Coming from the latin word for flat, the word plan is a much-used root word defined as: a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance.
Some people have a natural knack for masterminding things while others… well, not so much. If you fall into the latter category, don’t fret — you’re not doomed to having a less-than stunning party. The key is creating a detailed plan, which will become the foundation of your event. So get out your Excel spreadsheet or Eventbrite‘s event planning software or regular old pen and paper because the first thing you should do is…
- Write it down. There is a lot to keep track of — vendors, guests, timelines, budgets, shopping lists, etc. etc. You won’t be able to keep it all straight in your brain, so don’t even try. Professional party planners keep detailed notes, and so should you.
- Create a total budget. (and put aside an emergency reserve.) Set these as early in the process as possible. Beautiful weddings can be thoughtfully designed on any budget, but blindly spending is a good way to add unnecessary stress to the process. Use the reserve as your safety net or to add extra finishing details in the day or so before the event. Or save it for the next big thing!
- Dream up a vision. Close your eyes and put yourself at your venue, say, The Wadsworth Mansion. Imagine the portico’s stately columns rising to the sky, imagine the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the loggia windows, imagine the long expanse of our lush, green vista framed by rows of cedar trees stretching from the terrace… Now pick an adjective or two that describes the atmosphere you’d like to create here for your guests. Keep your ideal atmosphere in mind as you select vendors and decide on details throughout the planning process.
- Photograph & label everything. If you want your details to look cohesive and reflect your vision, do a test run; when your mock-up looks to your liking, put your smart phone to work and snap some pictures. Label liberally — what is obvious to you may not be so clear to vendors during set up. This will save precious time on the day-of, earning you extra moments to deal with any last-minute hiccups.
- Communicate. Save the surprises for your guests. Talk to your vendors. Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page. A quick phone call to confirm plans or specific details the day before can be the subtle difference between seamlessly smooth and stressful disaster.
- Walk in your guests shoes. From arrival through any activities to the exit, step your way through from a guest’s perspective, which will help with 2 things: assessing if you’ve overlooked any details and making sure your festivities are fluid. If you throw a party for yourself and invite people, that’s exactly what it will feel like to your guests. If, however, you keep the invitee’s experience at the forefront of your planning, the likelihood of “Best Event Ever” status exponentially rises.
Stay tuned for future editions of posts on event planning… In the meantime share comments, experiences, thoughts, and questions below in our comments section.
Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional. When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.