It's been a long four years, but FIFA World Cup spirit is among us once again. Yet as the world prepares for friendly competition, our cleat-sporting heroes aren't the only ones running around like mad. Those of us truly bitten by the Cup bug are frantically planning to get some serious parties started.

However, throwing a World Cup party today means guests have almost a half-decade to reflect. With that in mind, the pressure is really on to create an unforgettable, enviable World Cup party. The question is, how?

According to planners at Events By Parris (EBP ) — an organization providing customized services for both personal and corporate events — there are many ways to design the perfect party, but hosts must address two pivotal aspects in order to create a grand experience: Décor and personalization.

Establishing the mood is of utmost importance so bring the World Cup motif in early. Create invitations resembling sporting event tickets or track down an appropriate flash video evite. Request that guests dress in colours/gear from their team of choice.

Once the RSVPs start rolling in, it's time to really set the stage, most notably with subtleties. Simple gestures such as hanging country-specific items including scarves, flag-coloured tablecloths, spot lighting in teams hues and game-themed centrepieces like balls and shoes make the most impact, EBP note.

Moreover, a World Cup-themed soundtrack running pre-game will do wonders to put guests into a revelrous mood and foster interaction. During that time, supply entertainment such as signature drinks focused on highlight teams/players using spirits from their country of origin. Create games based on statistics and trivia, providing prizes or a 50/50 draw if possible. Take the theme to your food via soccer-centric desserts and creative appetizer arrangements in appropriate colours/shapes. Serve a buffet or host a pot luck focusing on traditional national cuisine.

Most importantly, if your event is destined to be familial, pay special attention to one crucial element: Children. Set up game consoles, face-painting or a backyard goal for them to participate in the action. Moreover, offer other diversions for those who might not be caught up in The Cup.

Essentially though, the game is the true focal point, rendering all else peripheral. Give the moment its due. Guarantee your audio/visual aspects are top-notch, arrange comfortable seating with solid sight lines close to the action.

Finally, even though some attendees are destined to head home in disappointment, EBP recommends capping the evening with a souvenir. Have guests walk out with a reminder of the most memorable World Cup party they've experienced. After all, they'll have four years to plan a topper.

A gift for the host
• Jabulani, the official match ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, makes a great host gift. Jabulani (loosely translated: To celebrate in isiZulu), features a South African inspired design and grip and groove technology.

• Eleven different colours are used in the Adidas Jabulani. These 11 colours represent the 11 players in every team, the 11 official languages of South Africa and the 11 South African communities that make the country one of the most ethnologically diverse on the African continent.