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Party planning: how to throw the best bash

With real-life socialising back on the not-too-distant agenda, it’s time to start planning the party of the year. And - always happy to help - we're on hand with the hot hacks and local lowdown to have you partying like it's 1999.

THE PROFESSIONAL PARTY PLANNER

I’m going to cut right to the case here. If you want to throw a party that will be the talk of all your friends for at least the next decade, then call in the professionals. And it just happens we know the best in the business. For the crème de la crème of party planners, it has to be Lizzie Liebenhals who runs Halls and Halls Privé. She’s been planning events since 1994, so there’s not much she doesn’t know about parties. Just ask Muhammad Ali – she planned his 60th.

Her top tips:

  1. Pick a date and let everyone you love and cherish know about it. There’s no point having a party if the people you want to be there can’t make it.
  2. Pick a theme and stick with it. Tropical flowers, Mexican music and Indian food will be nothing but chaos.
  3. Think about getting a professional photographer to snap pictures of the event.

THE FOOD

laura scott, celebration cake
Laura Scott’s strawberry meringue cake with white chocolate sprinkle marshmallow decorations.

The key to any good party is the grub, right? But if your thinking about doing the food yourself – don’t! You want to enjoy your party, not constantly topping up the crisp bowls and checking the party pies aren’t burning in the oven. Surrey chef and private caterer Laura Scott makes amazing celebration cakes – so if you’re celebrating a birthday that’s the cake sorted. McLaren Fine Foods in Weybridge also offer catering for events – the cold finger buffet starts at £10 per person. But if the budget won’t stretch to a caterer, we’d suggest you pull together several large sharing platters – think cured meats, cheeses, olives, dips and breads.

THE DRINKS

Stock up on a selection of sparkling wines from Surrey vineyards to support (and sip) local. We love Albury Vineyard’s Classic Cuvee and for a pink fizz, Denbies Whitedowns Rosé. But a party cannot survive on fizz alone – so you’ll want make sure you’re stocked with a good selection of white wine, red wine and spirits, as well as soft drinks. Taurus Wines in Bramley offer advice on drinks selection as well as glass hire. The Grape Variety in Chipstead also have an excellent selection and offer free delivery within five miles and on orders over £150, and Pip of Manor Farm near Farnham are also great at helping get the drinks right at your party (big or small), offering advice and wholesale rates.

THE DECOR

Lightstyle London solar powered globe lanterns, £29.99 at Two Ducks in St John’s

Part of the fun of preparing for a social do is getting the table and interiors looking spot on, and Two Ducks in St John’s near Woking has a great supply of candles, lanterns, napkins and the like to get your interiors looking spiffy in no time. Fresh floral displays are always lovely. As well as providing flowers for events, Butterflies and Bows in Lingfield also do wedding and party styling – so if you’re a bit clueless in that area, they’ll have your party looking super stylish in no time.

Find more ideas here

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