How to Have a Successful Multi-Host Party

There are several great party planning tips to follow if you find yourself in the midst of a multi-host party.

You've been envisioning your mother's 60th birthday party for years. You know exactly where the event will be held, you've mentally hired a fantastic DJ, and you've got a divine menu perfectly planned. There's only one problem: Your sisters and brothers have their own mental pictures of Mom's big party, about which they are equally passionate.

Will the proverbial too many cooks spoil the soup? Will you and your sister end up in a hair-pulling screaming match reminiscent of your bathroom-mirror-sharing youth?

Relax. You've got a great problem: Several people care so much about someone you love that they all want to throw a party for that individual.

When sensitively strategized, multi-host parties are a great way to share party-planning labor and stress, and they can help decrease the strain on your brain and your budget.

Letting go
Those of us who plan parties routinely tend to lean toward the Type-A perfectionist end of the spectrum. We get very concerned about really important issues like the color and style of napkin rings. Although some of the lesser humans with whom we're forced to share this planet don't realize it, these are Earth-shattering issues with global ramifications.

As much as party-planner types should be proud of their tremendous abilities to throw fantastic get-togethers, they also need to realize that the most important elements of great parties are good intentions, commitment to guests' enjoyment and feelings of love for the guest of honor.

The players
Before you can plan a multi-host party, know your players. Is your brother the type of person who will actually go out and research potential party venues, or will he simply make the commitment to do so with the best intentions but not follow through? If the former is true, send him out today to begin the venue search. If your brother is not known for being responsible, he's the guy to assign nonessential or group tasks, like addressing and stamping invitations and helping with decorations.

When it comes to party planning, some people will really surprise you. The woman who can never find her keys may also be someone whose passion for a loved one's happiness enables her to get organized and plan a great event.

Don't set unrealistic expectations for your fellow party planners. Base expectations on allhosts' desires and strengths. Once you've had an open discussion with all hosts about their ideas and self-described interests, you can begin to determine the best roles and tasks for each host to accept.

Role planning
Once you have an idea of what everyone would like to do, you'll have the luxury of sharing responsibilities. This is a luxury. Embrace it. While everyone needs to pitch in across the board, some key individual roles include:

Finance: This person should be good with money, extremely responsible and realistic. The person in charge of finance should be sure that the party stays on budget and is responsible for making appropriate deposits to venues and entertainers, as well as final payments and tipping during the event.

Vision: This person, particularly, needs to be open to everyone's suggestions and able to integrate them into an overall vision for the event. The vision-maker will determine the theme, tone and setting for the party. This person will come up with ideas and integrate the ideas of fellow hosts into the plan for a memorable, special event.

Logistics: This person should have good ideas and the ability to execute them well. Most important, this individual must be detail-oriented. The logistics person will need to be open to everyone's suggestions and able to determine the location, guest list and practical needs of the party, from servingware to decorations.

Budget and timing
Two of the biggest challenges when planning a multi-host party are budget and timing. Get these two obstacles out of the way early on in the party-planning process.

Always be fair in terms of budget.Everyone has different financial abilities. If you are a lawyer, your sister is a teacher and your brother is still in graduate school, realize immediately that you'll each have a different ability to contribute.

Select a budget that will allow everyone to feel they are contributing significantly to the event. Consider a percentage-based contribution system to share expenses. Be sure that everyone feels comfortable with the budget and their assigned contributions before you agree to hold the event.

Timing issues must be addressed in a similar fashion to budget. Imagine being an integral part of planning a party and then not being able to attend.

Set a date and time for the event that is acceptable to all hosts. Remind everyone that the best time to hold an event is one when work and family stresses will be at a minimum.

That's how to do it
Parties are wonderful events, but they can also produce emotional and financial stress. Luxuriate in the experience of not having to go it alone when you have partner planners involved.

Be open and honest and plan carefully. Your multi-host party will be tremendously successful and it holds the magical potential to bring family and friends closer together.

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