The Constant Planner

Party Planning 101

Party Planning 101

A party is the best way to celebrate an accomplishment at the workplace or a meaningful event, such as baby showers and wedding anniversaries. Unfortunately, parties aren’t usually made-to-order, and the planning can be an extremely stressful endeavor. There are way too many things to remember even for the simplest of parties. This really saps the fun and cause quite a headache. On that note, we’re here to give party hosts an easier time. We’ve compiled a list of the must-haves to ensure that your next party is smooth-sailing and memorable from the get-go.

Set Aside a Budget

All planning goes down the drain without a proper budget set in place. Thus, “doing your sums” should definitely top your list. The budget will determine the quality of your decorations, performers, food, etc. Always work within your means – a properly planned party should not burn a hole in your pockets. Remember, the party lasts only for a day or night while the consequences of poor budgeting may linger. You’ll want to enjoy a party untraumatized by the bill. A budget can be well-managed with a to-do-list sorted in the order of importance. For example, a birthday party might go with “cake”, “food”, and “decor”. Once you’ve drafted the list, scan through it once to ensure no omissions. The next step is to ensure the necessity of each item on your list. Budgeting is most effective when prepared with a partner or two. Multiple perspectives will help create a more objective and practical list. Once you’ve come up with a list, aim to stick by it. It might be tempting to add items to improve the party, but this usually leads to unnecessary inclusions. So, it is important to stay disciplined and committed to a list once all necessities are accounted for.

Compare Vendors

Suppliers and vendors vary vastly in fees and quality. Thus, it is important to compare vendors before settling on a decision. It might be tempting to hire the balloon artist recommended by your best friend’s mum, but is he really the best fit? Depending on the amount of time you have before the party, do as much research as you possibly can. It is easy to get a gauge of quality these days through online customer reviews and ratings. But be wary though, some vendors are known to hire confederates (insiders) to craft fraudulent feedback that up their ratings. Alas, there is no certainty when it comes down to online reputation. However, there are some ways to prevent being taken in by false advertising. Two effective ways are: to check the vendor’s years of experience, and to browse through the testimonials of satisfied customers – preferably those backed with photographic proof and linked to legitimate social media accounts. It is a plus if the vendor or supplier has won a recognized (we stress this) award for their products and services. Major price disparities among vendors may lead to drastic results. You might have to consult your budget to see if it’s worth risking inferior quality at a lowered cost. For example, cheaper table cloths may be non-absorbent and easily damaged or stained compared to pricier alternatives.

Set the Time and Date

The date and time of your party matters a great deal. It will increase the chances of a good turnout. Seasonal celebrations like Xmas or Thanksgiving parties are hit-and-miss since it is up to guests to attend the party of their choice. Festive dates are set in stone, so there isn’t much leeway to improve turnout. However, other celebrations such as birthdays and house parties offer great flexibility. If your birthday falls on a weekday, you could always bring it forward or push it to a weekend. Fridays and Saturdays are perfect for parties since fewer people are likely to fret over work the next day. This also means that guests are likely to stay longer to bask in the celebrations.

Select a Venue

Choose the ideal venue where you’ll be holding your party. Home parties are straightforward, all you need to do is some tidying up, shifting of furniture, and you’re good to go. If you’re celebrating elsewhere, be sure to check if a permit is required (i.e. a public park) and also rental fees where applicable (such as function rooms and clubs). Popular venues may be snatched up like hotcakes throughout the year, so it is necessary to reserve your slot way ahead of schedule. It is important to conduct a site visit beforehand, to check that the location is truly as lovely as it looks in online pictures. Also, this gives you a better idea of the floor plan. Knowing each pillar, alcove, and wall will help you optimize your party layout. You should bring along a measuring tape for accurate dimensions. It might also be a good to have a creative friend tag along to offer some decor ideas.

Confirm the Arrangements

With the time and date set, you’re ready to secure the services of the professionals you’ve honed in on your list. These may include private chefs, personal sommeliers, service staff, and catering. When it comes to F&B, it’s best to have a taste test beforehand to ensure a quality dining experience for your guests. Speak to your vendor to see if this is possible. When it comes to food, it is highly recommended to order more than your headcount. Excess is always a better impression than a lack thereof, as far as the guests are concerned. If you’re hiring part-time servers or chefs, be mindful of overtime charges (and check if they’re willing to go down that extra mile). Take note that these hidden fees contribute to your final budget. If you’re deciding on decor, there are many vendors out in the market that offer beautiful designs at affordable rates. The process is usually fuss-free and completed online. Simply set the preferred date to have the decorations delivered to your venue or have them set up for you (at additional cost). Decorations are conveniently delivered back to the vendor with a provided duffel back or collected by staff at the end of your event.

Prepare the Guest List and Invitations

Now it’s time to blast those invitations to the ones who will determine the success of your party – your guests! Traditionally, this is done through word of mouth or snail mail. These days, social media will do everything for you. Facebook Events is your best friend when it comes down to promoting a party. All you need to do is create a listing, describe your party, and send out those invitations via Facebook by checking against the names of your guests. The application keeps a tab on who’s showing up, who’s not, and those currently on the fence. It might be a good idea to give a ring to those who’re still undecided, closer to the event. Emails are a great alternative, where you can cover the details of the event, and easily track responses via your inbox. Some folks are inactive on social media and may have missed the invitation altogether. It’s best not to take any chances if you’re expecting a lively attendance!

Enjoy the Party!

Now that your preparations have paid off and the guests are here for a jolly good time, it’s time to join in the celebration. The organizer should enjoy the party as much as everyone else. It is common to see the host looking worried and worn out from the prep work, which defeats the whole point of a party. Remember, a happy host makes for a livelier atmosphere. So, toss all worries out of the window, mingle, laugh, and snap some lovely photos as keepsakes. You earned it!

Seek Feedback

Constructive feedback will help improve your future parties. Speak to your guests and request their honest opinion of the event. Ask them about the food, the decor, and the performers (if applicable). This will help you determine if you should rehire those vendors and performers for other events. Some guests might even request the contact details of your vendors/performers for their events. Such referrals could help strengthen your rapport with the vendors/performers and gain some special discounts or offers for future services. A party may seem like a lot of work and it’s pretty much true. However, with careful planning, you’re in for an extremely satisfying process. After all, few accomplishments can measure up to seeing your dream party materialize right before your very eyes.
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Hunter A

Hunter A

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