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The PLOT (People, LOcation & Time): Step 2 of the Party Planning Checklist

Before you start running with all your party ideas, it is worth taking a bit of ‘time out’ to consider the PLOT.

In this post we are going to be looking at the following:

Who you are going to invite to your party, taking into consideration the age and number of people.

Where you intend your party to be held.  Whether it will be at your home or a function room: indoors or outdoors.

The time your party will be held and the influence this will have on the feel of the party. 

Whether you wish to have a casual daytime affair or a more upbeat evening party.

It is important to know who will be coming to your party, where it is going to be held and what time it is going to be.  Step 2 of the party planning checklist, therefore needs to have some thought given to it.

So what does the PLOT really consist of?  Lets look at each section in detail:


Freedigitalphoto.netFor a party to be successful, you obviously need to have guests attend!  We will discuss the options for the invitations later on in step 4 of the party planning checklist.

You have already set out your budget from step 1 of the party planning checklist and you therefore know exactly how much you have to spend on each part of the party.

Your budget will dictate whether you invite 20 or 50 guests to your party.

You also need to take into consideration that the number of people you invite to the party, will have a distinct impact on the overall feel.

You may wish to consider some of the following questions:

Are you intending on having a quiet and personal affair, in which case you will only want close friends and/or family.

Are you aiming to have a louder and busier affair?

Do you wish the party to be open to your family or would you prefer it to be for friends only?

Would you like there to be an age limit to the party and therefore have it as a child free zone?

 Is it the kind of party that you would invite your elderly next door neighbours too?

You want to think about who you are going to invite to your party

as this will affect the overall vibe!

You must remember that not everyone you invite to your party will be able to attend.

It is not a personal thing that you will receive rejections, it is just a fact of life….people are busy!!

The chances that you are going to pick a date that everyone can attend is quite remote.  It is quite normal to expect 10-20% of your invitations to respond with a “no”.

Do you need to ask for RSVP’s?  It depends!

If you are holding a party where you need to know exactly whether people are intending or not, it is advisable to have a RSVP date on your invitation.  This would be relevant if you were catering food and drinks or if you were having the kind of party that would be affected if people didn’t come: such as a murder mystery party.

If the number of people attending will not affect your planning as such, then you may not wish to specify an RSVP date.


There are many different locations that you could choose to hold your party.  The location will depend on your budget and working through the party planning checklist will have outlined how much you have to spend on this.

House Parties:

You may have decided that your home is the perfect place to hold your party.  As mentioned in the ‘8 step Party Planning Checklist Explained‘ you need to ensure that the space is appropriate to the number of guests you are going to invite.

You need to ensure that your guests are not too squashed, but at the same time, you do not want them to be feeling lost in a large open space.  The space your party is held in will be critical for creating the party atmosphere.

To hold the party inside or outside?

Freedigitalphoto.netIf the party is being held at your home, you will first need to consider whether this will be held inside or outside of your home.

The time of year may affect this decision, but also the type of facilities in your home.

Do you have an undercover outdoor area?

If not, then an outside party may not be appropriate if there is any chance of bad weather.

Parties held in your backyard:

If you have a pergola outside, this may be the perfect location for your party.  The pergola will contain mess but also ensure that your party can still be held outside, no matter what the weather is like.

Even if your party is held outside, you still need to consider that guests will come inside your home to access the kitchen and the bathroom.

If you have a pergola but are still concerned about your guests getting cold, you could add tarpaulins around the pergola.  These are a cheap alternative to cafe blinds if you do not have them permanently installed.  You will be surprised just how effective the tarpaulins are at keeping the heat in, especially when accompanied by some patio heaters.

Holding the party inside your home:

If holding the party outside is not an option, then you may wish to consider holding it inside your home.

Think carefully again about who will be coming to your party and what kind of mess is likely to be made.  Red wine stains can be difficult to remove!

Holding your party inside the home can create quite a bit of mess, but if you are prepared for this and it doesn’t phase you, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

If you have any items of sentiment in your home, it would be advisable to move these out of harms way.  Likewise if you have items that you don’t necessarily want people to see.

If you are able to keep the party to one section of your home, that would be advisable.  This would help to keep any mess contained but it will also help to keep a good atmosphere in the party.  You don’t want people to be too spread out and you don’t want to have to keep swapping rooms just to interact with everyone.

Moving some furniture may also be a good idea to provide you with some extra space.

> Does the thought of clearing up after a party not appeal to you?

If not, then the idea of holding a party in your home may not be appropriate.  You may wish to find a function venue instead as an alternative.

Function rooms as a party venue:

There are numerous venues that you can choose from to hold your party.  Options may include a room at a local pub or community centre, sports club or coffee shop.  The type of room you decide upon will depend on the number of people you have attending and also your budget!

Church halls often have rooms that can be hired out, but it is a good idea to check on their policy because not all church’s will allow alcohol on their premises.

If you have limited funds to spare it is worthwhile taking some time to research the function rooms.  Some rooms will allow you to hire for free provided that a certain amount of food or drink is ordered.

A lot of function rooms will also allow you to arrive early in the day to put up decorations, but check with the owners what and where you are allowed to decorate.  Don’t just assume!  Use your imagination here, as a lot of initially drab looking rooms can come to life with some decorating.

For more details on decorating, check out my post on Step 5 of the party planning checklist!

Cant afford a function room, what about a local park?

If you wish to have the party outside of your home, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a function room, you may wish to consider holding the party in a local  park.

Some parks have BBQ areas that you can use, so all you need to do is pack some portable tables and chairs and you have your party setup!

Deciding on a outdoor location also gives a few options such as a park, the beach or the local playground.



The time of your party will be dictated by who will be coming and where it will be held.




What parties are ideal to hold during the day?

Parties that are going to be held outside of your home and in a public place will need to be during the day.

If your intending on having children at the party, it would also be advisable to hold it during the day.

If a number of your guests live a reasonable distance from the party location, you may wish to hold it during the day to allow easier attendance, especially if public transport needs to be used.

What parties are ideal to hold during the evening?

Parties that want to create the ‘night on the town’ feel, will need to be held during the evening.

Parties held outside on the patio can have a lovely atmosphere with the correct lighting.

Think about what food you will be planning on serving.  If you are intending on serving ‘nibbles’ only, then hold the party late enough to enable people to have dinner first, otherwise you might find lots of pizza delivery guys at your front door.

7.30-8pm is usually a good time for most evening parties to start.

What about specifying an end time to the party?

• Is there a time that you want the party to end?

If your party needs to end at a specific time, it would be good to indicate this on the invitation so that people can plan when they want to arrive.

Function rooms will often be specific about when you need to leave the venue, which could vary from 11pm to early morning.  It is important to clarify this when booking but remember to also notify your guests of this.

If the party is being held at your home, you may not be concerned you what time your guests leave, therefore you may choose not to specify an end time for your party.

Do you have friends that are likely to rock up at any time of the night?

If your friends can often turn up at haphazard times, you may wish to specify that the party is only on until a certain time (ie: midnight or 1pm).

Specifying a time does not mean you are restricted to your party ending at that time, but it will prompt people to arrive earlier rather than after they have been out for dinner and drinks in town!

> Have you thought about letting your neighbours know you are holding a party?

If you plan on having a party at your home and you expect there to be some level of noise, it would be courtesy to let your neighbours know.  If you think your party might run until the early hours of the morning, it is especially important to do this!

Providing some warning will prevent having an angry neighbour in his pyjamas knocking on your door at 1am asking for the music to be turned down…. however you might also want to consider turning the music down after midnight even if you have warned your neighbours!!


That covers the PLOT for your party.

The hard work is now done and now you can start with the

exciting details of your party planning!


What is next on the party planning checklist? We need to consider step 3: The theme.

Check out my next post for more details.


Thanks for reading.


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2 Responses to The PLOT (People, LOcation & Time): Step 2 of the Party Planning Checklist

  1. Ivan August 29, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    This is one of the best party plan review I have read. Planning is very important and I think the time, location and the type of people attending a party matters a lot.
    I will surely use these tips when planning my next party. Thanks for the share Cath.

    • cath August 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Thank you for the lovely review Ivan. I am really pleased that you are able to take away some useful tips to make your next party even more of a success! I will be adding lots more useful tips for you, so please feel free to pop by any time. Life is here to be enjoyed ;0)

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