Seven fool-proof tips for throwing the ultimate party
Twenty-four-hour party person Ryan Lanji has been creating some of the most memorable events and club nights for years. Here’s his advice for hosting your own celebration
Friday 7 October 2022 By Soho House Top image by Tung Walsh Other images courtesy of @Hungama_ldn
This year’s party season is set to be historic. The first one in three years that we get to celebrate out-out, there’s real pressure to get it right. No one knows how to do that quite like professional party producer, Ryan Lanji. Among the many strings to his bow, Lanji is the founder of London’s queer alt-Bollywood club night ‘HUNGAMA’ – one of the earliest of which took place at Shoreditch House.
The multi-hyphenate fashion curator, cultural producer and now host of BBC Three’s new reality series, Big Proud Party Agency, cites his favourite ever party as a Vivienne Westwood after-show party in 2015 – ‘where I was pounding the dance floor with my tush, ordering all the free drinks, and it was amazing to see Viv, Janice Dickinson, Damien Hirst and even Rihanna all having a ball.’
Here, he shares his top tips on how to throw the kind of party people will be talking about for months – possibly years – to come.
(Spoiler: choosing the right venue is crucial.)
1. Pay attention to the guest list
‘Make sure your guest list is diverse and full of lovely and amazing people, and think about the size. I love a big party, but as I get older I enjoy the company of a smaller group. I feel like you can be yourself, chat with everyone and it doesn’t get out of hand too quickly. But whatever the size, a really good party is full of love, warmth and kindness.’
2. If you can, invite people with style
‘A party is nothing without the people attending it, so take time to curate a tapestry of people who are all kind and loving. If they can serve a fantastic look to make the party feel glam and gorgeous, all the better.’
3. A good DJ is paramount
‘When it comes to music, get the right DJ and let them get on with doing what they do best (we don’t care if it’s your birthday, Becky – listen to Taylor Swift another time). It’s always good to have a DJ who can play to the room and keep the vibe intact. I love to pick amazing young queer people of colour and let them play their favourite genres.’
4. Curate the atmosphere carefully
‘The right party atmosphere is all about good people, great music, a unique venue and making people feel fabulous. Booking incredible performances creates a sense of the unexpected, and will have people engaged and excited.
‘Decorations can look fab, but if you don’t get the balance right it can turn to trash quite quickly. Try to choose things that don’t cause unnecessary waste and think about what the place will look like at 2am. You want something chic, sustainable and – ideally – unreachable.
‘Letting people go on a high is paramount. You don’t want it to get empty (or messy). To me nothing really great happens after 2am, so say on the invites “8pm until late”, then always aim for it to finish around 2am. Unless it’s a rave, of course.’
5. Hire a good photographer
‘Choose a photographer who makes everyone feel seen and glam. People love having their picture taken at an event and I firmly believe that having an excellent photographer to capture the night is fundamental. If you can, have something that captures its vibe with its aesthetic and energy. You’ll have everyone excited to see and share it – that, to me, is how you check the memorable box.’
6. Get the food and drink right
‘The first rule of partying is always: eat beforehand. That said, any good party should have canapes (tasty ones: no veggies and dip). As for drinks, always go the extra mile to ensure you have a special drink for your event, but make sure everything else is available. It can be such a mood killer if there’s only one spirit being served and it’s not your favourite poison of choice. I’d also recommend having a great non-alcoholic beverage that rivals the drink special – our sober community will thank you for it. Always think about how the party can be enhanced by food and drinks being served in a way that brings the flavour of the party (pun intended) to life.’
7. Collaborate and come together
‘I think collaboration is the key to success when it comes to throwing a party. I am proud of all the parties that I have thrown. I’ve been involved with Soho House’s programming over the past five years – and just this September, I threw a party to celebrate the opening of London Fashion Week at The Ned with supermodel – and my best friend – Sheerah Ravindren.
‘There isn’t one of my parties that I love more than any other, but I like the fact that I have taken the sounds of Bollywood into incredible spaces like Soho House around the world. The wonderful queer talent that has come to HUNGAMA and thrived, networked and built careers are my favourite guests. Having something go entirely your way is great for those who like to be in control, but the magic happens when you work with people from different backgrounds, talents and expertise.’
From intimate rooms to epic rooftops, our Houses offer the perfect space for a party night to remember. To find the ideal Soho House venue for your next party, click here.