Former model and creative director of American Vogue, Grace Coddington, has revealed her secrets to hosting an epic party – just in time to vastly improve your New Year’s Eve plans.
Coddington wrote in a piece for British Vogue that the key is to “pack too many people into too small a space, because that way everybody has to talk to everybody, and it’s bound to have a good atmosphere”.
She’s also a big fan of keeping the drinks flowing and has a tactic for ensuring none goes to waste: “I serve the very, very best wine, but I pour it into quite small glasses, so when people leave them around they can’t waste a lot of good wine.”
For those thinking about having a last-minute get together at home on NYE, here are some tips from readers and party-planning experts to help make your night a roaring success.
Find the right location
Tom Bourlet, who works for The Stag Company, which organises stag dos, says location is critical. Whether in the house, at a venue, or down the pub, you need to find somewhere that can accommodate the quantity of people potentially arriving, he says. And can it be accessed via public transport?
Having an outside area is important, says Ben Beckles, a HuffPost reader who loves to throw a shindig, as the last thing you want is people smoking inside – and it can also help if people need to be sick. “I learned this the hard way when a girl projectile-vomited all over the carpets then refused to move and just continued being sick.”
“I host quite a few parties and always find that preparation and organisation is key,” Beckles continues. “I’ll plan in advance to make sure food and drink is all covered and the house is looking good and has been decorated for the right type of vibe.”
It’s also wise to consider finer details ahead of time. Are there suitable toilet facilities for the amount of people? Does your bathroom have a lock (if not, get one)? Is there enough toilet roll? Do you have ample space to put coats and bags?
“You can put on the most amazing party in the world, but if people have to queue too long for the toilet or there’s no loo roll, thats the thing they’ll remember when they leave,” says Bill Price, experience manager at hospitality brand Selina.
You might want to send a reminder to guests a few days before the big event so it’s fresh in their minds, too.
Dim the lights
“You need to ensure you get the right lighting,” says Toby Heelis, CEO of venue platform Eventopedia. “Keep to warm, low colours.
“Bright, harsh colours gives a room a clinical feel which makes it harder for guests to relax. To achieve this effect, create a room lit with smaller light sources such as fairy lights and novelty lighting.”
“Don’t forget to keep your guests well fed when hosting a party, even if a sit down meal isn’t part of the plan,” says Wil Chung, from Foodhub. “Stodgy, carb-heavy foods such as pizza are ideal as they are tasty, filling and most people will eat them. Avoid foods such as curry unless you don’t mind bright orange stains on your carpet.”
Even just having snacks on hand – think crisps, dips and other picnic treats like cocktail sausages, scotch eggs, olives and nuts – can help keep people satiated.
Make sure there’s space to chill out and room to dance. “Have somewhere for people to sit and relax,” says Heelis. “Soft furnishings go a long way. Scatter a few cushions, throws and beanbags around the party.”
Find the right tunes
Remember that the party isn’t about what you like, it’s about what your guests like, says Price, who recommends taking the nostalgic route with music. “Don’t start blasting out the Ibiza classics to a room of metal fans; make an assessment of the people at your party and deliver what they want.”
If you’re hosting a party with multiple rooms, Heelis recommends having different vibes to suit everyone’s needs. Try having a party room with upbeat tracks and then a more relaxed room with ambient chill.
Beckles recommends connecting your phone to the TV if you’re able to, so you can play music videos on a big screen – having visuals tend to work well with guests, he adds.
Whatever you do, be careful with volume, says Price. “Blasting it loudly too early will annoy everyone, but conversely, having it too quiet will send everyone home.”