Party Planning Guide
Party planning is easy with our party planning guide.
Our party planning guide will assist you with planning your event from start to finish. It's a step-by-step guide to ensure you
cover all the details.
Set a Budget
When planning a party, the budget is the best place to begin. The budget will set the overall tone for the
event and will determine how modest or extravagant the event can be. Keep in mind it is not necessary
to spend more than you can afford to show your guests a good time.
Choose the Type of Event
Is the event going to be a small private gathering with close friends and relatives or a large
event with several guests? Will the guest of honor know about the party or will it be a surprise?
Before making these decisions, consider the person the party will be for. Does that person like to
be the center of attention or is he/she modest and reserved? It's best to take this into consideration.
Consider a Theme
Once the budget has been set and the type of event had been decided, you might want to consider a party
theme. First, decide if you would like to incorporate a theme and if it is possible with the set budget. A theme can be incorporated
with a few simple touches or can be as extravagant as your budget will allow. Browse our list of party themes to get ideas.
When choosing a theme, consider the guest of honor. Does he/she have a hobby or interest that would make a great theme? Does
he have a good sense of humor? A personality trait can also be helpful when deciding on a theme. Is the person a neat freak,
are they always late, do they play practical jokes on other people? All of these things can be worked into the theme.
The season or time of year can also help influence the theme. Will the party be held close to a holiday - Groundhog's Day,
St Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras, Halloween, etc.?
Consider a Date and Time
At this point it's a good idea to start considering a date and time. Choose a couple dates that would be convenient for you and the guest
of honor. It's best to consider a couple dates and run them past the people the guest of honor is closest to. If you choose one date and
are not flexible, it might limit the guests that can attend.
Consider those guests that will need to make travel and lodging arrangements. The date should be far enough in advance to give out of town
guests plenty of time to make arrangements.
Create Guest List
When making a guest list, it is best to start with the guest of honor's family and closest friends. Once
that has been established, consider other friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances.
Plan Party Agenda
The next step is to plan the activities for the party. It's important to consider the activities for the party before booking the location to ensure the facility
can accommodate your planned activities.
Most activities will be planned around the food. Are you planning to have music? Are you going to provide the music or will you hire a DJ? Do you plan to play
games? Is the facility large enough to accommodate the planned activities - if it's a casino event, will there be enough room for the casino tables? Is there
enough room for the guests to dance?
Consider a Location
Will the party be held at a private residence, banquet hall, country club, ballroom, etc? Browse our list of vendors
to locate a location/venue. Here are a few questions to consider when choosing a location:
See our list of questions for venues for a complete list of questions to ask when considering a location.
- Is the location convenient for guests?
- Will the party be held inside or outside?
- Do they allow you to bring your own food?
- Are there facilities at the location to prepare the food on-site?
- Are they required to cater the food?
Consider the Menu and Drinks
Your budget will largely influence the food and drinks. Are you planning a sit-down dinner, heavy hor d'oeuvres, or light snacks and finger foods?
Is it going to be a potluck? Will you serve alcohol and if so what type - beer, wine, mixed drinks, etc? If you plan to make the food
yourself check out our party recipes and cocktails.
Get Vendor Quotes
Once you've set the budget and considered a date and location and whether or not you would like to incorporate a theme, it's time to contact vendors
to get quotes. At a minimum, vendors will need to know the date and location of the event along with the services you would like them to provide
before they can guarantee availability
Vendors book quickly during the holiday season and may not be available on the day of your event. This is why it is important to consider a couple dates. It's
best to contact vendors well in advance to enure they will be available for your event.
Looking for a vendor, but not sure where to begin? Ask friends and family for referrals or browse our complete list of vendors. Our list includes caterers,
photographers, event planners, entertainers, DJs, musicians, banquet halls and much, much more. Be sure to review our list of vendor
questions before making the first call. It will save you time and money.
Set the Date and Time
Once you've coordinated with vendors and guaranteed their availability, it's time to set the date and time for the event. Once you've decided on a date and time,
it's very important to secure the vendors by booking the location and hiring the vendors.
Book the Location
Booking the location should be done as soon as possible after deciding on a date and time. You don't want to lose the location by waiting too long to book it.
Now it's time to hire the vendors. Be sure to ask for a contract and whether or not they require a deposit. Open lines of communication with your vendors will
ensure a successful event.
You've chosen a date, booked the location, hired the vendors and thought about the details. Now it's time to invite the guests. The invitation should be
sent and least 2 weeks in advance for local guests and at least 2 months in advance for out of town guests.
The invitation should reflect the overall mood of the party. Be sure to include the date, time, location, dress code and any special instructions. Also
include an RSVP number and request guests to RSVP. For out of town guests you might want to provide directions and lodging options.
There are many invitation options. You can send the invitation via email or the traditional way via postal mail. Invitations
can be found at local department stores or can be ordered online. If you're creative and feeling ambitious, you can make them yourself.
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