So you’ve decided to take on the role of party planner. Right on. Now you just have to produce the most epic wedding, graduation party, etc. ever. Are you ready? There’s a ton that goes into planning the perfect event, so where do you start? Here, that’s where. Let’s take a look at the ten steps you need to go through on your way to hosting an amazing retirement, homecoming, and Bat Mitzvah party. (Or whatever else you want to celebrate!)
Back To Basics
Step One – Identify what kind of party you are throwing. Done? Good. Move on.
Step Two – Decide on the basics:
- What’s the budget?
- How many people will you invite?
- When will the event take place?
- Where will it happen?
Don’t spend a ton of time on these four questions. Be realistic about what you can afford and just choose something. You’ve got so, so much more to do, so obsessing at this stage in the game isn’t in your best interest. Having the ideal location is great, but what will really matter the day after your event is who attended and the memories you’ve made together.
Step Three – Make a guest list. You may end up overturning your original estimate from step two here, so be careful. It’s all well and good to invite 100 of your closest family and friends to your dream wedding, until you realize there are actually 250 people you simply can’t have the event without. That’s ok. It might switch up your plans a little bit, but that’s ok. Now is the time to figure it out! (You know, before you start ordering things, putting down deposits, etc.) Put a full week into your event planning timeline so you have ample time to remember all the little people, even if they don’t jump to mind the first chance you get to sit down and make a list. After that, if you are determined to keep the numbers low, you can spend a grueling afternoon picking and choosing who will get the golden tickets.
Step Four – Develop a timeline. So maybe you should do this before you start making a guest list, or you could just start it after you’ve got your guest list under control. Either way, here we go. Figure out how much time you have between now and this spectacular event. Is the wedding a year away? Is your little man graduating from high school in three months? Once you’ve figured that one out, start giving yourself deadlines for accomplishing each task. This will prevent you from missing a step or finding out at the last moment that you’ve run out of time to contact caterers.
Save The Date
Step Five – Take a look back at step two. What date did you choose for your big event? If you are planning a wedding, send out save the date cards, and if you are planning some other type of shindig, don’t worry about the save the dates. Now you need to start booking your hired help. This includes:
- DJ/band/other forms of music, etc.
- Specialty entertainment like a slideshow, photo booth, chocolate fountain, or maybe even a clown. Then again, maybe not.
Step Six – Take care of the details. Now that the seemingly large tasks have been handled, it’s time to tackle the smaller ones. Now you must really make some hard choices. If you’ve chosen a theme for your event, then your task here might be a little less complicated. Now you can start to pick things like linens, centerpieces, and decor. Decide what kinds of things will fit into your budget or if it will be necessary to make the majority of them yourself. Now move! This part could take a while.
Step Seven – Rent away. If you aren’t celebrating your wedding, graduation, or retirement at an indoor venue, you need to rent a tent to keep your guests sheltered from the elements. You’ll also need to rent chairs, tables, lighting, and possibly even decor and transportation. (Everyone wants to show up to their wedding in a cable car, am I right?) Take care of this step as soon as you possibly can so you aren’t limiting your choices with the company that’s providing you with all of these essential supplies.
The Time Has Come
Step Eight – Send out the invitations. Depending on what type of event you are planning, an acceptable time frame for sending out invitations is anywhere between two and six weeks before the party gets started. Plan accordingly.
Step Nine – It’s time to look fly, so get out there and find yourself a sleek outfit. If you are the bride, you may want to take this step a little earlier to allow time for special orders to be sent and alterations to be made. For everyone else—including the Bar Mitzvah boy, retiree, and wedding party—you can hold off until a few weeks before your event. This allows you to really, really focus on making decisions and coordinating plans for the other aspects of the event. As an added bonus, you’ll be much less likely to change your mind last minute since your outfit choice was made pretty close to the event date.
Step Ten – Take the day before your event off and make sure those ducks are lined up. You need to spend the afternoon cooking, putting together party gifts, and calling vendors and venues to confirm. Don’t be afraid to ask if special details X, Y, and Z have been confirmed. You have to make sure everything is in its place and ready to rock for the big day tomorrow.
You’ve Made Your Event Epic
Whew! What a crazy ride, but you made it and your event is an unprecedented success. All those guests will be talking about it for quite some time, and you can bask in the glow of your accomplishment. All of the hard work was worth it. Do you have a calling to be an event planner?