Our 6 Top Tips for Running an Event at Home

Here’s my six top tips to make your house party the very best it can be.  I want your party to be THE party of the year – the one that everybody reminisces about in years to come.  Here’s how to do it – in this article we’re going to talk about:

  • Music
  • Bar set up (some would argue the most important factor to any house party at home!)
  • Marquee set up
  • Catering
  • Toilets
  • Furniture

1. Top Tips for House Parties – Music

First up is the music – we need a lively atmosphere to get your guests dancing all night.  In terms of delivering this – you have two choices – either a DJ or a speaker system with a playlist. They both have their places and ultimately it depends on the vibe you’re going for and the budget. Unlike the cheaper alternative, a DJ can read the dance floor and carry on playing a certain genre of music that’s getting everybody dancing.  A speaker and a playlist can suddenly go off-piste and change genre and everyone walks away, ruining the lively vibe on the dance floor.  DJs are also able to mix in tracks so when one song finishes another one plays – unlike a playlist where you do tend to get that three seconds of awkward silence.

Top Tips for House Parties

A DJ at any party is our number 1 recommendation – it’s very tempting to save on outlaying money when a speaker and playlist can theoretically do the same thing, however an experienced DJ knows what sort of songs to play and when – their ability to read an dance floor and mix in songs together is what gives a far greater experience for you and your guests. If we do have a budget to stick to a well thought out playlist and speaker is the next best thing.  Try and position the speaker where it would be difficult to change the music source – every party has that one person who thinks they have a better playlist on their phone, nobody likes these people.  They are very annoying. If you’re not too sure where to start Abacus can help you bring in a speaker system with your playlist or better still, we can help you bring in a club-experienced DJ.  It’s that’s really the number one priority, making sure we get the music right?  It ultimately depends on your budget.  I have made a more detailed article about speakers versus DJs in this post here.

2. Top Tips for House Parties – Bar Set Up

Some would argue this is the number one factor to a successful party (I would also tend to agree!).  Several customers of mine have mentioned they would use their kitchen as the bar set up – They thanks me after their party that having an actual bar & fridge within the marquee was a far better idea. I always suggest to bring a bar and a fridge and bring that within the marquee to keep the atmosphere all contained within one space as people do tend to congregate in kitchens with house parties, where there isn’t really a proper bar set up.  You want to keep the atmosphere lively and the best way to do that is keep your bar & dance floor of your party in one place within the marquee to avoid having pockets of people spread everywhere.

Bars Waitresses 3 Abacus Marquee Event Hire e1504599031651

If the budget is tight – it doesn’t have to be an extravagant bar – a small 5ft bar with an under counter drinks fridge will be at around £200. You do also have options to upgrade your bar to our curved LED bar too.  These do tend to work better in 6m wide marquees as they are a larger bar than our gloss black bar.

My #1 recommendation for bars for house parties at home

I would also highly recommend bar staff working behind the bar for your house party as it takes the pressure away from you being the host of your event.  You are celebrating something special and it might even be your own birthday.  By having your own bar staff at your party means you get to be a guest of your own party, rather than a host. You won’t fall naturally into “host mode” and fetch people drinks as they arrive – everybody knows there is a proper bar set up with bar staff.  Otherwise it will be midnight before you know it and the night has finished.  Honestly – this will be the best investment you make for your party.  They help clear away glasses and generally tidy to the marquee and the house up during the event, so it means the clear up the next day is very minimal. I have made a more in-depth article about how to run a bar properly at home here.

3. Top Tips for House Parties – Marquee Set Up

Next up is marquee lighting and the general marquee set up.  Lining and lighting are the two biggest factors to the look of your marquee.  If you’re wanting a more nightclub vibe, blackout style linings can give you a really good nightclub really easily – This creates a very dark vibe and are perfect for birthday party set ups.

Marquee Hire Newbury

Blackout linings provide a great nightclub vibe for house party set ups. You can watch one of our nightclub marquees in action here Equally, if you’re wanting a more chilled atmosphere, pleated white linings work really well too.  Lighting such as LED up lighters which can be set to any colour you wish, or even change colour in time with the music are a must for all house parties.   LED fairy lights create a night sky effect are also a recommended item. Marquee Hire Kempston Lighting is everything: White lined marquee with LED Uplighitng & Fairy Lighting can be a great set up for a lively atmosphere. Nightclub Lighting Systems Adding a n LED downbar with a smoke machine over the dance floor which changes colour in time with the music will give you that full nightclub experience.

Neon 9m x 18m Marquee 4

Adding Chillout Areas Having a chillout area for guests to take a breather on is a nice touch.  Having something different to normal chairs and tables such as White faux leather Cube seats & Poseur tables are a great addition to your marquee.

4. Top Tips for House Parties: Catering

For house parties, catering would be your personal preference and also the demographic of the guest list . You may want to bring in a caterer to provide some light refreshments, whether that be a barbecue, canapés, bowl food, or perhaps even a food truck for more informal events. We can steer you in the right direction as we have a wide range of caterers who we will happily recommend to you if you’re stuck on ideas. If serving bowl food or canapés we would always advise to have some poseur tables & stools dotted around your marquee so guests can rest their drinks on and leave plates on when finished.  Our rule is generally 1 poseur table for every 6-10 guests.

Screenshot 2021 06 24 at 08.09.10

Food trucks such as our friends at Wesley Pizzeria are currently a really popular choice for lots of house parties

18th & 21st Birthday Parties

Food isn’t often much of a consideration for young adults – I’m sure I don’t need to remind you…they just want to dance and drink!   We would always recommend something informal such as a food truck to keep everybody lightly refreshed.  There’s nothing worse than outlaying a considerable portion of the budget to catering with is all going to waste. If budget is a consideration you could organise some takeaway pizzas for a really cost effective solution and have the budget better spent elsewhere such as for a dance floor or a bar package.

5. Top Tips for House Parties: Toilets

With events that have over 50 guests coming, you may want to consider hiring some external toilets.  If having your party at home, generally smaller events of around 30 guests you may well could use your toilets in your house. For larger events or perhaps parties where you are keen in keeping your house locked up and everything is in the marquee – you may need some external toilet facilities. You have two options: either having some plastic single portable toilets or a slightly classier luxury loo trailer, which I have discussed in a bit more detail in a separate article.


These plastic portable loos offer a basic yet functional purpose.  They are self contained and do not require any power or connecting to your house plumbing.  They do not tend to have a sink, just the alcohol gel.  They also do not have any lighting in – so if your event is in the evening you may want to buy some cheap battery powered LED lights to stick on roof inside.

Marquee Toilet Hire Hertfordshire
Screenshot 2021 09 20 at 09.17.55

Luxury Loo trailers are more suited for larger guest number events and where the demographic would be better suited to nicer loo facilities.  These toilets require plugging into an electrical socket – they are still self contained and do not require plumbing in.  They have lighting, sinks and proper toilets for a far nicer loo experience!  They do tend to be around 2.5x the cost of the plastic loos.

6. Top Tips for House Parties:  Furniture

Depending on the age demographic coming, you may want some small chairs and tables for guests to sit down and take a little bit of a break, but you could even create some really cool, amazing chill out areas, including items such as White Faux leather cube seats & sofas. If you’ve got a wide spectrum of age ranges then I would think about having a a mix of different styles of furniture to suit all age ranges.  You may want some more traditional forms of seating for the older demographic and then perhaps some poseur tables with some low level seating and sofas for a bit of a funky chillout area.

Less informal, smaller 4′ round tables that seat 5 or 6 guests are a welcome addition for more chilled house parties.

Marquee Hire Bedford

Adding sofas & low level coffee tables offer a more contemporary seating area in comparison to formal seating.

Marquee Hire Duxford

White faux leather Cube seating work hand in hand with some sofas & low level coffee tables.  For larger scale events, you may want an outside chill out area with festoon lighting and rattan furniture. Perhaps you can even use some of your own patio sets that you could utilise. Poser tables are an almost must for informal house parties, as they allow guests to rest their drinks on whilst chatting to friends. They’re really handy if you’re providing catering such as bowl food, as again, it’s somewhere to put their food and drink down.

Festoon Lights

Outside chillout areas work very well for summer based events.  Festoon lighting is a great way of illuminating these areas You can view more furniture options here   ____________________________________________________________________________________________

Get an Online Quote in Under 60 Seconds!

Choose the right size marquee & your interior options – Your Quote will be Emailed & Whatsapped to you in under 60 Seconds

Want a party like no other?


Fancy Hosting The Best Celebration Ever?

Use our super simply request a quote process to have Mark get back to you in 30 minutes to get you the perfect event that you have always dreamed of!