Halloween has come and gone and Starbucks has already released their red holiday cups, which can only mean one thing: It’s almost holiday party season. In particular, New Year’s Eve. We’ve compiled our favorite tips and tricks so you can throw a NYE celebration that would make Dick Clark proud.

First step? Scout a venue. Here are our top five tips to keep in mind while scouting the perfect setting to say goodbye to 2012 and say hello to 2013:

1. Brainstorm. Whether it’s a simple list or a blown-out Pinterest vision board, visualizing what type of event you want to have is always helpful. The type of food, drink and decor you envision at your event will often designate the venue you’ll need.

2. Consider your audience. Who do you want in the room when the clock strikes midnight? Are you planning an intimate gathering of your closest friends, or a rager with red velvet stanchions and extensive security? Will there be children present, or is this a strictly 21+ over crowd? By narrowing down who you’ll be Auld Lang Syne’ing with, it will be easier to figure out where you’ll be.

3. Consider your budget. First, come up with an estimate of how much money you will be spending on the event. Then create a list of all of the expenses you will likely incur during the process. Do you need to bring in your own tables and chairs, or pipe and drape? Do you need to hire a bartender? Also decide if you’ll be treating your guests for the evening, or you’ll be charging guests to attend. Figuring out the budget you have to work with, you can continue to narrow down your venue options.

Sticking with a smaller group? Consider using your apartment to host.  Bigger group? You might explore the option of renting out a venue and charging people to attend. (Either way, of course, you can use Eventbrite to collect registrations!)

4. Have a backup plan. Once you’ve narrowed down your perfect NYE venue, it’s smart to come up with a second and even a third option. Because New Year’s Eve is such a popular holiday, it’s possible that other folks came up with the same ideas for venues that you did. Be sure to have that backup plan in place so you don’t have to go back to square one.

5. Get it in writing! If you’ll be renting out a space, or even a table, it’s so important to have a signed contract to secure your plans. Be sure to read the fine print and keep a copy for your records, too!

Anything else you’d like to add! Share below in the comments, or tell us on Facebook or Twitter! Additionally, stay tuned for more posts to help you host a smashing NYE soiree!