8 Strategies for Effective Party Planning
Whether your next party is a family reunion or a birthday celebration for your child, you want to get it right. Like it or not, the way you put together a party directly reflects on you – and, of course, you want to have a good time yourself. If you’re not very experienced when it comes to event planning and hosting, or even if you’ve been throwing killer parties for years, read on for some tips to up your game.
1. Set a Budget
To prevent overspending, create a budget for your shindig. Estimate how much you’re going to need for food, entertainment, decorations, and anything else the party calls for. The last thing you want is to end up in credit card debt, so get a solid picture of what you’re able to spend and how much you can get for it.
2. Make It Potluck
One savvy way to cut costs is to make your event potluck. Even if all you can get is one or two attendees to bring some drinks and desserts, you’re not only saving some money, you’re ensuring that those guests are getting something they want.
3. Book Your Venue Early
If you’re holding the party somewhere outside your home, be sure to book the venue early. For gatherings centered around the holidays or during graduation season, reservations can fill up very quickly. Atmosphere is everything, so be sure you book the spot you truly want well in advance.
4. Save on the Invites
Skip hard-copy invitations, envelopes and postage, and send your invites electronically instead. There are plenty of free websites you can use: Punchbowl and Evite are two of the best. You’re likely to get your RSVPs a lot faster this way, which can be a big help with your budgeting and planning.
5. Use the Dollar Store
When it comes to decorations, there’s no need to overspend. Your local dollar store should have exactly what you need. Don’t pay any more than you have to for items you’re only likely to use once and then throw away.
6. Enlist the Help of Others
Just like your guests can help you with food, they can also help with other necessities at your party. One person could research venues, another could be in charge of invitations. If your party is going to be a big one, this can save a lot of time and keep your stress level in check.
7. Find Entertainment on Craigslist
If you need a musician, a clown, or any other sort of entertainment, make Craigslist your friend. You’re likely to find freelancers who can give you what you need without breaking the bank. You may want to check references or meet in person beforehand, though, just to ensure their reliability.
8. Limit Alcohol
If your party is for grownups, consider making the potentially unpopular decision of limiting the alcohol. To begin with, you can save a bundle. And, more importantly, it prevents anyone from getting out of hand if they tend to partake too much – and that improves your chances of success out of the gate.
Think twice about handing out party favor bags – instead, put your money into the party itself. If you’re dead set on them, however, keep things simple. Pick up some stickers, marbles, or bubbles from the dollar store and throw in a small bag of homemade cookies for a personalized touch. Planning your party effectively is important, but so is deciding which expenses are truly going to make it a success.
What planning tips have you used when putting together a party?