Ah, the holidays. They are here, and then they are gone. So much to do, to buy, to plan. With every season (holiday or not) comes parties and events, personal and work-related. Most likely, you were involved in a party or event, plan to have one in the future, or know someone who is pulling their hair out planning their own. The fact is, a lot goes in to planning a large event, such as a company party, a holiday celebration, or a wedding. Planning takes time and resources. Take it from individuals who have made a business out of planning such occasions: planning matters.
The greatest mistake party planners make is waiting too long. There's a lot to think about. How many guests are invited? What kind of food do you want to offer? What types of vendors and services do you want on hand? And best of all, what is your budget? Many don't ask themselves these questions until they are under the gun.
1. THIS IS KEY!
First off, before you start freaking out, keep it simple. Don't overload yourself with unnecessary details. Secondly, get organized. Get a notebook or binder to keep track of all receipts, contact info, guest lists, etc. It's best to keep these details in a compact, easy to access format so you aren't scrambling around trying to find where you put that dang photographer's phone number. Depending on the size of your event, it might be very helpful to delegate specific aspects of your event to designated individuals that you trust. The take-home point here is this: Don't over-complicate your event, don't lose track of important details, don't put unnecessary stress on yourself, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Now, on to the big-ticket items.
2. Book Your Venue NOW!
The venue is almost as important to your event as the guests themselves. In our 2016 venue blog, we talked about how one of the things that makes memories and experiences so special is the venue in which they took place. So, it's key to find the perfect venue and book it ASAP. Wait too long, and you get forced to decide between spending too much for too little, having your event in a sub-par venue, or cancelling the event altogether (which probably isn't an option).
Most popular venues are booked well in advance anyway, so if you want to nail down that trendy locale, make the venue your first phone call. Also, many more popular venues may have restrictions as to what you can and can't do in their venue. Don't let a nasty surprise in this area ruin an important aspect of your party.
3. Save Money & Book Vendors Early
As mentioned, cost is a big factor, too. Let's say you want a DJ, a caterer, a photo booth, a mini bar, and a photographer. Guess what? The good ones get booked in advance, just like venues. Also, many vendors offer deals or discounts for your event if you bundle or purchase in advance. They like reliable clients, and are willing to give up a tiny bit of kickback if it means you are a prepared, paying party planner. And, if purchases are made or reserved during an expo or a special sale, you just put potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars back into your party budget. Now you CAN afford that top-rated videographer.
4. Relax & Enjoy Your Work
Certainly you will pay for your event with money, but you will also pay with stress. When you're stressed, you might not make the best or most rational decisions regarding your event. You'll likely wake up at night with a weight on your chest, knowing that the clock is ticking. Pile on more stress with rising costs, and now the event isn't even fun anymore. You just want to get it over with. You hire a mediocre photographer and run-of-the-mill catering, and a bad feeling ensues. Bad planning will only bring more stress, and cost you more money.
If you are going to be planning an event that is months to a year away, you may still feel a sense of ease, knowing that there is still some time left. You're not in a hurry. Now is the perfect time to plan. Look at venues, see if there are any special events or party expos nearby. Check vendor websites for special deals or packages. There's no need to stress, because you've got plenty of time. Plan earlier, plan smarter, and have a better party! And trust us, when that party is three weeks away and the guest list is growing like Jack's bean stalk, you'll have an overwhelming sense of ease and relief, knowing that all or most of the stressful details are already taken care of. Now, you just go enjoy the party.