Tips for Throwing a Formal Party

Formal parties can be fun, smart, and sophisticated when you do them right. On the contrary, when done wrong, they’re just a gathering of people walking around in formal suits and high heels. Of course, if you’re planning on hosting a formal event, you don’t want it to fail, but putting together a successful party takes a lot of effort and time and requires hard work. However, planning a formal party doesn’t have to be stressful. If you remain organized and follow some simple rules, you’ll throw the event everyone will remember for days.

To throw a formal party, it would do you good to follow these tips:

Set a Budget

You have to know how much you have and how much you’re willing to spend before starting any actual planning. Keep your costs feasible. Sit and outline each aspect of your party and how much you’re prepared to cough up for each. While you’re planning, visit your budget often to make sure you aren’t going over it. Create rows of options you can live with if your original choice doesn’t work out.

Don’t hesitate to take a bit from one section to give to the other. For example, if you’re set on having an open bar, you may have to slash from your catering budget. In addition, if there are things you want but can’t afford, you can try looking for discounts and don’t be afraid of negotiating with vendors. They need your trade just as much as you need theirs!

Set a Timeline

Establish strict deadlines for specific to-do tasks. For instance, make sure to secure all your caterers and other vendors by a particular date. 

You may have to create a timeline that will aid you in meeting your deadlines based on how far ahead of time you’re planning your party. For example, you must book your caterer well beforehand (even before sending out your invitations) and then contact them again just right before your event with your final count of RSVPs. Outline each activity and decision in sequential order from start to end. And as you prepare, visit this chart regularly to make sure you’re staying on track.

Set a Date and Location

Picking a date for your event and securing the location go hand in hand most of the time. If you have a specific time and day in mind, you’ll want to search for a place that can fit your requirements. However, if you already have a setting in mind, you may need to be flexible with your timing.

Additionally, bear in mind the atmosphere you’re attempting to create when choosing the location. Depending on strictly how formal your party will be, you may want to have it in the ballroom of a hotel rather than a stuffy conference hall. It would help if you also kept in mind the essentials the setting will provide, like linens, chairs, and tables. Remember that you’ll have to rent anything that doesn’t come with the area, which will be cash deducted from your budget.

Make a Guest List and Send Out Invitations

Send out your invitations in advance of your party. Depending on the type of event you’re holding, your guest list will include an assemblage of people, from coworkers to friends. Formal etiquette indicates that you need to send out your invitations at least six to eight weeks before the party and record your RSVPs two weeks before. If you deem it necessary, you can include the dress code on your invitations.

Food and Beverages

It’s acceptable at almost every formal event to serve appetizer-style foods.

Select what type of food you’d wish (and have the money) to serve: a seated dinner, desserts only, tapas, or a buffet. Consider the food options that will suit the theme of your party. Serving pigs in blanket and cheese cubes to the Vegan Society won’t go over well, despite how much of your budget you’ll save on the catering. But you also don’t need to provide an expensive four-course meal. Make it clear in your invitations what you will serve—even if you’re not asking guests to make their selections in advance—to ensure that your party won’t be full of angry and hungry guests.


The decorations are vital for creating the atmosphere of any event. Depending on your location, you may be able to utilize the area’s natural beauty to save cash on the décor. Although, if you need to amplify a dull conference area, try adding some furnishings to the buffet or dessert tables. Just ensure that the decorations you pick aren’t in contrast with your event’s overall style. For instance, if you’re hosting a black-tie get-together in a lavish hotel ballroom, strobe lights might not be the best option. Floral arrangements usually are the most versatile and manageable choice for making a plain-looking space look incredible. However, flowers can be pricey, and there are still other alternatives that require less money. A single tea light or votive candle at the center of every table can go a long way.