The Best Private Party Tips
— By Raashka Mannie
19 June 2019
Private parties can cover any number of events, from intimate cocktail parties before a wedding or a corporate dinner at a glitzy restaurant. No matter the kind of private party being hosted, however, there are a choice few tips and tricks that remain the same throughout each and every event. We’ve got you covered with 10 essential private party tips, whether you’re tossing up between choosing a venue or wondering how to pick the perfect caterer.
Image by Moving Events
1/ Keep your eye on the prize
One of the main questions to ask yourself when planning a private party is what the goal of it is. Are you having champagne and canapés atop a yacht with your friends for a glamorous hen’s night? Or is this a classy, black-and-white affair for a product launch? The goal of your private party is its overall intention. It can usually be summed up in a simple sentence, then kept in mind when subsequently planning. Based on this goal alone, you can expand into a multitude of subsections: the theme, the guest list, the type of venue and so much more. Your goal is the basis of your private party planning and is the foremost thing to be kept in mind when organising your event.
2/ Location, location, location
A determining factor for your private party is its location. Choosing between the myriad of venues out there can be puzzling, especially because you might hear a hundred different recommendations from a hundred different people. We have a series of stunning venues to choose from in our handy directory for you to browse through; NZ Venues also offers a comprehensive list of venues in Auckland and beyond, with fine details (such as capacity, catering, parking and so on) for the added ease of planning your private party. Sift through the venues with your main goal in mind, then shortlist the best candidates and explore them when you have a moment. Visiting the venues in person will give you a more concrete feel and help you to envision your event all the better.
3/ The fine details
With the goal and the venue figured out, the finer details come into play. The logistics of your event include the number of guests, the potential date of your private party, and the services you’re going to require to host the event (think event stylists or a cool DJ to have people dancing all night long). Your private party will slowly be taking shape, at this point, as you begin to fill out the where and how of it all. Taking care of your logistics earlier means that you’ve gotten all the run-of-the-mill bits out of the way and can focus on the more exciting parts of private party planning. After all, your event is supposed to be a treat for everyone − including you.
Image by Range Event Hire
4/ A touch of spice
To make your private party really stand out from the crowd, add a unique edge to it. In many cases, this means adding some of your own personality to the party. If you’re really into nature, think of an indoor/outdoor location like The Stables for that easy flow between heavenly greenery and a cosy interior. You can style it all over with flowers, twinkle lights and encourage your guests to take in the open air. Alternately, if you love a chic, sharp overtone, maybe you choose an edgy dress code that requires everyone to dress in monochrome colours, styling your entire event to a specific palette and setting it against a cool, modern space like the Glasshouse. Don’t be afraid to make your private party your own, because it’s yours to begin with.
5/ Kiss the chef
Besides good company, good food is the cornerstone of any event. Be it an elegant gala dinner or a night out with your closest friends, the food is what everyone will pay attention to. Many catering companies will offer taste tests, trials and propose menus of their own once you’ve given them a rundown of your private party. If you’ve got ideas in mind, share them with the catering companies and figure out who understands you best. One of the best rules to abide by is to keep it simple, because you’re going to be catering for people besides you and there’s no telling what everyone’s going to love (or what some people might be allergic to). If your private event doesn’t have a sit-down dinner, dinner-by-the-bite with trays of mouthwatering hors d'oeuvre is a fantastic option.
6/ Delegate those duties
Planning a private event all on your own can be trying. For that exact reason, the ability to delegate exists. It’s important to not run yourself into the ground trying to put together the perfect cocktail party or evening soiree. Stylists, event managers and caterers are all here to make your life a little easier when event planning. If people are offering to help you, take the chance and let yourself breathe. Outside of professionals in the field, choose those that you can trust and are comfortable with. If you’ve got a friend that’s an absolute gem when it comes to staying organised, ask them for help with the invites. Event planning requires so many skills from so many people, so don’t feel burdened to shoulder them all.
Image by Mirage Parties
7/ Manage your purse strings
Any event is always going to cost money, but no event should be worth ignoring a budget. A budget should be established as one of the very first things you do in party planning regardless of what kind of event you’re aiming for. Budgets not only help with managing larger details, such as venues, hiring staff and so forth, but also let you know where there’s room to wriggle and where you need to make cuts. A budget is an estimation, but should be treated as though it’s not for the sake of managing your finances. There are times when you can splurge a little, but these decisions will fall unto you. Be wise with your budget, as you should be with your event.
8/ Drink to that
There are a host of options for drinks at events, from hosted bars (paying per guest) to consumption bars (paying for what’s actually been used). What you choose depends on the style of your event alongside the budget for it. You can even choose a self-serve bar, with the option of a bespoke cocktail passed around for those who aren’t keen to make their own drinks. Whatever you choose, plan in advance for the possibility of running out because scuttling to the nearest store midway through your private party can cost a lot more (in both time and money) than you want it to. If your plan allows it, you may even want to opt for the luxurious choice of a personalised cocktail service to bartend for your event.
9/ Brevity is the soul of wit
At your private party, there’s going to be a moment that you pencil in for a speech. No matter how informal or formal it may be, all events need a slot in the evening to discuss why you’re all there. The key to this has, and always will be, brevity. Keep things short and sweet when making your speech, because no guest is going to manage to focus on a twenty-five-minute lecture on your life story. The general rule of thumb is 2 to 3 minutes: greet everyone, thank them for coming and make some concise statements on why you’ve gathered there. A nice addition to this could be a video (if you’ve the audiovisual equipment for it), but that should also be no longer than 2 minutes. Think of this segment like a canapé: it’s not a meal, but it should whet one’s appetite.
Image by EDMDroid
10/ Music to your ears
The choices for music entertainment are endless: DJs, acoustic duos, jazz bands, set playlists and so much more. As a result, choosing one option can be quite the toss up. When doing so, think of your event’s overall theme. If you’re having a classy private party, try for a mellow, acoustic sound (maybe a duo with guitars, or a harp gently plucking away in the background so as to encourage conversation). If your private event is more about dancing, the good times and blaming it on the boogie, try a live band with a rocking set list or a DJ that knows their way around a dance floor. You can explore a ton of bands here or at NZ Venues, with homegrown talent that is sure to knock your guests’ socks off.