Yes, you can pull off a perfectly good party using whatever stock party items a venue has on hand, or by simply rearranging the furniture in your home, but you’re probably not going to pull off an astounding party. A party that people buzz about. In order to really throw a stylish event, one that acts as an extension of your personal style and tastes, one that, aside from simply providing provisions and entertainment, actually makes a style statement, you have to pay particular attention to space.
Curating a space is all about negotiating what kind of open space you want with what kind of objects you want populating that space. Do you want the tables to be a centerpiece, or would you rather they flank the sides, leaving room for dancing, a speaker, or some other form of entertainment? Do you want a single room, or would you rather give your guests a myriad of different rooms, that way people can splinter off and mingle? These are all considerations that you have to make before booking a place (or before kicking your roommate out of their room, in order to make it a “chillout” spot).
What any venue should have is a good mix of outside and inside. If you want to make your party an “event”, it’s got to have a larger scope than just the average house or small-venue party. The best venues make use of outside areas and inside areas to give guests a contrast of climate, décor, and space; if you check out, for example, the Torontoeventcentre.com website, you’ll see this kind of floor plan: one that makes use of patio spaces, as well as indoor bar and food areas.
When curating a space for your event, an important tenet to keep in mind is that you need to think like an event guest. That means offering contrast, like the aforementioned contrast between out- and indoors, but also the contrast between loud and quiet, intimate and wide-open spaces. If you’re going to have a DJ or some other form of stimulating entertainment, go for broke on it – make sure your venue has surround sound, LEDs, and projectors. But also ensure that, for the event-goer who’d like a quiet moment to speak with a friend, or chat with a colleague, you have a dedicated space that’s, if not quiet then at least accommodating of those who want to talk.
And as for the decorations: find a venue that will work with you to transform the space to meet your needs. That starts with you. If you’re going for something shaggy and relatable, convey that with more rustic or repurposed furniture, and a lax dress code for guests and wait staff. If you’re for something timeless and sleek, go with a more Spartan design, making use of wide-open space, augmenting it with small elegant flourishes. If you want something that is just full-on, unabashed, bacchanalian fun, embrace a maximalist approach with balloons, lights, bass-y music and lots of small nooks and corners to explore.
There are as many ways to throw an event as there are people to throw them. Curate the space according to who you are, what kind of personal style you want to convey and what kind of experience you want guests to have. People can sense when time and thought have gone into an event, and you’ll be rewarded with a lot of happy friends, acquaintances and/or colleagues. At the end of the day, that’s why we come together.