2. What emotion are you trying to evoke? A carnival-style barbecue will give a completely different feeling than will a crystal-trimmed gala. Consider how you want your guests to feel.
3. What makes sense? A plan for the "flow" of your party is imperative. What do you want to your guests to see or experience first? When will you serve dessert? What side of the table will you serve from? Will you guests help themselves? Run through the entire party in your head, write it down, and always have a Plan B.