Throwing a party is fun but taking on the responsibility of managing a large, expensive and important party can be stressful, especially if you are new to organizing such events.
Don’t worry — here is a quick guide to get you through the long hours of planning and the crucial minutes before the guests arrive.
Make a Party Checklist
A party checklist will save your life. It will not only list the tasks that have to be taken care of in the time before the party starts but it will also contain information on following up with staff, food, catering, and other supplies so that nothing slips your mind. Party planning will also help you do the right things in the proper order so that you don’t take the ice cream dessert out of the fridge before the guests sit down for hors d'oeuvres.
Remember to take good notes about the progress and status of each task so that you don’t forget important things like who is allergic to what, and whether the cocktails or the dessert goes into the plastic champagne flutes.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Your party planning schedule should also include what items have to be done, ordered, and arranged in the weeks before the party, the items that have to done in the hours before the party, and things that have to happen when the party is in full swing.
Remember to take into account how long it takes things to get done. For instance, remember if the decorator takes two hours to decorate a party room, someone has to be at the hall to let them in — it can’t be you if you’re getting your hair done at the same time.
Have a Backup Plan Ready
Switching gears in an emergency is easy if you have event planning contingencies. Remember, don't leave it to luck: small and big things will go wrong but if you have a backup party checklist planned, you can act like everything is going just how you scheduled it.
If it’s an outdoor party, plan for rain. If the guest of honour is notoriously late, plan for the food to be later in the evening. Having these little adjustments ready ensures your night goes off without a hitch.
Include Yourself in Your Plans
As part of your party planning, don’t forget to look after yourself and have fun. That means budgeting time to buy clothes, get the hair and nails done and, of course, get dressed in the hours before the party. Remember, if it’s not on the list, it might not happen.
A Quick Party Checklist
Here’s a quick party checklist to keep things running smoothly. As a part of your event planning, remember:
- If you want a theme or party idea, decide early so everything else will correspond. Deciding on a theme at the last minute makes it easy and stress-free to find disposable dishes, party décor, food and other essentials that align with your theme.
- Make a menu ahead of time. If you plan to make the dishes yourself, have a party checklist with the ingredients you will need. If you’re hiring a caterer, make sure they make sure they know what’s on the menu and have time to plan.
- If your party is at home and you don’t have enough dishes, consider buying elegant but disposable dishes. This makes for easy clean up after the party is over as well. Disposable dishes are also great for large venues where cleaning up after dozens or even hundreds of quests is a task unto itself.
- If you’re throwing a party in your home, and suspect that your backyard barbeque will be a source of noise, notify the neighbors and assure them you’ll do your best to keep it down after hours. It’s only polite.
- Ensure you know where the coats will go. If your event is at a venue, have a designated coat check. If it’s at home, choose a room to keep guests’ belongings.
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