7 Rules Of Party Planning According To Babylon

So, you want to plan a party? Then you’re in the right place! The specifics of every party will be different, but they all follow the same general principles—at least, every good party does, and those are the only ones that matter.

Take a look at Paramount’s Babylon—every scene is outrageously wild, extravagant, and pretty much impossible to tear your eyes away from. And shouldn’t that be the point of every social gathering? Life is short, so make the most of it and prepare to throw the best damn party of the decade. (You can thank me for my service later!)

Bigger is always better.

Look, I know we’ve all embraced minimalism at least a little over the past few years, either for ethical, aesthetic, or practical reasons. But here’s the thing: If you’re trying to throw the party of the year, you’ve got to lean into the extravagance of it all. Think about Babylon—a huge part of the appeal is the visuals, the way you don’t want to (and probably can’t) look away. And while we can’t all transport a literal live elephant to our houses like the movie, that doesn’t mean you should give up and think small. While I thoroughly believe that the more intricate, the better, you can still keep things interesting in simpler ways: fill the room with balloons, set up shiny decorations meant to catch the light, break out your most interesting drinkware, and add some fun props throughout the party. If people are taking pictures so they can show people later, you know you did well.

Make drinking fun again.

Speaking of interesting drinkware… Don’t get me wrong, cracking open a cold beer or some low-shelf whiskey isn’t a bad time, but the best parties of all make drinking feel fun, elegant, or just special compared to what someone could do at home. It’s okay if you don’t have the means to splurge on expensive alcohol, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a fun cocktail list nonetheless. You can search recipes based on what you already have sitting around your house or even just based on your guest list and what you’d expect them to drink. You can even look up fun ways to display the drinks—champagne fountain, anyone? It’s best to think of your beverages as part of the decor, because nothing gets people talking like an interesting cocktail.

Make sure there’s always a killer playlist ready in advance.

Not every party requires live music (or, realistically, most parties), but that doesn’t mean your guests have to suffer in silence. If Babylon’s visual aesthetics are the main course, its soundtrack is that little extra garnish that keeps it fun and interesting. If you want to ensure your party has the best vibes possible, you’ll want to make sure you have a playlist made and ready in advance, because nothing’s worse than trying to keep the music going mid-party. Pick the songs based on the vibes you’re hoping to achieve (and the audience you’re hoping to attract), because the music is what really sets the scene for the night (i.e. if you’re hoping to keep people awake all night, go ahead and skip the Bon Iver).

Pick a theme and run with it.

Themes probably aren’t necessary for a party to be great, but it actually helps a lot with figuring out how you want to decorate your space or what to serve your guests. If you want your party to center on a certain movie, serve drinks that fit the time period and find easy ways to recreate certain sets or important details that will act as little easter eggs for your guests. Truthfully, planning a party should be both creative and fun—so don’t be afraid to get really into the process! 

Don’t be afraid to suggest a dress code.

That doesn’t mean you have to enforce it, but just dropping the suggestion to your invited guests will be enough to convince some of them to adhere to it anyway. You can choose to stick to your theme—for instance, asking people to dress up as a character from said movie—or you can simply suggest people dress up nicely in general, like Babylon’s black-tie best (personally, you can expect me to show up in a Nellie LaRoy original, because that girl knows how to shine). A dress code will make your party feel more like an event than just a gathering, and who doesn’t love a good reason to dress up in the outfits they never have an excuse to wear otherwise? Anyone who complains is probably too boring to matter anyway.

Always plan for the worst.

Here’s one of the biggest rules to party planning: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Expect things to take longer than you originally accounted for and don’t be surprised if things don’t go the way you planned. One of the most frustrating parts of hosting a party is also one of the most fun aspects, and it’s this: Parties are spontaneous. They’re surprising and unexpected and, if you’re lucky, chaotic. You’ll never be able to predict how the night will end, so it’s always good to try to account for any outcome so that you won’t spend the evening stressing over minor details.

Make sure you’re the center of attention.

Look, if you’re going to go through all the trouble of throwing the best party in town, you’d better at least let yourself enjoy it fully. Think Margot Robbie’s character Nellie LaRoy, who’s never afraid to do what it takes to get people’s attention—put on your most eye-catching outfit, make sure you have the time to do your makeup in whatever way you prefer, and most importantly, don’t let your hosting duties take away from letting yourself let loose. That’s the whole point of party planning—as long as you have everything ready in advance, you’ll have plenty of time to make it the best night of your life. After all, after putting in that much work, you’re the one who actually deserves it!

Callie is a writer, editor, and publisher at Thought Catalog. Her debut book, ‘The Words We Left Behind,’ was released in January 2024.

Keep up with Callie on Instagram, Twitter and calliebyrnes.com