In planning a party, its the little extras that really bring the rest of it together. You have to consider chairs, tables, activities (besides eating and drinking), serving ware, and ambiance.
Since our event was an Anniversary Party with a wine and cheese theme, we had to accommodate everyone comfortably around the pool. We set up card tables, and with beautiful wine-colored linens from a local rental place, we vamped them up a bit. Folding chairs went around the tables, and scattered in pairs around the pool and lanai. We own a bunch of these Terje chairs, and they are the most wonderful things to have for any party!
For the large food and drink tables, again we had them covered with wine colored linens. We also made candle centerpieces for all the tables, using glass vases, leftover corks and candles - super easy! Some of the lower vases had pillar candles, and taller ones had taper candles. Beware of the taper candles though... you have to blow them out once they burn down a little, since cork does burn!
Since it was an Anniversary Party, we also had all three couples bring their wedding albums for other guests to go through. We encouraged guests to look at them away from the food and drinks, as you would like to preserve the pictures without a glass of wine having been spilled on them. We set up a table inside so that guests could come at their leisure to reminisce about the pictures and possibly their own wedding back in the day!
Serving ware is also important. For a nice party, you do not want your guests eating on white paper plates and napkins! Since paper is easier to clean up when accommodating a large party, we used gold paper plates and festive paper napkins. But because it was a wine party, the last thing I wanted guests to drink out of would be plastic cups. Splurge and spend the money to rent wine glasses, and make sure you have extras in case guests drop one or would like to change their beverage.
And lastly, have something for your guests to do besides mingle and eat. Like I mentioned earlier, music is key for guests who just want to sit down and enjoy themselves, but other activities also promote interaction with guests who don't know each other. We have a pool table and ping pong table inside off the lanai, however, we had some lawn games like corn hole and lawn golf set up in the yard. The simplicity of the games got people to play, and even some to watch, and made the event more fun.
Not every detail is remembered by your guests, but careful planning and special touches really pull the other party elements together, making it a big hit!