About two weeks ago, my very dearest friend announced that she was going to plan a surprise 21st birthday party for her daughter. How exciting! But what an undertaking in such a short amount of time.
You might think that because she is my best friend she would have a similar personality and the likelihood is there that she is organized. Not in the least bit!
She called me in a panic the past week because she had taken the first step of inviting people - 73 that is! She basically told everyone she knows and probably some she doesn't know too well to "come on over" this coming Saturday. So, before she knew it, she has 73 people showing up. Yikes! Where will she put them all!
Now she is only days away from the party and there is no plan as to what she is serving or how she is serving 73 people.
Of course, I volunteered to help her out and create an action plan to get everything organized so that the party could run smoothly.
The first mistake that was made was that she did not make a set guest list and really see how many people she was inviting. She just randomly asked everyone without taking into the consideration the ramifications of her actions.
The next issue is determining what the menu should be and how much food to provide. (My friend is notorious for purchasing way too much food because she cannot judge how much everyone is going to eat.) The end result of not planning is that you can end up with so many leftovers, you end up giving it all away because you just don't have room to store it afterwards.
The next issue is how the food will be prepared and served. Will it be brought in by a caterer or will it need to be prepared at home? If made at home, when will it be prepared? Can it be prepared in advance so everything does not have to be done on the day of the party? How will it be stored? Is there enough room to store the food until its time to heat it up or serve it? Do you need to create a schedule for placing items in the oven so they all are done at the same time?
The next issue is whether you have enough supplies - plates, cups, plasticware, napkins, bowls, serving trays, sternos, crock pots, aluminum foil, plastic containers for storage, etc. When planning the food, you need to determine how it will be served to make sure you are not left stuck in the end with nothing to serve your food on.
The next issue is decorations. Since this is a surprise party for her daughter that lives at home, no decorating can be done until that morning when she leaves the house to go to work. It does not mean, however, that you don't plan what to decorate with and where to place it when the time comes.
Lastly, where will you put everyone - in the living room, dining room, kitchen, basement, outdoors? With a large crowd such as this, the hope is that the weather will cooperate so many will be out in the backyard. But, if the weather does not cooperate, what is the backup plan? Will you put up a tent in the backyard? Do you have enough seating? Will you be doing a buffet style service and where will it be set up?
No matter what the special event might be - birthday party, anniversary party, christening, bar mitzvah, wedding, it all takes planning.
Be sure to leave yourself enough time in advance to figure out all the various aspects of planning the special event so that it goes off smoothly. Reduce stress by planning ahead and then you can have a great time along with your guests.
If you are planning a wedding, why not check out my "U Can Do It Wedding Preparation Checklist" at my ABS Store right on this website. It provides you with a comprehensive list of what to do starting a year before the wedding.
Now, that's how you plan a special event!