One of the best things you can do when planning a party, brunch, barbeque, or just a good old-fashioned get-together is to be organized and prepared! No matter the size of the event, you'll need a written schedule and a master shopping list. You can ensure that your party will go off without a hitch by creating a solid timeline and a comprehensive shopping list.
Here are seven tips from experienced party and wedding planners to help you prepare your shopping list and timetable:
Tip #1 Budget – The very first step when planning a successful event is to create a budget. You’ll need to create a budget that includes the cost of food, beverages, venue insurance (especially if you’re serving alcohol), the venue reservation fee, whether you'll need to hire people to park your guest's vehicles, staff to serve food and drinks, party supplies such as cups, napkins, bowls, tablecloths, balloons, banners, and so on. Keep in mind that you can adjust your budget if any of your guests are unable to attend.
Tip #2 Date – When choosing a venue, consider a date that is convenient for your guests, as well as the venue's availability. When deciding on a date, keep in mind that the weather will influence your choice.
Tip #3 Guestlist – Depending on the type of event you're hosting, such as a wedding, reception, birthday, or anniversary party, you'll want to create a guest list. When mailing the invitations, leave a space for your guests to indicate whether or not they can attend, and it’s a good idea to ask them if they have any food allergies. Sending a return envelope with a postage stamp makes it easier for your visitors to respond. This will help you create your budget, purchase your party supplies, and pick the size of the venue. We recommend confirming your guests can come before purchasing party supplies to avoid wasting money.
Tip #4 Venue – Before you schedule a reservation at a venue, decide how many people you want to invite. Most venues have a maximum number of guests they can accommodate. Depending on the venue's policies, you may be required to pay a deposit to reserve the location and date of your event.
Tip #5 Checklist/Tasks – Now that you've established your budget, date, and venue, you’ll need to create a checklist and a schedule. Your checklist should include the guest list (once you’ve confirmed who’s coming), menu, location, schedule, prices, and making the calls to arrange your event. You’ll want to contact an insurance provider to get event insurance quotes in case someone is injured at your event. This is also the time to think about what activities you’ll have for your guests and how long you want the party to last. It's important to stick to the schedule you have for yourself, otherwise, things can get really difficult. Keeping a detailed checklist will allow you to stay on budget, be organized, and create an unforgettable experience for your guests! Create a new list of everything that needs to be completed the week of the event to make sure you have everything prepared.
Tip #6 Supplies/Decorations/Food & Drink – When making your checklist, add the supplies you need to purchase. Consider how many tables you'll need and how many people will be seated at each one. If you put some effort into the small details, they’ll be the most memorable for your guests. You can purchase or create personalized place cards to put on the tables with your guest's names written on them so they can find their seat. Let your creativity flow by designing your own table centerpieces or purchase them premade. Are you going to have real dishes and utensils or will you purchase disposable plastic and paper products? Will you have certain colors that you’ll use throughout or will you have a theme? Do you want to tie bows around the chairs and hang banners around the room? Will you make the food yourself or will you hire a caterer? Another common party idea is to give everyone a small gift bag to take home with them at the end of the night! These are the kinds of things you want to think about and make a written plan and budget to follow.
Tip #7 Cleaning/Shopping – Once you’ve got your invitations, guest list, shopping list, reservation at the venue, and menu planned out, it’s time to pull it all together. Create a schedule so you can estimate how long it will take to clean and decorate the venue. If you're preparing the food for the event yourself, consider how long it will take to prepare. Otherwise, you can have it catered for a reasonable price, which saves you a lot of time.
Tip #8 Ask For Help – When you cross items off your to-do list, you may find that there are certain conflicts in your schedule that require you to change things around or enlist the help of others. In addition, this list will help you remember items that you would’ve otherwise forgotten. If you find yourself with more work than time, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help. In fact, your loved ones will probably be happy to help you, if needed.
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-Thank you, Jay & Cendee — Hollow Branch Creations
We are a couple who share a passion for creativity and saving money. I love to save money by cooking delicious meals at home and creating unique crafts. Meanwhile, my husband is an expert in woodworking and loves to craft beautiful pieces from scratch. Together, we combine our passions to create one-of-a-kind serving sets that are both functional and beautiful. Each piece is made with care and attention to detail and reflects our love for the natural beauty of wood.
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