Whether you’re preparing to host your annual Labor Day kickback or arranging an elegant bridal shower, party planning can be as stressful as it is thrilling. There’s a reason we’re not all professional event planners. However, there is no reason for you to drive yourself to madness trying to plan an event with a guest list of five or even five hundred. 

If you’ve been granted with the honor of planning a bachelorette party or your great-uncle’s 50th birthday, you don’t need to panic. If you take it one step at a time and plan ahead even the most daunting to-do list can be tackled. Sit down, relax, and prepare to toast to the success of your next big event.

  1. Great lighting.

There’s nothing quite like a well-organized party. Most event planners say that the difference between top-notch entertainment and forgettable parties lies not in the quality of the planning, but in the consistency. You’ve undoubtedly attended someone’s party that felt as though it was thrown together haphazardly at the last minute, or at the very least, didn’t seem to have a coherent theme. 

The number one trend for all kinds of events right now is lighting. If you’ve perused Pinterest lately, then you probably already know this. Party accessory companies like Premier Glow provide a wealth of options to help set the tone for your event, whether it’s a lowkey backyard wedding or a charity gala. String lights automatically add a trendy vibe to summer cocktail parties, while Edison lights provide a stark industrial feel to events in the fall. Hosting a cozy Christmas party? Arrange candles in every corner of the room for a soft, comforting golden glow. Another bonus to using good lighting is that everyone will be pleased with the results of the photos posted on Instagram the next day.

  1. The perfect dress

One of the most stress-inducing aspects of attending a party, much less planning one, is figuring out what to wear. Everyone knows the crippling fear of not fitting into their favorite LBD the night of the party, or of showing up in the same dress as another guest. A great way to avoid running into a fashion catastrophe is to plan your outfit well in advance. Also, consider making your purchase from an online retailer, where there is a bigger pool of options and less likelihood that you’ll be outshone by someone who’s found your favorite local boutique that was supposed to remain your little secret.

Another way to avoid choosing someone that will turn you into background noise is to be selective with the cut of the dress. If you’re usually inclined to dress moderately conservative or stick to the typical cocktail dress, there are a few simple ways you can kick it up a notch without stepping too far out of your comfort zone. A popular style right now that isn’t too overdone is the off-the-shoulder maxi dress, a perfect combination of sweet and sexy that is appropriate for women of all ages.

  1. A photo booth.

This trend might be embarrassingly passé by the time you’re throwing parties for your own kids, but for now, it remains a crowd-pleaser. No one goes home unhappy with a roll of old-school prints taken in a photo booth with their plus one. Best of all? Photo booth rentals won’t break the bank. You can easily find one within your price range. Take advantage of the vast number of affordable companies renting out photobooths by the night or the hour and install one at your party. 

It’s unclear what exactly makes the photo booth so compelling to partygoers, but it is certainly a way of amplifying the excitement level. Even the smallest event can feel like a VIP after party with a photobooth. Perhaps we’re all still kids at heart!