Have you volunteered to plan an upcoming party? Have your been volunteered to host an upcoming event? Are you now wringing your hands in frustration, thinking you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?
Planning any event, whether it’s a wedding shower or an anniversary party, can seem a bit overwhelming at first, particularly if it’s your first time at the helm. However, there’s no need to panic. If you start early, and take your time, you can easily plan a successful event that will earn you rave reviews and bring pleasure to all of your guests.
To get you started on your adventure, we’re going to look at some top tips to help simplify your event planning and reduce the accompanying stress.
Going it Alone?
One important question to ask yourself before you start planning your event, is whether or not you will be going it alone. Can you handle everything yourself, or is there someone you can recruit to help share the responsibilities. There’s and old adage that comes to mind – ‘many hands make light work’. If you think you may need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Sense of Purpose
The first step in planning any event, regardless of size, is to identify its purpose. What type of event will you be planning, and what do you hope to accomplish?
Is it a smaller family affair, or is it a large celebration with guests flying in from around the country? The type of event, and its ultimate purpose, will have a direct influence on all of your subsequent planning decisions.
Once you’ve identified the purpose of your event, you can get down to the real business at hand.
Make a Checklist
The best way to start your event planning adventure is to sit down and make a detailed list of everything you need to address, from booking the venue and hiring a caterer to crafting a guest list and sending out invitations. A detailed checklist makes it much easier to keep track of all of the tasks at hand, and helps ensure that nothing vital to the success of your event is neglected.
The Guest List
It is important to finalize your guest list as early in the planning process as possible. Again, if this is a family affair the choice of guests will be fairly easy. But if you are hosting an event on behalf of someone else, you’ll need to get their input on the guest list.
Having a basic head count will help you determine the size of the venue you will be booking, and the cost and content of your catering. Naturally, some of your invited guests may decline to attend, but you should have a general idea of how many people will be coming to your event before you move forward with your planning strategies.
Booking the Venue
Once you know what type of event you’ll be hosting, and have your to do list finalized, it’s time to start thinking about the venue. The size of the guest list will have a big impact here, and the larger the event the more important it is to choose a suitable venue.
Smaller parties can often make do with limited resources, but if you are planning a big wedding reception or a business gathering you must have a venue that can fully support the event and all of its activities. An important tip here, and one that bears repeating, is to book your venue as early as possible. The longer you wait, the fewer options you will have when choosing an appropriate venue.
Hiring a Catering Service
Once you have settled on the right venue, its time to think about caterers. If you don’t have a preferred catering service, and are at loose ends as to who to hire, it sometimes helps to speak with the management of the venue you have booked. We would love to help!
That being said, whether you take advice or go it alone be sure that you fully vet any potential catering service before signing a contract. Interview prospective caterers personally, and check any online reviews.
Be sure that the catering service you hire has experience with the type of event you are hosting, and that they are willing and able to provide top of the line service for you and your guests.
Costs and Consequences
One of the most important considerations when planning an event is cost. Now, if you’ve been recruited to be the event’s planner you may have been given a set budget to work with, which greatly simplifies the situation.
However, if your planning a family event, say an anniversary party for your grandparents or a wedding reception for your sister, you may have also volunteered to cover the costs. Think hard and long about this before committing, as there are a number of hidden costs involved in planning any event and you may find yourself in over your head.
It might be wiser to ask fellow family members to chip in, and to set your party budget accordingly. The last thing you want is to run out of money before all of the boxes on your checklist have been ticked.
Planning any event, large or small, can be a daunting task. However, with some forethought and dedication you can stage a successful gathering that will bring pleasure to all of your guests without having to sacrifice your sanity in the process.
These few tips should set you on the right path. Above all, start early and take your time; ask for help when needed and always keep the big picture uppermost in your mind – the enjoyment of your guests.