Are you thinking of planning a large-scale party or event in the near future?
Do you need help keeping track of your thoughts, ideas, materials, and other details?
Let’s face it: planning a party is a lot of work.
Besides organizing delicious food, beautiful decorations, upbeat music, games, and guests, you also need to keep party information organized.
In this post, I offer seven quick party planning tips to help you keep party details organized.
Want help planning your party or event?
Choose a preferred note-taking method.
Are you more of a pen and paper type person when it comes to taking notes, or do you prefer laptop, tablets, and smart phones? The good news is there’s no right or wrong way to take notes when it comes to planning a party. What matters is whether you can access and make changes to your planning information quickly and easily.
Maybe you’re happy as a clam when it comes to using your laptop and creating detailed spreadsheets. Perhaps your heart sings when you come up with wonderful table decoration ideas when you’re doodling on a notepad with a pencil. Whether you go the analog or digital route for your planning notes, be sure to date, revise, and review your notes on a regular basis.
Brainstorm ideas as soon as possible.
Time is at a premium whenever you’re organizing a party. The sooner you begin brainstorming possible party themes, guests, and ideas, the better! Keep in mind: you don’t have to worry about organizing everything in your party down to the last detail, or having complete lists, checklists, and plans. The goal is to simply get everything out of your head, and down on paper or saved on a screen.
So, go ahead and jot down any ideas you may have regarding your party’s theme, decorations, invitations, food and beverages, music, location, and party favors. Remember, you can always edit, add-on, or delete items later.
Organize your thoughts.
Okay, by now you should have come up with a wealth of ideas for your event. Now, it’s time to organize your thoughts. Pull out your notes and start piecing like items with like. Which ideas or thoughts naturally go together?
For example, you might have brainstormed a bunch of different food and beverage ideas in the previous step. Now’s a good time to gather your refreshment options onto one page or area of your screen so you can compare and contrast items. You’d want to do this this same step for each of the components (decorations, music, favors, etc.) of your party.
Once you’ve spent time organizing your thoughts, you can create lists to keep track of items to set up, purchase, or make. For example, if you were planning an outdoor barbecue, you’d probably want to make lists of food and beverages to buy, as well as cooking supplies, dining supplies, and decorations.
Make a timeline.
When it comes to planning a party, you can’t go wrong creating a timeline of your event’s activities. After all, it can be a bit challenging presenting awards to your guests if they’re waiting on the buffet line for dinner! When are different activities taking place at your party or event?
Create your timeline by writing down your party’s start time, followed by one-hour increments until the end of the party. So, if your party starts at 7:30 P.M. and ends at 10:30 P.M. , you’d want to add in increments of 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30 P.M., respectively. You can then start plotting out the different activities for your party, be it appetizers, dinner, awards presentation, dancing, and dessert.
Feel free to adjust times as needed until you get things just right.
Create a reference document.
Have trouble keeping track of party details? Consider putting together a master reference document to capture important party details and lists. Again, it doesn’t matter if you use paper or a digital device to track this information, so long as you track it!
Your reference document may include your party’s location, date and hours, guest and invitation information, as well as important phone numbers. Go ahead and include anything that you think would be useful to you as you plan, prepare for, and hold your party.
Store party supplies in a single location.
It’s much easier to keep tabs on party materials if they are stored in the same location. This way, you won’t have to go searching for items from room to room, or waste time trying to figure out how many paper plates and cups you have on hand.
Take a few moments to prepare a designated party storage space in your home. Once you’ve set up your storage area, you can assemble and store party decorations, supplies, favors, signage, and other items as needed.
Have a backup plan.
It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan for your party, just in case things don’t go as planned. The possibilities are truly endless; you just have to use your imagination.
Some examples of backup plans include a contingency timeline in case of delays, spare chairs and tables in case you have more guests than originally planned, a backup stereo to play music in case your smart phone freezes up, or a list of stores to pick up extra supplies, should you need them at the last minute.
How about you? What do you find to be the most challenging thing when it comes to planning a party or event? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!
A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2015.