The greatest party planner’s in the world have this down pat: they know the best venues, the best caterers, have huge budgets and can create parties that the rest of us can only dream of being invited to.

So how can you turn a Saturday night, your crew of friends and a more modest budget into a great party? Read on for our suggestions:

Want people to show up? Take a blended approach: give your friends who like to plan ahead lots of notice and remind your more spontaneous friends with a quick text just a day or two ahead. Remember to let your friends know if this is an invitation only, intimate party or a more-the-merrier party that can be freely shared on social media. You don’t want to be surprised by a mob of strangers at your front door when you were expecting just your inner circle.

What about keeping people entertained? You want to avoid being known for throwing boring parties, but on the other hand you don’t want to have a jam-packed entertainment schedule that makes people feel like they are at a 5 year old’s birthday party. Pay special attention to your guest list, invite a range of people, make introductions as they arrive, point out shared interests, have food and drink on hand, and you are off to a good start. If you are concerned that this might not naturally happen, consider a concept party – maybe beer or wine tasting – and this will give guests lots to chat about.

Add a little flair! Nothing sets the tone for a party like a beautifully prepared food set out on beautiful dishes, weird and wonderful glasses with lots of beverage choices. Remember to set these out in a few different places, so they are easy for guests to access – you don’t want to end up with everyone in the kitchen and the rest of your great space unused.

 And don’t forget: Make lots of ice. Don’t serve messy food if you’re the one who has to clean up. Always accept help when it’s offered. Crudité rocks. Keep it simple so you can have fun too – you don’t want to miss your own party.