Even for fairly small events, party planning can be a bit of a doozy. A lot more work goes into it than the guests will probably realize or appreciate after the fact. Party planning can be frustrating, time consuming, and exhausting, but if you know how to approach it, you can make things a lot easier on yourself. Whether you’re in the process of planning your first event or your fiftieth, hopefully these tips will be useful to you.
• Don’t Procrastinate
The bigger the event, the more time you’ll want to give yourself to put everything together. However, even for fairly small, low-key affairs, you’ll still want to give yourself plenty of time to prepare. After all, it’s unlikely that party planning is all you’ll be doing; you’ll have to manage the event planning around work, school, family obligations, and whatever else you normally have to deal with, and tasks can pile up fast.
You’ll need time to decide on a theme, get all the decorations and props, write out a guest list, send out invitations, etc., etc. Great parties are not planned at the last minute, so start early for success.
• Organize Yourself Fully and Early
Never underestimate the power of lists! Make a few master lists: one for tasks that need to get done before the party, one for guests, one for food and other things you need to buy, and whatever other lists you feel you need. If applicable, you may want to use the guest list to note RSVP responses, contact info, and any dietary restrictions you’ll have to plan around.
Keep the lists in one place, update them as frequently as you need to, and consult them if you find yourself getting lost or overwhelmed.
• Don’t Forget About the Kids
Depending on the event you’re planning, you may be not be dealing with just your guests; you might have to handle their kids, too. If this is likely to be a concern, set up a kid’s table. Make a tablecloth out of butcher paper and provide them with crayons or colored pencils so they can entertain themselves by drawing. Coloring books and other toys will probably go over well—just make sure they have something to do so they’re less likely to get underfoot.
If for whatever reason you won’t be able to accept kids at the party, be sure to give your guests ample warning so they have enough time to find a babysitter or making other arrangements.
Get Second Opinions
Or third, fourth…you get the point. It takes a village, so don’t try to do everything alone. If you’re not sure whether or not something is likely to be fun, pretty, or appropriate, ask somebody what they think! Your friends and family will probably be more than happy to help. You might decide against something you weren’t sure about, or get some brilliant ideas you hadn’t even thought of, so if you have questions or need help, don’t be afraid to reach out.
There’s definitely a big difference between planning a Christmas party and planning a wedding. Some events are more complicated than others are, and sometimes it makes sense to bring a party planner in. Having an expert around can be a huge help. They can take some of the stress off your shoulders and help you put together something memorable. If the event in question is a big deal, you should definitely consider hiring an event planner.