Planning a Party Guide

by admin on June 2, 2010

Party Planning List

Planning a party will be different based upon several key factors; number of guests, social or business, friends or strangers and your budget. A small gathering of friends will be a lot different then a large gathering of strangers focusing on some business function. However, there are some similarities that should not be ignored.
One of these is that the host is the key factor in make any party a success. The host must take the responsibility and time to organize all of the details.

Party planning means that the host needs to be prepared for many different things. There are the food, drinks, venue, entertainment, introductions, events during the party and then the clean-up.  Ask yourself if there is a goal for the party or is it just to have fun?

For any medium to large party, it helps to have a theme. A party theme will help drive many of the other decisions such as food, location, decorations and entertainment.

The size or number of guests will usually be determined by either your own expectations or those of someone else. As the number of guests increase, so does the cost, the difficulty and the guest expectations. So if you are new to planning a party, start small and know your limitations, your time and your budget.

Once you have a potential number of guests to invite, go through your checklist and estimate the cost in as much detail as possible. Keep reviewing this cost estimate as your planning progresses. You do not want to
be surprised at the expense after it is too late to make significant changes.

Each guest needs to receive some type of invitation. If this is a formal party, a written invitation is usually best. For an informal or casual party; use email, the telephone and/or speak directly with who you plan to invite. Always keep a list of exactly who has been invited, how they were invited, the date and their response. If this will be a party with a dinner, you should request an RSVP.

A dinner party or a party where food will be served presents some additional details that need to be planned. The first issue with a dinner party is the cost. The second issue will be planning the menu and who supplies the food. There are many ways to provide food for a party from catering a five course meal to having a backyard potluck gathering. If you plan on serving a full dinner or just some hors d’oeuvres, make this clear on the invitation.

The party venue or location will be driven by the number of guests invited and the entertainment selected. If you need to rent a banquet room or a restaurant, the larger the guest list, the more in advance you will need to book the venue. If you are using your home, remember the parking requirements.

For a local commercial venue, parking probably will not be an issue. If you have chosen a residence for the party, you may need off site parking or valet parking. It is always a good idea to notify the neighbors if this will be a large gathering. If the venue is located outside the local area, it may be best to rent a bus to transport the guests to and from the party location. For very large events, give some thought to the parking security to help prevent any theft from the cars.

Do you need some additional insurance in case of an unfortunate accident? This is usually the last thing on the host’s mind, but if you are having a large party in your own residence, it is good to review your liability insurance.

If any of your guests are from out of town, provide some hotel recommendations. If there will be
10 or more rooms needed, try to get room discounts for your guests. Most major hotels have someone assigned for this type of request. These out of town guests may also require some transportation service. If there are many guests flying to the same airport, try to arrange some pickup service or sharing a rental car. A little planning here can provide big returns.

In some cases child care services will be required for the guests with children, especially out of town guests for a social event. In this case, arrange for one or more baby sitters.

Last but not least, provide you guests with well written directions and maps to the event location. These should be sent out with the invitations that clearly show the date, time, location, if food will be served, maybe dress code and any other information that may seem obvious to you but may not be to others.

If you need help, there are always party planning and catering services where you can be involved as little or as much as you want. Its great when a well planned event comestogether and everyone has a great time.

Here is a list of some basic items you may need to consider:

  • Venue
  • Tables and chairs
  • Table centerpieces
  • Gift table
  • Lighting
  • Seating assignments
  • Trash cans
  • Entertainment stage
  • Dance area
  • Audio and video
  • Smoking area
  • Insects if outdoors
  • First aid
  • Decorations
  • Balloons
  • Flowers
  • Party favors
  • Banners
  • Confetti
  • Streamers
  • Food
  • Appetizers
  • Salads
  • Main course
  • Vegetarian meals
  • Desserts
  • Drinks
  • Cash bar
  • Bartender
  • Beer
  • Liquor
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Ice
  • Punch
  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Miscellaneous
  • Tablecloths
  • Napkins
  • Tableware
  • Food warming station
  • Trash bags

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