How to plan a party - PartyMaker App

Are you about to plan a party and not sure where to start?

You are in the right place! Our team has put together a little guide on how to plan an epic party even if you have no previous event planning guru experience. So let’s do it!

Here’s your step-by-step event planning checklist;)

Step 1.

Find a venue.

It’s a very personal decision, so we do not have much to say here. But just a few things to keep in mind when you plan your epic party:

Always ask who is responsible for catering.

Is it an in-house team or you will have to bring your own. There are pros and cons of both options, of course. If they do in-house, make sure to try the food before paying the deposit.

Can you bring your own cake or drinks?

You will be surprised, but some venues do not allow you to bring your own cake, cupcakes or alcohol while others encourage you to do that offering cake fees and corkage. You can even negotiate to bring it all without any fees if you negotiate it early enough;) So to avoid last minute surprises, discuss the options beforehand.

Is live music allowed and what’s the story with the music licence?

Again, you may find it strange, but some venues do not have a live music licence or have very strict rules regarding the type of music or volume level you can have. If you don’t want to have a quiet party, make sure to get the right venue:)

We don’t want to bore you with tons of details, but this one is important!

Access time on the day.

All those gorgeous party setups do not appear by magic – your party vendors will need at least a few hours before the guests’ arrival time to make it all work. Plus, if you have live music, allow up to an hour for each band or performer to set up and rehearse. Some places will try to sell you just an event time slot, so apply your negotiation power to get setup and rehearsals time for your suppliers. If it’s a late evening event, try also to negotiate a next morning collection for your suppliers – it will save you money on the late night collection fees.


Party Venue

Photo credit: Coppa Club

Step 2.

Choose a theme!

Trust us, it’s always more fun and adds a touch of your bespoke style. Switch on your creativity mode and start visualizing. We personally love setting up a mood board(for those who are not familiar with this “technical” term, it’s a photo grid created from event setup photos for you to visualize, inspire and set the right mood while you only starting to plan a party). Once it’s done you can easily share it with your party vendors so that you are all on the same page:)

PartyMaker hack: You can use your event album in PartyMaker App or to create your event mood board.




Step 3.

Choose your party vendors.

Now when you have your venue and your themed mood board, write a list of vendors (or friends) who can help you to recreate your dream.

You know where to get all the stuff you need? – Fab! If you are not sure, ask our London Events Team for any advice or quotes to help you with the party planning.

PartyMaker hack: Use PartyMaker App or for planning and collaboration. It offers a fab  TO DO LIST FEATURE to create and schedule tasks, assign your friends or family to help with some of them, share ideas and stick to the deadlines 😉 Just your little planning helper.

To do list - PartyMaker App


Step 4.

Create an invitation and invite your guests.

Easy! You send text, Facebook message, email or post a letter to your guests. All of these will do the job. But it will still require your time to manage responses and chase replies. It’s helpful to have an idea of the exact number a week before so that you can submit a catering order on time.  If you like Excel tables, it is useful to keep the records in one table: “sent invitations with contact details”, “confirmed”, “not sure”, “declined”, “no reply”, “dietary requirements”.

What information to include in the actual invitation? We recommend to include the core details of the event to avoid endless emails or phone calls with clarifying questions.

And that would be:

  • Occasion
  • Date
  • Event start and end time
  • Venue and location (include the map if you can)
  • RSVP details (can be your email address or phone number)
  • Dress code and event theme
  • Brief event agenda (lunch, drinks reception, dinner, afterparty, etc.). You can also mention your chosen cuisine type or any special catering arrangements so that your guests know what to expect on the day.
  • Wish list for presents
  • Entry requirements (bring this invitation for entry, reservation name, ID required etc.)


PartyMaker hack: Use PartyMaker App or to create, send and manage your invitations and guest list. It offers customized templates for any occasion and helps you to monitor and manage RSVP.

Invitation Maker - PartyMaker App

Step 5.

 Be a Star and keep smiling at your event!

If you have quite a few guests make sure you have arranged for some help with meet and greet so that you can fully enjoy the atmosphere with a glass of bubbly:) You can ask your family or friends to help or simply hire event hostesses to take care of it.

Assign a photographer’s task to some of your friends or book a professional to catch all those spontaneous sweet moments.

Send a “Thank you!” note to all your guests after the event including the link to the event photos. Why not share those special memories with them? 😉

PartyMaker hack: Use PartyMaker App to take photos and create your event album shared with all your event guests.

Have fun planning!

Plan your party with - PartyMaker App


Party playlist - PartyMaker App

Hey, let’s put on some music!

– Do you wanna check my playlist?

– What’s this? A funeral? Let’s party … and other variations – are the most common phrases at a party according to PartyMaker Statistics Bureau! So let’s see what it takes to have


at your event!

In the complex hierarchy of Party Music there are three main layers:

  1. Live Band

Live bands are great. If you have a band for your party you need to choose the party playlist together with them:

  • Usually, live bands have sets of playlists you can choose from depending on a theme, mood and age groups of the guests. We always recommend raising the tempo gradually especially if you have dinner and dance after that.
  • If you have special requests let the band know in advance so they could prepare. If a song completely out of their scope, they might refuse or take additional charge for the rehearsal time and that’s ok. For example, if an Italian Wedding Band is requested to cover Dua Lipa or Beyonce, they might sweat a bit over it for several hours of rehearsals.

PartyMaker hack:  if you know your guests’ tastes well and have additional time and money, ask the band to prepare 3-4 special songs for your guests. Trust us, they will talk about your party for another year.

Party playlist
Photo credit: High On Heels


2. Disk Jockey

A DJ is the playlist king.

 DJ’s either play only one type of music e.g. House, Jazz, Hip Hop and it’s clear they won’t play anything else or it’s clearly stated that they play popular commercial music. A good DJ knows his craft and feels the crowd so we’d recommend discussing the programme of the event and your overall expectations about the mood and the event. Same as with a live band, make sure to send any special requests in advance – bonus here: no extra charge 🙂

Best Party playlist


3. DJ Yourself

Unleash your creativity.

If you or your friend is responsible for the music it doesn’t mean the overall mood should be worse than if having a band or a DJ. The Key is the prep time – just like Batman (ask your kid).

The easiest way is Spotify and YouTube as these services have thousands of ready playlists for any occasion. You just need to type into the search: House Party, Hip Hop, Disco and etc. and go to the playlist section.

If you have a subscription with Spotify it’s ads free but with YouTube there is no way to avoid the ads in the UK.

If you have some time you could create your own playlists from the existing songs and videos like we did on YouTube :

Kids Party playlist

Kids Music Party Makers

Here are some of our favourite Playlists :

Kids Parties :

  1. TOP 100 Kids Disco Party Songs
  2. Elementary School Dance Mix
  3. Pop Party Mix

House Party

  1. Tropical House
  2. Summer Chill Mix 2018
  3. Deep House Mix

Hip Hop / R&B Party

  1. Hip Hop Dance
  2. 90’s Party
  3. R&B 2018

In case you still decide to trust your party music to professionals  – talk to our London Events Team.

Now get ready for your party 🙂

Have fun planning!



Party Catering - PartyMaker App

YESSSS, we do love a GOOD PARTY:) And yes, as an event planning startup we happen to get involved in all sorts of events, parties and cool networking hangouts. One of the cliche ice-breakers, when you are standing in a crowd of strangers with a glass of bubbly, is “Are you enjoying the party? Having a good time?” Here’s when you can switch on your inside event planner and harvest some super valuable insights. And the WINNER of the top gossip topics is….. PARTY CATERING! So let’s dive into the topic of healthy bites, trendy menus and people-friendly flavours 🙂

Party Catering MISTAKES we often hear about.

1. Choosing WRONG flavours

We’ll start with an absolute vibe killer – SMELLY FOOD! It might be yummy and moreish, have a cultural twist or just be your grandma’s special recipe but if it gives your guests a dragon breath and makes the venue smell like your favourite Saturday night takeaway place, maybe you need to leave it for your night-in sofa date with Netflix.

Party Catering

#Lifehack: Stay safe with neutral flavours menus. It seems pretty obvious, and you would assume your event caterer will get you covered, but hey, there must be a reason why we still see onion infused mini Jalapeño burritos at a tech networking event… nothing personal our tech colleagues, just couldn’t help it.

2. Assuming everyone can comfortably handle a knife-and-fork dish at a standing reception

Party Catering

Do you feel the pain already? Yep, we are talking about that particular feeling when you’d rather stay hungry than embarrass yourself with your poor plate-glass-bag juggling skills. Been there, done it… Top it up with runny sauce, fluffy rice or steak dishes and your buffet is guaranteed not to run out of food throughout the event.

#Lifehack: Finger food is a new trend and an absolute party favourite. If you are not particularly familiar with catering terminology, finger food is something you can literally eat with your fingers, comfortably and in style:). By definition, it’s proper food, so it’s quite substantial in comparison to canapes or cocktail nibbles. Its small bites format make finger food easy to serve and more importantly super easy to eat even in the middle of that crucial deal-breaking conversation. Still try to keep it simple though, with neutral, classic flavours and minimal use of running sauces.
Another bonus – finger food can be easily served as a tray service, which means no queues or distraction from the event flow. No budget for that fancy tray service? Use static food stations distributed throughout the room – finger food is still easier to grab than a full plate of buffet dishes.

3. Underestimating the value of veg options

And trust us on that one, the last thing you want to see is the faces of annoyed hungry people who couldn’t find anything they can eat and start complaining to other guests instead of enjoying your inspiring event vibe. Bearing in mind veggies are hugely in trend now, you may want to take them seriously enough:)

#Lifehack: Avoid boring light options like cucumber or carrot sticks. Show some respect to your veggie lovers and look for a party catering team with a good vegetarian menu.

You might be surprised, but there are plenty of super cool substantial party food options – like green energy balls, falafels or mini veggie burgers.


4. Not checking on the amount of staff you will have at the event

When your bar has an endless queue and guests keep complaining about not getting any food anywhere near them it is probably way too late to shout at your catering team asking for more staff. You think “I’ll leave all these technicalities to the professionals”, the reality – your caterer may just not get it quite right. They may not always be familiar enough with your event format or your expectations of service speed and style.

#Lifehack: Simples! Just talk to your party catering team, run through the event flow in detail together and double check they understand your expectations. Being on the same page before the event will save your nerves and time on the day.

5. Going for a “Don’t really care” style menu

Having thousand other priorities on their mind, hosts sometimes leave the menu choice till the very last minute and end up going with whatever on the list. You can always feed your guests with ham and cheese sandwiches but what if we say there are plenty of more creative options out there – with event caterers offering the whole experiences instead of boring buffet stations.

Party Catering Food Station

#Lifehack: FOOD STATIONS! Another cool trend which you can easily incorporate in your event. Think of a variety of interactive stations like an increasingly popular avocado station or poke bowl food providing cool, healthy alternatives to usual party food and of course all-times-favourite tapas or sushi stations.



Party Catering - PartyMaker App


Take your event food choice seriously;)

Great party catering can boost the mood, generate a cool vibe and play a significant role in your events’ overall success. Be creative, choose a reliable, original catering supplier and create awesome event experiences for your guests!!!

Last Minute Booking or How to avoid an emotional meltdown?

Last Minute Booking - PartyMaker App


Do you need a last minute booking for your event?

Did your DJ, Swing Band, Catering or Ukulele supplier cancel on you, and now you need an urgent replacement?

Usually, this situation occurs because:

  • You screwed up and forgot something (no worries – we all humans) 
  • Your supplier screwed up 
  • You are just a very spontaneous and creative person 

Whatever it is, we came up with an algorithm to get you through this quite stressful situation and get your last minute vendors and suppliers right. 


      0. Don’t Panic – this might be a hidden opportunity;) 


      1. Networking booking effect – Minimise time to maximise the outcome


Use your network of colleagues and suppliers. You don’t have much time, so email everyone from your list in bcc with a detailed request of the suppliers you need and an approximate budget for each one of them.

Copy paste a note to your most reliable contacts from the bcc list on various messengers to make sure they actually check your email and come back to you asap.

This way you’ll have the maximum outreach and save a lot of time instead of calling and chasing people.


       2. Desperate times, hidden costs and sometimes lovely service – Concierges 

Last minute booking - PartyMakerApp


If you’re in real trouble and have some extra cash, send the previous email to several concierge agencies. It’s a good idea to indicate your budget too. Make sure to leave your contact number, so they come back to you right away. 

Give a quick call to each of them 10 minutes after your email and sort out all the details over the phone so the brief is clear. 

Depending on the service you’ll pay up to 30-40% more on top vs going direct but if the urgency is real you’ll have to deal with it. Sorry.

However, this should be a backup option, don’t rely on it too much  – keep going with your search. 

3. Event booking platforms save the day? 



Last Party Minute Booking  - PartyMaker App


Good third-party alternatives are event platforms which work directly with suppliers and don’t charge the client. They take their commission from the supplier and will aim to get  you a quote as close as possible to direct prices or even better if the provider has some exclusive deals.

Make sure to get a confirmation either by email or in a chat that your request has been received and is now being processed. Good service should reply in 5-10 minutes at max. 

At PartyMaker we often get last minute requests, and we’ve got quite good at fulfilling them, as we know the approximate availability for majority of the suppliers on our platform. Here is our process: 

  • We usually get a message on our website chatbot, Instagram or Facebook page with a short initial request e.g.: I need a magician/band/sweet station for my event which is in two days. 
  • We then ask the person to fill in the “Last Minute Booking” form on our website which will take around 5 minutes but would save a lot of back and forth texts and emails. A big advantage is that you don’t have to fill different forms for each category. You just list all your requirements in one place.
  • We check our suppliers’ availability in the relevant category and contact them to confirm the date, budget and other details. We also pre-book them to make sure you don’t have more “surprises.” 
  • After that, we come back to you with a list of available suppliers and budgets.
  • In case you already know who are you looking for exactly, we check their availability and if they are already booked for your date,  we’d suggest some good alternatives.
  • Once you’re happy and all the details are confirmed, you pay through our platform (you also get a PMKR Event Protection)  – now your booking is confirmed and secured. Breathe out 🙂 

It’s important to remember that cancellation is rarely available with last minute bookings as most of the suppliers don’t refund booking fees starting from two weeks before the event. So keep this in mind when making decisions in a hurry. 


You see! It’s not that bad if you have the right process in place.

It’s also a valuable lesson either on your planning approach or unreliable supplier whom you should avoid doing business with in the future. 

We hope this was useful and please share your tips and tricks below or maybe tell us about your last minute situations? 

Top 5 skills for Eventprofs in 2020

Top skills for Event Managers - 2020 - PartyMaker App

Hi Eventprofs! 2020 is looking to be disruptive for a lot of industries with the ongoing integration of Ai, VR, Blockchain, evolving social media algorithms and other technologies emerging.

Considering the crazy pace we are moving at, we at PartyMaker decided to ask you guys about the vital skills for event profs in 2020. We got a lot of great feedback which we are so grateful for. So here we go

The top 5 skills for eventprofs in 2020 you highlighted

(they are not listed in order of importance) :

Top skills for Event Planners 2020

1. Stay Organized (the top choice of skills by real eventprofs)

Rosemary Watts – Event Sales Director at Legends Group points out how technology helps us to cut out the noise from the thousands of daily tasks: “Utilizing event management software is a game-changer! It helps to clearly define the needs of each client, where you are with billing, how far off you are from reaching your financial goals, etc.

We totally agree on this one as it’s fascinating how many organizations still use emails and notepads for project management for example

The level of self-organization directly links to how much attention we pay to details. Here is what Melissa Park – Global Event Producer, thinks on this matter:

While it may sound boring, I can guarantee you, attention to detail is the one skill that separates the good from the extraordinary. There are sooo many moving parts in events, no matter how large or small. Every, and I mean every single touchpoint whether it be with a vendor, attendee, sponsor, speaker, event feature, piece of signage or document needs to serve a purpose, be accurate, be on-brand, and communicate your message and/or goal efficiently and effectively

Another amazing tip on organizational matter by Kelsey Munday – Event Manager at George P. Johnson UK : “For me my most important thing is to set your goal for the day. We overwhelm ourselves with our to do lists and can get carried away. Each day you should set yourself a goal, work or personal, to achieve”


Top skills for Event Planners 2020 - PartyMaker App


2. Stay on top of the Trends

Rosemary Watts: “It’s also important to keep up with event trends and assure your clients that you’re providing them with a service that comes with not only years of know how, but also the latest and greatest in the industry.”

Alicia MacNeill – Director of Special Events: “I would say the skills that hold the most value for now and years to come is staying on top of current trends, and always thinking outside the box

What media outlets do you follow for the latest news and trends in the events industry? Please share in the comments below 🙂

Elina Jutelyte – Event Consultant : “Thinking Green – producing an event without assuming the responsibility of the ecological impact is no longer cool. Event planner of the future influence suppliers, providers, venue, destination into adhering to green practices and minimising waste at the event.”

Another trend which Elina emphases is the Tech Savviness. “Event planners 2020 know that event technology is not AV, in-build projector and screen. Data and technology is not something that scares them. They know how marketing and enterprise automation systems communicate and what is important for the c-suite decision making. They know how to set requirements for data, how to collect it and how technology can assist in event analysis and analytics.”


Top skills for Event Managers 2020 - PartyMaker App


3. Communication

Here comes the part when tech causes some confusion. Emails, Chats, Messengers, PM tools, Collaboration tools – all these communication channels might actually cause some of the conversations to get lost which causes delays in production, budgeting gaps and so on.

Teresa Lambert – Freelance Event Manager:”Learn to communicate your ideas, your direction, your requests Make people understand what you are actually asking Don’t ever suppose that everybody knows what you’re talking about! Also, don’t think you know it all … learn to listen to your team”

Karl Schussig – Event Director :”Communication – clean, clear, concise communication with all event stakeholders. As well as the ability to connect with all types of people from business executives, colleagues, partners, suppliers, vendors, staff.”


Top skills for Event Agencies 2020 - PartyMaker App

4. Resilience

Although this skill is important in almost any profession nowadays it is vital in events. This advice might be especially valuable for those of you who just started or even are graduating next year.

Melissa Park : “I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this business is tough! Between shrinking budgets and expanding competition, the struggle to hit targets – both sponsorship and attendee – is real my friend. This combination can lead to client or management if you’re in-house stress, and we all know that not everyone handles stress well. Now I don’t want to scare you, but if you’re going to prosper, it’s going to be a lot easier with callus-level thick skin (an awful visual I know). Want a pro-tip? Unless you’re not doing your job well, projected stress is not usually personal. The faster you’re able to identify that the stress being directed your way actually has nothing to do with you, the quicker you’ll be able to get your Taylor Swift on “shake it off, shake it off” and then, continue planning.

Teresa Lambert : “Don’t grumble it’s a hard profession with stupid hours and people who are challenging don’t be the person on the team who is always complaining you will bring the team down.


4. Resilience Although this skill is important in almost any profession nowadays it is vital in events. This advice might be especially valuable for those of you who just started or even are graduating next year. Melissa Park : "I'm not going to sugarcoat it, this business is tough! Between shrinking budgets and expanding competition, the struggle to hit targets - both sponsorship and attendee - is real my friend. This combination can lead to client or management if you're in-house stress, and we all know that not everyone handles stress well. Now I don't want to scare you, but if you're going to prosper, it's going to be a lot easier with callus-level thick skin (an awful visual I know). Want a pro-tip? Unless you're not doing your job well, projected stress is not usually personal. The faster you're able to identify that the stress being directed your way actually has nothing to do with you, the quicker you’ll be able to get your Taylor Swift on “shake it off, shake it off” and then, continue planning." Teresa Lambert : "Don’t grumble it’s a hard profession with stupid hours and people who are challenging don’t be the person on the team who is always complaining you will bring the team down."

5. Sales

Although, you as an event manager don’t sell anything directly – every day you have to sell your ideas, vision, get suppliers, internal and external stakeholders to  say “YES”. So you are a salesperson in a way which means a couple of books, courses, training on selling and negotiations would not hurt anyone.

When it comes to account management/client-facing roles you don’t only represent your company but your personal brand as well. People buy from people this is not a new line. As you progress in your career the skill to bring new clients on board would make you and invaluable top of the rank employee in any agency/venue/supplier. The sales/personal branding/consultative skills combined with networking would bring results in long term and if you haven’t thought about it – 2020 is a great year to start… actually tomorrow is a great day to start 🙂

These are the Top 5 skills for Event Managers in 2020 , let us know what would you add to the above or which other skills you think would play a big role next year in the events industry!