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Fail Proof Tips to Planning the Perfect Party.


Back in my heyday- pre-kids, trackies and a husband, I part owned an event management company in Sydney. I was approached by Madison Magazine to create ‘Fail Proof Tips’ to host a successful Party and/or Event. 10 years later, do you think these rules/tips still apply?    

Written by Jessica Montague (Madison Magazine)

PLAN FOR PERFECTION Adopt the adage, “By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” as your mantra when it comes to prepping for your party. “As a rule, always order or buy 10 per cent more than you’d expect to be used or consumed- especially food and alcohol says Emmalyne Butler, party coordinator and event manager. “It’s a win-win situation because leftover bar tabs can be refunded, excess food can always be taken home and so on”. Remember to cover seemingly insignificant details too. “Toilet paper is one people always forget to stock up on,” says Butler “And things like power cords, transport availability and even Blu-Tack should be considered.” If your event is outdoors, have a plan B in place should the weather take a turn for the worse- organising marquees or an indoor alternative is recommended.

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM “A successful party is driven by creating one great concept and drawing on it through relevant decorations, invitations, entertainment and style.” Says Butler. To Decide on a concept, pinpoint the purpose of your party. Think back to other fabulous parties you’ve attended that incorporated elements you loved and visualise how you want your own evening to play out. “Ask yourself: is it a formal sit-down dinner? A cocktail party with dancing? Or a relaxed evening? This will help determine the whole theme,” she says. When it comes to creating the look, be thoughtful and remember that less is more. “I’ve witnessed people trying to be over-the-top- if their concept was colours, they’d fill the room with too many and it would end up looking messy, like they’d thrown it together at the last minute,” says Butler. By keeping things simple, you’ll allow the detail of each piece to get the attention and appreciations it deserves.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND “When hiring material for your party, remember cheaper is not always better,” warns Butler. “Hiring suppliers you feel you can trust will save you a lot of time worrying.” Before deciding on a service, ask questions and understand company policies and procedures. Once you decide on who to go with, keep contact details on hand in case of any problems. Another good tip is to have a back-up supplier, says Butler. “Not many people do, which is a huge no-no.’

LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU with the ability to turn a lifeless get-together into an unforgettable celebration, having some form of entertainment is a must. “It brings guests together and breaks down social barriers,” says Butler. But remember, you must link it back to your theme- for example, a jukebox playing golden oldies will go down a treat at your Gran’s 80th birthday; a playlist of top 40 singles won’t. “I find that bands are always received well,” continues Butler. “The key is variety and they tend to play songs both old and young guests recognise.’ If in doubt, ask the providers lots of questions. They’re the ones who’ve done it all before, so they can tailor-make an entertainment package to please any party poopers out there.

ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET….PARTY When the doors swing open and your party comes to life, it’s time to play hostess. “If you’re relaxed the atmosphere will just flow,” says Butler. “With all the organising paying off, you’ll be able to feel like everything is under control and start having fun with your guests.” And while not everything will go to plan- let’s face it, hiccups do happen- if you’ve covered all your bases, there will be solutions in place to take care of the majority of these incidents before anyone notices a thing.




Whether it’s making jolly with a colleague or taking to a tabletop to show off your moves, most of us have witnessed (or committed) a faux pas at the office Christmas party. Avoid the day-after shame with these tips.



  • Eat the food on offer- those carb-loaded snacks are there for a good reason.
  • Keep track of the drinks you’ve had and have plenty of water.
  • Make an effort to mingle with people you normally don’t get to speak with.
  • Turn up- it’s bad form not to.
  • Go to work the next day, if it’s held on a weeknight


  • Jump in front of every camera you see. You will probably regret it when the shots are circulated.
  • Corner a manager for a pay rise
  • Go ‘For a few drinks’ before the party, this will not end well
  • Engage in any public kissing
  • Talk business- this is not the time


So, what do you think? Do these rules/tips still apply 10 years later? Or have events evolved in the last Decade?


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