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hosting a Party Where to have Your Party
by Marybeth Jeffries ave a reason to celebrate? how fabulous! Party planning may seem a little daunting, but with the right organization, you are on your way to a fun and entertaining time for you and your guests. The “how to” starts with a software program or a good oldfashioned notebook. For my purposes, I always rely on a software program that will list and locate all of my contacts for a guest list, required vendors, and a place to establish a timeline leading up to the party.
establish a Goal and Theme To make your party a success, you will need to establish what the goal for the party will be. Try to think about this in terms of who the guest of honor is and how to best make him or her happy. Generally, a theme for the party should be established. This will make your job so much easier! For a graduation party, you might want to plan the party around your graduate’s favorite activity. If those themes don’t work, then create one! I love island-themed parties; guests dress in their favorite resort wear and drink tropical drinks to the sounds of a steel drum band.
Timeline Once you have established a theme, get busy with a timeline. Figure out when you want to host your party and work backwards, noting when to order food, send invitations, and rSVP dates. Now you have some deadlines to work with and can keep your cool because you’re so organized.
Decide if You Need help You’ll want to decide early in the process whether you will require help in the planning or execution of your party. For those who decide that they don’t want the work of planning their own party, a full-service event planner can handle all of the details including what foods to suggest, hiring service staff, coordination of rentals, and decorations to make your party special. Other planners may decide that all they need is one person to run your kitchen while you are attending to guests. Many times a family member or close friend will step in to take over the kitchen. You’ll want to enlist the help of family and friends, or hire an event planner as soon as possible.
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There are many places to host a great party. Most people choose their homes, and are able to set up their backyard, garage, or deck to accommodate their guests. There are other really great choices if you simply don’t have enough room to handle a large crowd. Check out local fire or church halls, hotels or parks located in your municipality. hosting your party at home can be done easily with the right setup. Party rental houses can rent tables and chairs, a dance floor, as well as tents and lighting to create the perfect atmosphere. Also, it is always a good idea to have a rain plan. I always count on it raining in Southwestern Pennsylvania in late spring or early summer! If you get lucky, you’ll have a beautiful day and if it rains, you’ll be prepared with a tent to keep everyone dry!
Day of the Party Once the basic plan is in place, you can cut down on your “day of party” stress by taking care of the party preparation ahead of time. “Make-ahead” food items will cut down on your time away from guests, so try to give that some additional thought when planning your menu and drink selections. Most rental companies will deliver your party items the day before the party to give you time to set up. Arrange a beverage station where guests can help themselves to cans of soda or premade punches. A good caterer will help you choose foods that don’t require a lot of extra handling and will remain delicious throughout the party! Placing trash receptacles in places where guests can dispose of paper products will help cut down on your after-party cleanup. This gives you the time to meet all of your guests and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Once your party has started, you can enjoy spending time with your guests and seeing the results of all of your hard work. Party planning doesn’t have to be a chore. If you stay organized, you may actually enjoy the process.
Marybeth Jeffries has been planning corporate and social events for over 20 years. www.alleghenymedia-events.com