Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Party Planning 101: The basics

I like to entertain. So does Martha. Heck, she wrote the book! Over the years I’ve thrown planned and hosted many events (bridal showers, birthday parties, graduation parties, baby showers and more). Some of these events were extremely successful, and others…well, let’s just say I’m still on speaking terms with everyone involved, so they worked out in the end. Planning a party can be a lot of fun, but also a lot of stress. I entertain a lot socially, I am paid to organize massive fundraising events professionally, and I’ve attended my fair share of parties as a guest, so now I’d like to share with you the tips, tricks and to-do’s I’ve learned over the years.

The Martha Initiative’s Party Planning 101

When planning a party of any kind, whether it is a casual gathering of neighbors for a summer cookout or your parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, the same process is used each time. The party planner must consider:

Occasion and Event Style
Guest List
Any extras: such as a photographer/videographer, entertainment, music, etc.

In the coming days, I’ll cover the list of party planning topics. Parties are on my brain now, since I am hosting a birthday party for my wonderful husband this weekend. Woohoo!

Before making any decisions about party plans, the host must do some deep thinking about the following:

What type of party do the guests of honor want? What type of party does the host want? And what can the guest/s of honor and the host reasonably handle?
By putting serious thought into these questions, and following through with the answers, you can plan a successful party where everyone has a great time.

Here’s what I mean: you may want to plan a big blowout bash on a riverboat for your parent’s 40th anniversary, but if your dad gets seasick and your mom is easily fatigued, that’s just not the way to go. Likewise, grandparents may insist that you have an enormous party for Junior’s first birthday that lasts several hours has a guest list of 60+ family and friends, but that’s not feasible when Junior is still an easily-overwhelmed baby who does not need sugar and does need regular naps. And a cranky baby equals a cranky mommy equals a cranky daddy equals unhappy guests. Always, before any plans are made, any invitations sent, any decorations bought, the host must consider what they want and what the guests of honor want.

For my husband’s party this weekend, we’re going for an informal and relaxed gathering. It will be open house style, so friends and family can drop by throughout the day. Hubby can be relaxed and visit with everyone, I am as relaxed as any hostess can be, and our little guy doesn’t get too overwhelmed with the festivities. After all, if we are enjoying the party, it stands to reason that our guests will, too.

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss how to determine the budget, location and date/time for your party. Or, par-tay, if you that’s how you roll.

1 comment:

Chicagolandia said...

I can't wait to read your next installment - I never really broke down entertaining like this before, so there so much to learn.