When Madonna celebrated her 55th birthday last month, she celebrated in true Material Girl style. Rather than having crumpets in bed and a nice read of the latest Maeve Binchy novel, like most mums, she held a loud, raucous and ridiculously over-the-top birthday party.
Renting a grande chateau in France, she insisted on a French Revolution fancy dress theme and turned up looking like an X-rated Marie Antoinette. Stars – they're just like us, right?
But Madge isn't the only celeb who likes to throw big parties. For his 50th birthday, Simon Cowell invited 400 of his closest friends and has everyone chauffeured in their own personal limos, while supermodel Naomi Campbell had a week-long bash in the French Riviera (Cost: Approximately £1.2m)
But where do these stars go when they want to plan a totally mindblowing shindig? The answer is party planner Steven Duggan. He began his career working on My Super Sweet 16 parties for MTV and discovered he loved the art of creating events. Since branching out and creating his own business, he's planned parties for Elton John, Adele and Leona Lewis. Just call him Mr Party.
We asked him to share his tips for throwing a party your guests won't forget.
1. Choose a theme
'Whether it's based on your favourite colour or your most-loved film, a theme pulls everything together. The important thing is to make sure it runs though the design of the evening – from your large decorative features to the more subtle touches. I once planned an Alice in Wonderland party which made guests feel like they were stepping into another world. Everything, from the life-sized toadstools to the quirky chairs, were themed. Everything was really colourful and fun.'
2. Decorate with props
'Props can be really helpful for creating the right mood and they also make a great talking point for your guests. Planning a spooky Halloween party? Get hold of ornate candle holders and drape them with cobwebs. Want to make your guests feel like VIPs? Roll out a red carpet for a Hollywood finish. Try and pay attention to your space from every possible angle. In the past I've hung bird cages from the ceiling and put large marble busts of composers around a room to add to the atmosphere.'
3. Be creative with lighting
'Good lighting transforms any space. Candles grouped together at different heights look stunning and provide a flattering light. If you can't get hold of heavyweight, Hollywood-style lighting, try placing coloured gels over your existing lights. Red is great for a mysterious, moody look.'
4. Plan the guest list
'Think carefully about your guest list when you're choosing a venue and avoid spaces that are too large as they can make an event can look really empty. Invite as many guests as you can as it always creates the best atmosphere. When Elton John has a party, he can invite up to 1,000 people! Think about who's coming and organise the entertainment accordingly. Acrobatic performers and live music always go down well.'
5. Give goody bags
'All celebrity events have goody bags for the celebs to take home and it's a little touch that will make your guests leave with a smile on their face. Edible treats like retro sweets are popular, as are candles and beauty products. You want something that your guests will use afterwards and will make them think of your party.'
For more information visit: stevendugganevents.com
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