Envision your plan well in advance, moving furniture and cleaning up the space a week before your party. You won't be exhausted on the big day with this advice from Tori Spelling's CelebraTORI: Unleashing Your Inner Party Planner to Entertain Friends and Family.
Unless your furniture is built-in (which I doubt, but if it is, aren't you fabulous?), you have infinite possibilities to change the way the space works. If you are not having a sit-down dinner, start by moving all your dining chairs out of the party space. This lets people circulate around the table or gives you the option to push the table against a wall. You'll still use the table as a food station, but this creates more space in the middle of the room.
Assess if there is any other furniture you should move out of the space. If you expect people to stand for most of the party, remove low cocktail tables. If you are worried about overcrowding, remove standing lamps.
Once you have an idea of the furniture and tabletops you want to accommodate your party, you should try to strip the excess. If you're expecting a rowdy crowd, remove anything precious and breakable. Aim to clear off all surfaces completely. To create an even cleaner look, remove lamps that you don't plan to turn on and decorative pieces that don't work with your concept.
All this moving of furniture and clutter will stir up the dust a bit, which is a good thing. If you get an early enough start, a party is a great excuse to do a deep cleaning. Vacuum. Dust bookshelves. Clean windows inside and out. Sure, any flaws will be hidden in the soft, forgiving lighting you'll soon plan, but isn't it nice to know that the windows will sparkle and a guest won't encounter dust bunnies if he stoops to retrieve a dropped cocktail napkin?
Remember that almost all of your guests will use the bathroom at least once. This is an unusual increase in activity for your poor bathroom and it's bound to suffer a bit. It should be spotless to begin with. Put two extra rolls of toilet paper out, just in case. And make sure everything is in good working order. Supply nice paper or cloth napkins for hand-drying, and a receptacle for used ones. If you opt for paper napkins, you can find a rubber stamp that goes well with your concept-a starfish for a beach party or a letter as a monogram-and stamp each napkin. It's another personal detail that looks nice.
MAKING OUTSIDE WORK
Outdoor parties can be spectacular, but most people with backyards don't have enough furniture for parties. Don't hesitate to bring the inside outside. Nothing is more chic. Move real furniture into your backyard, especially lounge-y sofas and armchairs, but even formal, traditional chairs are pleasingly ironic in a backyard setting. One day out in the sun isn't going to destroy most sofas or tables, and lounging on proper furniture al fresco is spectacular.
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Tori Spelling's Party Planning Checklist
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