1. Create an outcome
As simple as it seems, have a think about the sort of atmosphere you’d like to create at your event. What do you want your guests to hear, feel, smell and touch? Jot down some memorable events you have attended in the past and identify what exactly made them special. Set yourself some objectives and you’ll find that it will help shape the direction that your event will take.
2. Choose and book a venue
Consider the area and how far is it from the majority of your guests’ residence?
Find a venue that includes tables and chairs in their venue hire fee, if required.
Ask your venue for extended time or next day clean up – you’ll be surprised to learn that most venues will accommodate this request!
If you are holding an outdoor event, make certain that you have a reliable backup venue for wet weather (such as a private residence).
3. Send out invitations
It is very important to post your invitations as well in advance as possible. Ideally, you should also send a reminder via email approximately two weeks before the event.
If you are savvy with Facebook, you may wish to create an event and send a request to your invitees – this is a great way to keep track of your RSVPs online.
4. Choose and book a caterer
Ensure the caterers you are considering are reputable and are able to provide you with testimonials and guarantees. Ask for a few different quotes from the same company, as you may be able to consolidate all your requirements and deal with the one service provider. Some caterers not only provide food and service staff, but also beverage packages, decor and equipment hire; including everything from glassware and cutlery to spectacular centre pieces and marquees.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request a change to the menu; for example if the guest of honour really enjoys a particular pasta dish, just ask your caterer if they can do it especially for you! A lot of caterers also offer an event management service, so feel free to discuss your event with them and obtain as much free advice as possible; this also helps the caterer recommend the most appropriate menu for your occasion.
5. Theme your event
It isn’t as expensive as you may think!
Holding an event at home? There are lots of options that won’t break your budget: stick some cellophane on your outdoor lighting; hire some cocktail bar tables; make your own coloured table runners; buy some outdoor lanterns and decorate them; hire a helium balloon tank to create your own balloon arrangement; even an outdoor marquee can be found at a reasonable price if you shop around.
Holding an event at a venue? Ask your venue or caterer to provide a quote for a theming package; afterall, they are the experts and you’ll be amazed at what they can come up with.
6. Create a point of difference
This season’s latest event trend is “revealing”.
Let’s set the scene… your cocktail party has been going for about three hours now; the guest of honour has arrived; everyone has mingled and had a few drinks; the view has been enjoyed, so too has the food – but some guests are starting to glance at their watch every so often and are likely to be considering leaving .
It’s time to REVEAL something new!
Perhaps open up a secret room featuring a cocktail bar to keep the party rolling. Or maybe reveal a dessert station – pull back that mysterious black sheet that everyone’s been wondering about and wow your guests with a tempting selection of sweet treats and dessert liquors. Why not have an entertainer join the party, perhaps a snake-taming belly dancer, a magician, a singer or even a fire-twirling performer!
7. On-the-day tips
Arrange transport to and from the venue for your guests, such as hiring a bus. This ensures the event will run on time and everyone has a safe way home.
Don’t forget the candles for the birthday cake!
If you plan to be at the venue early to set up or prepare your decorations, bring a change of clothes so you are nice and fresh!
Make sure you know where the bathrooms are located, and if you’ve hired service staff for the event, be sure to let them know also. You might like to consider creating some signage so that it’s easy for your guests to find the bathrooms without asking; if it is an outdoor event, you could even create an atmospheric path to the amenities with a trail of lanterns or tealight candles.
8. MOST IMPORTANTLY – Enjoy the event!
No one enjoys a stressed or frazzled host! Enjoy the night as much as you can and the positive energy will flow through the entire event.
Make sure you greet everyone on arrival. A great way to do this is to have a basket of small gifts with a personalized tag for each of your guests; not only is it a lovely token but it also ensures you keep track of which guests you have seen and those you haven’t!