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No. 1 PICK A PLACE Where are you going to have the party Will it be a big event or a little get together At home or at a venue Good Life Family is compiling a directory to help you find the right place for you whether its a bowling alley a movie theater a restaurant or a party room. Go to to see our list. If you have suggestions we want to know Email No. 2 SELECT YOUR MENU Are you a gourmet cook Choose your menu and prepare to impress. But if you are more epic storyteller than epicure- an you may want to consider the myriad of catering options available. Want to make a few items and buy the rest Whole Foods Market Street Central Market and Eatzis all have a wide selec- tion of prepared gourmet options. Restaurants are also excel- lent resources. Our editors have named some of our favorites in our Holiday Dining Guide on page 54 and go to GoodLife- for a more extensive list. No. 3 MAKE THE GUEST LIST Often mixing longtime friends with newer ones makes for an interesting and fun guest list. If in doubt invite You will rarely look back and wish you hadnt included someone but you may feel bad that you left someone out. Work party In that case we suggest you limit the guest list to people from work and their guests only. Even though a work party is a social occasion professional decorum is rarely regretted. No. 4 MAKE A PARTY PLAYLIST Whats a party without music How you get there is com- pletely up to you. An iPhone and a few speakers will work or use your home sound system. Want to make an impact Hire a DJ. Have a teen that is an aspiring DJ Even better But remem- ber the music should provide ambiance and should not drown out the conversation. No. 5 SET THE MOOD AND TONE WITH LIGHTING AND DECORATIONS Dcor can be as simple as candles and flowers or as elaborate as you wish. You can stop at your local party supply store if youve got imagination or choose from a host of party rent- al companies to help you out. Planning an over-the-top fete Call Gary Peto owner of Shag Carpet Productions to trans- form your venue into any theme you envision. Winter Won- derland Easy. Monte Carlo No problem. Cirque du Soleil Done. Roaring 20s Cmon give him a hard one. No. 6 TAKE PICTURES Odds are youre going to want to remember this party on Facebook Twitter and other social media platforms in addi- tion to reminiscing about it for years to come. So take pictures of everything. If youre going all out set up a photo booth an area of the room set up specifically for taking photos. You can hire a professional or create your own by setting up a backdrop of black fabric and providing a basket of funny hats and props for people to use in their photos. No. 7 GET HELP You dont want to miss your own party because you are busy cooking re-stocking the buffet manning the bar and bussing tables. Depending on the number of people expected at your party you could hire an entrepreneurial college student to help or you might decide on a professional team. No. 8 PROVIDE A MEMENTO As your guests leave give them a heartfelt token. Whether its a cupcake or a themed party favor its nice to send everyone home with something special to remember the occasion. 8 Tips for a Perfect Party by Bobbie Ames Food and Entertainment Editor A party is a gift you give to your friends. Let your warmth and personality shine though your special event. Theres noth- ing like having all your friends together in the same place. But how do you do it With adequate planning and a few unique twists your party is sure to be a hit and maybe even an annual tradition. Get More PartyTips at