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How to host a party home-from-home holiday cottages

Around The World

How to host a party home-from-home

Kate W 19 June 2018

Our tips and tricks for a smooth celebration.

What kind of event are you having? Is it a large occasion with hundreds of guests, a casual cocktail party or a kid’s birthday celebration?

Let us spark your imagination with this list of essentials. Our ideas and advice will help you get started, arranging a marvellous event in the perfect party house.

PREPARATION IS EVERYTHING

Pace yourself.

The shopping can take a couple of trips so check your stock a few days before; cook what you can ahead of time; arrange a chef and bar staff so they can source top ingredients; even the cleaning and arranging of furniture can be done several hours early.

You have plenty of time so don’t frazzle yourself with last-minute necessities. That time should be spent enjoying dressing up and greeting your guests.

Remember: the prep begins when you’ve decided on a fabulous venue.

Tip #1: Write/type a plan on your calendar and endeavour to stick to it.

DESTINATION AND VENUE

Cotswold Lodge
This Cotswold Lodge is a former manor house surrounded by gorgeous scenery.

Spectacular properties are our forté so let us find a house for you with excellent party features like a hot tub, waterside views or a rooftop terrace.

It’s essential to have a chic space for entertaining guests for a casual soiree, luxurious dining area if you’re planning a formal dinner or large grounds with shrubs and hidden spaces for large celebrations.

Tip #2: Pick a property with a special feature like a games room, swimming pool or hot tub and you’ll find the entertainment takes care of itself.

Tip #3: Variety is your friend - look for venues with a mix of quiet snugs and large social spaces.

Our recommendations for the perfect party venue:

Lyne Water Retreat and Spa (sleeps 26), Scotland

Park Grange (sleeps 24), Suffolk

Estuary View (sleeps 26), Gloucestershire

Cliff House (sleeps 10), Devon

THE PERSONAL INVITATION

Invites

Before arriving at your destination treat your guests to a surprise invite sent through the post or, even better, hand-delivered.

Add a personal touch, something to make the invite really stand out and give the guests a taste of what is to come. If it’s a small gathering, hand-write to each attendee or for larger groups, make use of themed stamps and photos for quick ways to personalise each letter.

Tip #4: Entice your guests with unique and memorable creations such as origami cards, a short video or an interactive dot-to-dot invite.

SEASONAL CATERING

Fresh and seasonal cuisine makes for delicious dining so do some research on the region you’re headed to, then get chopping or hire a private chef to do the hard work for you.

Canapés or Fine Dining

Canapes

For a chill party with a relaxed atmosphere canapés and buffet options allow guests to dip into the dishes when they fancy, keeping people on their feet and mingling.

Tip #5: If you are including a sit-down dinner but want to ensure party energy remains lively, provide a tapas-style dinner. Picky eaters will thank you.

Formal dinners and fine dining are essential for elegant occasions, they provide the opportunity to create wonderful centrepieces, highlight local delicacies and have fun with the presentation of the meal.

If in doubt whether to provide light buffet-style or a sit down three-course dinner, have both!

Tip #6: Create a VIP menu for vegans and those with allergies (that’s Veggie Important People).

Cocktails or Champagne

The eternal conundrum, do you dip your toe into the exhaustive world of cocktails or stick with the classic mix of champagne and wines?

There’s nothing like hearing the pop of a champagne cork to mark a celebration. Hiring a sommelier to select the perfect meal pairings will only increase guests’ enjoyment of the dining.

For anyone looking to add a little spice to their party here are a couple of cocktail options – one with gin and one alcohol-free to suit every palette:

Bramble

Bramble Cocktail: Mix together lemon juice, sugar syrup and a shot of your favourite choice of gin. Pour over crushed ice then drizzle with Creme de Mure. Garnish with lemon twist or fresh blackberries.

Elderflower Mocktail: Squeeze lemon over crushed ice. Add 75ml elderflower cordial and 1ltr sparkling water than gradually add sugar for a little sweetening. Slice any remaining lemon to add as garnish with a sprig of mint.

Adding sugar or salt to the rim of a glass: Dribble lemon/lime juice or honey onto a plate. Dip the top of the glass in and twist then do the same with a plate sprinkled with either sugar or salt – take your pick!

PARTY FAVOURS

Like the invites, these can and should be personalised. Anything can make a wonderful party favour, from traditional mini bottles of drink and perfumes to the more unusual tiny coffee jars, plants or biscuits personalised to the taste of each attendee.

Leave your guests with a memento to remind them of all the fun they had while partying away.

Tip #7: Bring a camera or two to pass around so people can snap their own polaroid pics. Makes great entertainment and wonderful DIY party favours.

CHOOSE YOUR PARTY DÉCOR

Tip #8: Lighting is everything.

Lighting

If you are outdoors, time your party to ensure guests arrive to watch the sunset. If you’re inside, then add strategically placed lamps and lights to warm rooms and light up particularly stunning features.

For simplicity and elegance drape fairy lights across the venue – they always provide a magical backdrop to any soiree or dinner.

Canapés and sweet treats become part of the décor and a perfect venue will act as a stunning backdrop.

Suspend garlands from beams, place stylish signage throughout the venue and create magnificent centrepieces using flowers or incredible artwork.

ADD DIY STATIONS

DIY Stations

Interactive projects provide lovely entertainment for guests who will enjoy having the complete freedom to choose what they would like to do. DIY stations also encourage people to mingle as they investigate the different options on offer.

If your party is child-friendly, it’s a great way to keep the little ones entertained. Ideas include make-your-own party favours or contributions to a group project you unveil after dinner or on social media.

Tip #9: Want to avoid the hassle of hiring a bartender? Set up a drinks station where guests can try their hand at making new cocktails or quietly pour themselves a craft beer.

CREATE A PLAYLIST

Saxophone

Great music can set the atmosphere for your party. Whether you’re in need of upbeat dance hits that will get people on their feet or nostalgic songs and instrumentals to play in the background during dinner, ensure you find something to suit your party style.

For bigger gatherings nothing beats a live band. Work with the musicians to tailor the songs in the set to suit your special occasion.

Tip #10: Spotify and YouTube are great places to source ready-made playlists.

OUR TOP TIP: SPOIL THE GUEST OF HONOUR

If it’s a birthday, an anniversary or engagement, there will be a special someone (or plural someones) at the centre of attention.

For these guests of honour presents are lovely, but an excellent host knows that to truly spoil a person you must see to it that they are enjoying themselves. There’s certainly no need to be at their beck-and-call, your guest of honour will no doubt want time to mingle with friends and family, but it is always a smart idea to do check-backs to ensure everyone is comfortable and having a fab time!

cupcake

ESSENTIALS CHECKLIST:

Have you got all you need for the perfect party? We’ve created a short checklist, so you know you have got it all sussed out.

  • A fabulous venue
  • Invites designed and sent
  • Menu plan (incl. drinks options)
  • Sweet treats
  • Centrepieces
  • DIY stations
  • Party favours prepped
  • Decorations
  • A tailor-made playlist

Get started by choosing the perfect venue from our collection of party houses.

Want more? Browse through a variety of different properties . . . we have country houses for relaxed get-togethers, beach retreats for special occasions by the sea and luxury venues for ceremonies with a picture-perfect backdrop.

Around The World
Kate W 18 January 2019
Around The World
Ed 31 December 2018
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