Have you ever thrown a New Year’s Eve party? Who do you invite? Friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues? Coming up with a list of invitees can be difficult. You don’t want to go too big but inevitably people won’t be able to come. Have you considered also inviting people you want to get to know better or even people you want to meet for the very first time? What are the rules for working out who to invite to a party? Here is a list of factors to consider next time you are preparing the guest list for a party.
Will this crowd get along?
For my last birthday I invited a few friends to meet in a restaurant. I’m not an overly political person but I know people who are active in politics and belong to political parties. At this dinner people from rival parties ended up sitting together and a state election had been held the previous day! I was worried things could get ugly, but they had a great time. After all, they have a shared interest – politics.
Choose guests who will get along and may share interests. Invite guests who will appreciate being invited and will make an effort to socialise and contribute to the success of your party. Do not invite people who will feel socially isolated. For example, if your party will be a gathering of co-workers talking shop, then at the last minute don’t invite a neighbour who knows nothing about your industry and will stick out like a sore thumb.
You might want to consider who has asked you to parties in the past 12 months. Ask them along to yours, but your party doesn’t have to be just an event for social reciprocation. If you must invite people because of a social obligation, then mix them in with a larger group, but if you feel you have nothing in common with people who’ve asked you to their party, then it may be more honest not to invite them.
Avoid online invitations
Sending out old-fashioned invitations in the post gives you more control over the guest list. If you email a party invitation to lots of friends, someone may eventually email it on to a friend of a friend or worse still put it on social media and before you know it, you are holding an open house. Go old-school and send out only paper invitations.
Think of the practicalities
How big is your house? How many people can you comfortably accommodate? Do not squash in your guests like sardines. Also, what is your budget? You don’t want to run up a huge debt on food and drink. If your guest list is larger than your apartment you could consider hiring a community hall. Just be realistic in your planning and consider your finances.
Don’t lose control of your party
Do not let anyone else, including family members, take control of your party and tell you what food to serve and what music to play and who to invite. Remember, this is your party and you are in control. This is truly the case for weddings when the happy couple finds that other family members have taken over the planning. Do not allow yourself to be bullied and hold on to what you want.
Have a list of ‘reserve’ guests
Remember you do not need to invite every person you have ever met when holding a party. Work out exactly how many people you want at your party. You could draw up a list of people you definitely want to invite and a second reserve list of people who you’ll invite when some invitees decline the invitation. With two lists you can control numbers, but you’ll also need to be careful not to let the reserve list know that they are second-choices.
Give guests the option of bringing their partner
All guests should be given the option of bringing their partner along, or even just bring a friend. Turning up to a party where you don’t know anyone can be daunting. It is much easier for guests if they can come with company.
Will you need to consider security at your party?
You often hear horror stories on the news about parties for teenagers which get totally out of control, with hundreds of uninvited guests turning up. Will you need someone on the door to ensure that only invited guests gain entry? Again, party invitations sent electronically can be forwarded on to other people and even posted online.
On the other hand you may be happy to have friends of friends at your party. If you know you have plenty of room for guests, you can include a line such as “the more the merrier!” to encourage extras along. This will let your invitees know that they are welcome and encouraged to bring others along with them.
Use tact and decorum when handing out the invites
If you’re only inviting a few select people, don’t pass out invitations in front of everyone at work or in the street. Send your invitations out discreetly in the mail. Send your invitations at least a month before a more formal event and a couple of weeks before an informal party. Ask people to RSVP and also to let you know if they are bringing anyone along. You need to know how many are attending so you can plan the catering and arrange the party space.
Do not ask people who behave badly at parties
If you have an uncle who gets drunk and obnoxious at every party then you are entitled not to extend an invite to your party. I would also give other known troublemakers the flick. You want your party to be a success. You want to bring together an amenable happy group who’ll enjoy each other’s company. Also invite everyone if you are inviting a majority of any specific group. For example, if you are inviting over half of the people from work then you need to invite everyone. Don’t alienate a couple of people by inviting almost everyone. This could create bad blood in the future. Put yourself in the position of the few people who have missed out, and give them an invitation if almost everyone else is getting one.
Parties are about fun
Remember, parties are about catching up with old friends and making new friends. Parties are about celebrating life. Parties are about partying. Draw up your guest list carefully and you can expect a great night.
ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.