I remember trying to organize a teachers’ day function in college. My friends and I had arranged everything from food, games, decoration, invitations, music, gifts—everything. The only thing we had left for the last moment was getting permission from our Principal for using the auditorium on that specific day. When we did go up to her in the twelfth hour she denied to give permission (because of some internal politics between the teachers, but that’s a different story). At that point of time we had no other option left, except to go ahead with our plans and use the auditorium without the permission—all the invitations had been sent out to the professors from other departments so it was a huge prestige issue by then. On the day of the function we were putting up streamers and balloons in the auditorium when the Principal stormed in with the security guard and ordered us out. Then the security guard pulled down all the decoration that we had put up so painstakingly. The function was called off and our entire department had to bear the shame for our mistake.
So, from that day I knew the basic rule of organising any event, of any scale—decide on the venue first and then get the necessary permission from the concerned authority. Otherwise, your guests might just be arriving outside a locked room.
The second most important thing has to be the guest list. Decide who you are going to invite and send out the invitations as fast as you can. Then if possible, it is better to get a confirmation from the invitees so that you can arrange the correct quantity of food. Suppose you invite thirty people and only ten manage to come. Just imagine how much food will be wasted.
Now that your guest list is sorted out, you need to get to the food. It is always advisable to know which of your guests are vegetarian and which non-veg. After all, letting your guests go back hungry is the worst form of hosting.
Next comes the decor. You need to talk to a decorator and decide on the decor according to your budget.
Lastly, you need to choose the kind of entertainment that you want to offer your guests, which will of course depend upon the nature of the occasion that you are celebrating.
I hope these small tips will prevent you from making the same mistake that I made while trying to organise a party for the first time.