve. There is a big difference between quiet background music to fill silences at the dinner party, and a wild treasure hunt which has guests working together to locate and retrieve the booty ahead of the other teams.

You can hire professional party entertainment which will fit with your theme and style – a band or small group of musicians can be excellent value for money and they will be far more memorable than your CD collection.

Party games can be a great way to have your guests interacting with each other. Team building and making new friends are best served with team games. Search on the net for plenty of team game ideas, or try the classic Treasure Hunt. Individual entertainment games can be set up to provide amusement and a talking point – look for puzzles and quizzes that are appropriate to your theme.

Don’t be afraid to try something new or adventurous. Your party will be all the more memorable for it. Guests are usually more than happy to try something new and providing it is well organized will have fun!

Step 4 – Invitations

Send invitations in plenty of time. Design them according to your chosen theme and style. It seems obvious, but do make sure that all the party details are clearly stated on the invitation:

Date, time (indication of duration), place, directions if necessary. Make sure you explain what is expected of your guests – costume / dress code, punctuality, what to bring (wine etc).

And make it exciting! Tease them with hints of what you have planned so that your guests will be eager to attend. Ask for a response so that you will know who to expect.

Keep a list of those you have invited, and note responses as you receive them. A week or so before your party, chase up responses not received. You will find it much easier to deal with the catering and final arrangements of you know how many you are expecting to attend.

Step 5 – Be Organized

My way of getting organized is to create a major checklist. Take some large sheets of paper and write down everything that you can think of that will need to be done. Org anise those items into groups according to when they must be done. i.e. 2 months ahead, 1 month ahead, 3 weeks ahead, 2 weeks ahead, 1 week ahead, 3 days, 2 days 1 day, on the day.

Next have a walk through of your party. This is best done at the venue itself. If you are hiring a venue, ask if you can have a half hour there at a quiet time to just go through a few things. If you really cannot do this at the venue, you will have to use your very best imagination.

A walk through should be done from the point of arrival at your party – parking, walking to the front door, being greeted, where to hang their coat, what to do with items being brought, gifts / bottles. What will they see, what will they hear? Then go into the party itself, how will your guest meet other people, find out where to sit / eat / drink / get involved etc etc. You must imagine yourself going through every moment of your party – see it from your guest’s point of view. And make lots of notes about what you will have to do or arrange to make sure that your vision is reality. Add all of these items to your to checklist.

Be disciplined with your checklist. Don’t put anything off – delegate by all means, but do make sure that you check up and keep on target.

Leave as little as possible to the last minute. On the day itself you should be able to relax and enjoy being the best hostess in town.

Enjoy your party!

Copyright 2007 Nikki Wilson.

Nikki Wilson is a party planner and event organizer who specializes in treasure hunts and scavenger hunts. After planning successful events for the past 15 years, she now provides a web based service for party and event planners with her detailed treasure hunt party game plans available online. She also has a book of scavenger hunt plans to suit all ages, locations and occasions. Planning your own party, and want a party game that will be memorable and fun? Take a look at Nikki’s treasure hunt planners at

We have literally hundreds of emails from customers that you can read. Here is just a sample..


What a fantastic help your material has been. I got so motivated by it yesterday that I did most of my decision making and planning in one morning!

Thanks a million for offering to send the spreadsheet in a form that works for me. You're the best!"

Kim Bickel Indiana USA
Treasure Hunt Party Game

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"Thank you for this excellent product. We had the party on Saturday and it was fantastic. I live in France so had to translate it and we did a Harry Potter theme. For the code, we sent the kids to a computer where they typed in the code and then a PowerPoint presentation sent them to the kitchen for the treasure. It was really brilliant fun and I know we'll be doing it all again soon!
Thanks again,"

Alex Laurie, Eure et Loir France
Treasure Hunt Party Game

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"Hi Nikki

We had a great Treasure Hunt for my daughter’s 11 year old party. We had five teams and I had two other grown-ups helping me. I did the pea challenge, the balancing on a rope, a general knowledge quiz, the backward clues quiz, a memory game and a beat the buzzer game, some they found more challenging than others. The treasure map I hid inside a balloon and mixed it in with lots of other balloons so they had to pop them all to find the map, I had also hidden the bag of balloons.

The treasure map was then found and the hunt for the chest started - it was located up a tree.

They all had great fun, the weather stayed dry and the bags of gold coins for the treasure box were appreciated. What a great idea, I shall certainly keep it for using again.

Best Wishes."

Louise Ross Glasgow Scotland
Treasure Hunt Party Game

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"Hi Nikki
It all went very well. It seemed easy, and when you have the planner in front of you it is straight forward. However without the planner I really don't think I'd have been able to do it. Thank you"

Russell Holman Essex UK
Treasure Hunt Party Game

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