Party planning people often start with a great idea and end with a great amount of frustration and anxiety. That’s because planning a party is a major responsibility. Even so, planning a party should be a fun and exciting activity.
To get the most out of your party-planning activities, you’re going to have to put in a good amount of work. This work can be as boring or as entertaining as you make it and it’s your job as the party planner to make it as entertaining as possible.
Knowing the best ways to turn your exciting ideas into actionable goals is the key to planning a great party. This article will give you the tools to do just that!
Don’t Over Plan
Whether you work in the events industry professionally or you’re just planning a little get-together for your friends and family, one thing remains a constant threat: burnout. We’ve all been there before: You start out with a great idea, work yourself too hard too quickly, and end up losing all motivation to continue.
In short, over planning leads directly to burnout. But it can also lead to a variety of other factors that can ruin your party. Over planning can increase your levels of anxiety and stress, which are two of the biggest factors in employee burnout. This can have serious health complications, not to mention the fact that most people don’t associate “anxiety” with “a great party.”
Even if you can avoid getting burned out while over planning, your guests might not. It’s important to stick to an itinerary of events so that you know when to, for example, bring out the dinner. But it’s not a good idea to create a rigorous itinerary jam packed with items and unnaturally spend the whole party controlling your guests.
Where you want to be is somewhere in the middle between no itinerary and too much on the itinerary. A good rule of thumb is to plan around one main item on the itinerary. For dinner parties, that item would be dinner. For watch parties, that item would be the entertainment being watched.
Then you can add two or three more fun things to do, depending on the length of the party. The key is to only have one primary event and one or two secondary events to fill out the time.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Get Ready
Being fashionably late is a real thing — but not if you’re the host.
Whereas most of your guests are likely to show up at least 30 minutes after the scheduled “arrival time” or “start time,” the host needs to be there bright and early. This is true for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that set-up typically takes longer than expected. For most party planners, the excitement can make you think that preparation will take less time than it actually will. This can lead to your party starting late, running late, and otherwise throwing off your guests’ schedules.
The second reason is that a late host who has to run around setting things up can’t properly greet their guests. While some guests are willing to wait around, others might be offended. That means starting the party off on a negative note, which isn’t good for long-term party morale.
In order to throw the best party possible, you need to be early to ensure that everything is set up and ready to go, to make ample time for last-minute changes, and to properly greet your guests.
Remember: You Get to Enjoy the Party, Too
It’s easy to forget that you’re as much a guest as you are a host, particularly when you’re the only one planning the party. That means focusing less on planning to host a party and more on planning to enjoy a party.
Of course, you’re still going to have to play the part of the host. That means making sure things like dinner and entertainment start at the right times and keeping everybody included in the excitement. In between those important responsibilities, however, you should focus on enjoying the wonderful thing that you’ve created.
Remember to take some time in between obligations and mingle. If you’ve planned a get-together with your friends to watch the Emmys, the SuperBowl, or some other event, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend the whole party cleaning, cooking, or otherwise doing chores. Take a step back and enjoy the festivities!
It might be helpful to set an alarm on your phone, though, so that you don’t forget when it’s time to move on to the next activity. For example, it might not be the best SuperBowl party if you’re too busy to turn on the TV.
Steer Clear of These Common Party-Planning Pitfalls
Over planning, arriving late, and getting too caught up in the obligations to enjoy the party are three of the biggest party-planning pitfalls. However, there are plenty more. To throw the best possible party for your friends, family, and whoever else you want to dazzle, be sure to steer clear of these potential problem areas:
Focusing on one group and leaving people out.
Everybody has their best friends, favorite siblings, and so on. That is, everybody except for the host. When you’re hosting, every single person at the party becomes your close friend. That means that you should treat everybody equally and help to make sure that nobody is left out or uncomfortable.
Not creating a strict budget
There are few things that can put a damper on excitement quite like money or politics. That’s why directors and producers are almost always butting heads — the director’s job is to entertain but the producer’s job is to secure funding. As the party’s host, you’re both the director and the producer.
That means that you not only have to entertain your guests but you also have to do so without breaking the bank. By creating a strict budget, you can ensure that your great ideas are enjoyed while giving your wallet a little room to breathe.
Not budgeting for unforeseen circumstances
If it rains on your parade, bring out the umbrellas. By setting aside money to handle emergencies and surprises, you can keep within the budget despite Mother Nature’s every attempt to ruin your party.
Imagine the following situation: You’re throwing an outdoor party but it starts to rain. That rain means the grills can’t work and everybody is going to get wet and uncomfortable. Leaving room in the budget for unforeseeable circumstances means you can afford to go out and buy the materials for a simple dining fly.
Follow Up with Guests After the Party
Your hosting duties do not end after you’ve thrown the party. At this point, things are a whole lot easier, but the follow up phase is just as important as the planning phase. In fact, you can look at the follow up phase as part of the planning phase for your next party.
Over the course of the next week, reach out to your guests. A good rule of thumb is to reach out to people within three days of the party, when the events and excitement are still fresh in their mind. Then you’ll want to talk about the following items:
- How they liked the party.
- What they liked most.
- What they didn’t like.
- If they’d be willing to come by again.
This information can help you revise your planning process and get better with each attempt, just like practicing an instrument or learning a language. The more you do it, the better you get.
Of course, it’s important to keep these conversations short and sweet. Ask your questions in a conversational tone and try your best to avoid sounding like a robo-call or a telemarketer. If you sound overly (or underly) professional, you can weird-out your friends, family, and colleagues and tarnish their memory of the party.
Keeping things simple and straightforward not only helps you gain the information you need to plan a better party next time around but also helps you maintain and nurture the friendships and ties that you made at that party.
Keep on Learning
The best way to get better at something is through practice. Keep throwing parties, keep helping other people plan theirs, and sooner or later you’ll be known as the go-to person for planning parties in your clique.
As long as you keep your planning strictly to the essentials and don’t overdo it, get ready hours before the party, and remember to enjoy your party just the same as your guests do, you’ll be well on your way to creating a long-lasting memory for your guests.
Top it all off by avoiding common party planning pitfalls and following up to maintain and nurture the new relationships that you’ve made at your party and it just might go down as one of the best memories of the year.
We at the Constant Planner are always happy to help you plan the perfect party. Call us today to get started or head over to our blog to learn more about how to get the ball rolling on your event.