Insights into Event Planning

Ten ways to a less expensive party!

February 2009

Today’s economy is forcing many people to look harder at how to same money on just about everything, this includes planning parties.  A bad economy doesn’t mean you need to not get with friends and family, or postpone that wedding or some other special event.   You just need to focus a little more on keeping to a budget.

Here are ten ways you can save and still have an enjoyable gathering.

  1. Scale down on what is not needed.  First ask yourself if each item on your planning list is needed or just nice to have. If it is needed, can it be smaller, simpler or cheaper?
  2. Take another look at what you can do yourself instead of purchasing.  Have the caterer provide less food and you provide more.  Have a friend or a friend of a friend be the DJ or server at a discount rate?
  3. Comparison shop for your items and services.  One good thing about being in a bad economy, there are more discounts available.
  4. Make your own invitations, party favors, table decorations and what ever else you can do.
  5. Avoid the expensive gift-wrap when something less expensive will do.
  6. Use public facilities for the venue, usually much cheaper.
  7. Try a potluck dinner instead of the host providing all the food.
  8. Provide more vegetables and salads on the menu, these will be less expensive.
  9. Reduce the number of guests.
  10. Plan the menu based upon what is on sale for that week at your local super market.

Remember, the fun and enjoyment comes with the people, not the extras.

Uncommon Party Idea – A Book Party

February 2009

A Book Party is a party theme that can be used for a shower or birthday. The guest of honor is one who loves to read and share books. So for this party theme, think of the library, bookstore and of course all kinds of books.


The invitation can be homemade in the theme of a small book.   Use 3” by 5” or 2” by 4” pieces of heavy paper, 3 to 4 sheets for each invitation.  This can be most any paper, even magazine covers for the front page. Punch 2 holes in the left side of each set of invitation paper and using a ribbon or piece of leather, tie the invitation pages together.  At least a couple of the pages need to have the party description, when, where and contact information printed or written on the front sides.  Also you will need to explain what you expect each guest to bring to the party.  


Each guest should bring one book.   The book could be new or used, any book or you could provide a list of categories or actual titles.  This is usually based upon the “likes” of the guest of honor.  The gift selection can be expanded to include anything related to books such as bookends, bookmarks, book covers, bookstore gift certificates, or a magazine subscriptions.  Now you have the invitations.


For an attractive center piece, place a set of nice looking bookends at the ends of a rectangular shaped potted plant.


The activity can be each guest saying a few words about one of their favorite books or something learned when reading some book or a favorite short story. Or pick a favorite book of the group and have a group discussion of the book.  This is certainly best if everyone has already read the book.


A possible game would be to list 10 to 15 book titles in column A and the list of associated authors, with the names in a different sequence, in column B. The game is to then have each guest try to match the title with the respective author.  Or instead of the authors, use a plot list of each book.


Another game activity would be to write out a list of questions concerning well known books and have each guest try to provide the correct answer.  Here someone could just read the questions to the group and the guests could answer aloud.  Someone will have to do a little home work and read some book reviews


A menu could be as simple as cheese, crackers and wine.  This theme provides something a little more intellectual and more focus than most party themes. 


Note:  This is a continuing series providing party ideas that are a little different and unusual that you may want to use for your next party.

Uncommon Party Idea – A Horoscope Party

January 2009

A Horoscope Party is a party theme that can be used for a shower or birthday.   The guest of honor should not only be familiar with their horoscope but horoscopic astrology.   Since astrology deals with stars, let the star be a focal point of the party.


Start with an invitation in the shape of a star.   Fold heavy paper accordion style, wide enough to have a star, 3” to 5” wide.   Draw the star on the top side and cut the star out with leaving the side star points connected to the other stars in the accordion folder paper.  This makes a chain of four stars.  You will need one chain for each guest.   On the first star in the chain, write “Horoscope Party”.  On the second star, write “Baby Shower” or what ever the type of party you are planning.  On the third star write the date and time of the party; and then on the fourth star, write the address and phone number where the party is to be held.  Now you have the invitations.


For an attractive center piece, use the theme of hitching your wagon to a star.   Here just get an 8” or 10” wagon, maybe a flower planter in the shape of a wagon, attach the tongue of the wagon to a candle which has a star attached to the top.  The wagon can be filled with flowers or other types of decorations. 


The final touch is to make a horoscope reading for each of the guests and the guest of honor.  For this you will need the birthdays of each guest.    Focus on the good and funny comments like best characteristics, lucky days and lucky numbers.  At the end of each individual horoscope, provide the reading for that specific day for each guest.  This is a couple sentences that can be as funny as possible.   Each guest can read their horoscope aloud to the others.


The guest of honor should be the last to read their horoscope and immediately follow with the gifts.


Note:  This is a continuing series providing party ideas that are a little different and unusual that you may want to use for your next party.

Happy New Year, Really!

January 2009

Happy New Year, you probably have heard that a hundred times by now. Do people really mean it though? Yes, I believe they do, just as when someone says “Good Morning”. Both are a nice greeting from one person to another and then they go on about their daily lives. So Happy New Year and we really do hope you have the best year ever. Now it’s that time when people start making New Year’s resolutions, you know the ones they very seldom keep.


I have one resolution to recommend. This resolution is enjoyable, easy, heartwarming and healthy. You can’t say that about loosing weight or to quit smoking or to get in better physical condition. So what is it? Seriously and I mean seriously, associate more with your friends and family. Take more interest in your kid’s day at school, your spouse’s activities and your friend’s issues. I mean really take the time on a regular basis to communicate with the ones you love, with the ones that will support you for being you.


Most people go about their every-day lives in a fog, seeing but not really seeing the people around them. There’s always the small talk, the greetings, the conversations about the weather or yesterday’s ballgame. But how often do you really discuss how someone feels about their job or their concerns or their achievements. A gathering of friends should be more about supporting each other than about who one the football game. Learn to listen to others


What a perfect reason to entertain some family and friends. Get together, have fun, celebrate just being there. It’s been documented that people with good friends and family live longer and healthier.


So Happy New Year and truly enjoy your life’s most important things.