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Planning a social event: the ultimate checklist – from choosing a theme to decorating the venue


Ben Taylor

After two years when party planning was pretty much off the agenda thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be raring to organise an event for your friends and family. Demonstrating the public’s appetite for socialising, streets around the UK recently came alive to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee. A poll carried out by ICM for the Together Coalition found that 16.75 million Brits (roughly one in four people) took part in community events to mark the occasion.

And your options when it comes to entertainment have never been more varied and exciting. From murder mystery games to live concerts that you can stream in the comfort of your own garden, you’re spoiled for choice.

Party planning 101

While you may be looking forward to the get-together itself, planning it could be a different story. With so many details to iron out, from choosing a venue to arranging catering, you could quickly find yourself out of your depth.

Luckily, we’re here to help. To make your next social event run seamlessly and to take the stress out of the planning process, we’ve put together checklists specifically tailored to a variety of occasions (listed below). Whether your event is large or small, if you follow our suggestions, you should be able to avoid planning mishaps and ensure everyone has a great time.

Birthday party

Everyone has a birthday, and many people arrange parties to celebrate! Here are our top tips for planning these events.


Preparing for a wedding can be a really stressful time in a couple’s life, whether it’s a small private affair or a big, extravagant event. Trying to make this day perfect undoubtedly poses a major challenge, so we’ve come up with a checklist covering all the crucial elements. 

Murder mystery

Oranising these gatherings might seem like an unusual idea, but murder mysteries are in fact one of the most searched for social events of 2022! Whether it’s a cluedo-style challenge or a scripted game, murder mysteries are a very flexible type of event. Check out our planning pointers to ensure yours goes off without a hitch. 


Outdoor live-streamed concert

This might not be something you’ve considered before, but with the rise of artists streaming their concerts online, many music enthusiasts are forgoing long distance travel to see their favourite artists and instead hosting at-home concerts. Whether it’s Taylor Swift or Stray Kids, why not have a go at staging your own live-streamed concert? Our checklist will make planning the event easy.


Advice for all events

There are certain pointers that apply to events of all types. For example, setting a date and getting your invites out early will mean that as many people as possible can make it to the party. If there are certain key guests that you wouldn’t want to go ahead without, it’s worth getting in touch and checking if they’re free on the date/s you have in mind before you extend the invite to others.

Choosing a suitable venue is a must too. Depending on the type and size of gathering you’re planning, this could be your own home or a hired location. Whichever it is, you’ll need to make sure you have all the seating, tables and other furniture and equipment you need for your guests. And don’t hold back when it comes to decorations. Putting a little extra effort into those finishing touches can really help to make your event stand out.

Get your entertainment locked down early on as well. This will avoid any last-minute panics. And it also pays to plan your catering well in advance. If you’re preparing food and drinks yourself, make sure you have plenty of helpers.

By giving yourself lots of time to prepare and working your way through a carefully thought-out checklist, you might find party planning easier than you think – and you can be sure your guests will be in for a treat!

Share your insights

Do you have your own party planning advice you’d like to share? Or maybe you’ve been to get-togethers that have made a particular impression on you – good or bad… Have your say using #CheckItOff.