Article by: Precious Moments Stationery
Planning any celebration is an exciting time however it can prove expensive and stressful if the enthusiasm bubbles over. You know, it is possible to keep the process an enjoyable one if a few simple steps are followed.
The fundamentals for the process start with a basic key:
- FOOD and DRINK
Key Tip: If you have a total budget then factor in the costs of the features you feel are essential first (perhaps a kids entertainer for children’s party if you feel doing it yourself is too much) as you may be able to cut costs in other areas, such as food by baking cakes at home or making sandwiches yourself and bringing them to venue. Adjust your budget around the key elements that are essential for you.
When will you have your event?
The date is one of choice and the normal restrictions such as bank holidays may affect your choice, but most people have celebrations in accordance with a set date for birthday, anniversary etc.
If your event must follow a timeline such as celebrations that involve a change of venue for example church to hotel, consider the timings. Will you impinge on rush hour? Could half your guests be late and the food ends up being cold? So think of a time of day that is good for you and won’t be affected too much by geography. Or if it is, take that into account when planning your time line.
This isn’t as important for parties that take place in one location, but it is worth bearing in mind how far your prospective guests may have to travel, and if you’re offering alcohol how far will it be if they have to get a taxi home.
So quick check: date and what time!
Where will you have it?
This is an important consideration that will be dictated firstly by the event itself. If it’s a big celebration then your venue will be chosen by its capacity and your personal liking. Also do remember to ask if this alters with various seating arrangements as it’s not always easy to fit the same number of people at round table as opposed to a square table for example.
Another consideration regarding venue is the co-ordination of party entertainers, caterers or music for the event as they may have specific stipulations. For example if a party is in a hall and you are hiring caterers, they may require oven use or even a full kitchen, these requirements will vary by venue. They may also need entry to the venue several hours prior to your
event and sometimes this can incur a fee.
Quite often kid’s parties in council halls have children’s entertainers. I have experienced this myself, the entertainer wished entry 30 minutes prior to party and said they would need 20 minutes at the end to pack up their equipment. As such I had to hire the hall (which only came in hour increments) for 2 more hours in addition to the actual party time. This is worth asking as such hidden costs can increase your budget without you realising.
Quick check again: VENUE - get details of its amenities and ask if you need to pay more for early entry or tidy up time afterwards. Some places let you off if it is only 20 minutes or so.
Is there a theme?
Who says only kids have theme parties? In my line of work we love creating bespoke invitations!
Just recently for example along with the Princess & Pirates, Football Crazy and Fairy Madness we have designed Sex In The City, Oscars, Heroes & Villains, Movie Mania & Stars of stage and screen designs!
The fun and mood of your event starts right from the design so we always encourage customers to give a list of what they want from their design along with the obvious when and where. Your first impression counts as they say! Just like the little kids who come home waving their invitation frantically like it was the golden ticket from Willy Wonka’s factory, the same excitement should be felt by you as you pop your cards in the post. Feel free to ask questions and alter designs, we always say this is part of the fun and you should keep an invitation from your special occasion as a keepsake.
Decoration will also be dictated by themes. These are so easy to find, just type your theme into Google and you will be bombarded by options. Alternatively what we have been able to offer clients in the past are posters which we have designed for them and supplied in a digital format and they print out at home. We would only charge a nominal design fee for this type of service; this cuts down buying lots of expensive items that would get binned at the end of the party.
Even think of making things at home, as the personal touch is more interesting to your guests and a talking point too! Example is for a recent 18th birthday, we made posters for every year from photo’s supplied by the family. The posters were laminated for them and they also used printed copies as bunting above the cake stand. They were kept and not binned, she treasured them, the guests loved them and they were designed to match her party theme. So think of the personal touch as you could do a lot at home yourself.
Quick check: DÉCOR – If you have a theme, is there anything you can do yourself? If not can you order one item and then copy it to make similar things at home?
PARTY BAGS FOR KIDS
Kids’ party bags are always a minefield as they can end up being expensive without you realising. You can never go wrong with balloons. Did you decorate your venue with balloons? Could you tie ribbon onto them and give a balloon away to each child? Or instead of party bags why not go to the local pound shop and buy a pencil case set for a £1 or hair accessory set for girls.
How many party bags do you know cost less than a £1 these days? Once you put some sweets in, bubbles and a wee something else the costs usually end up more than that. The best success story I had from a parent were IKEA colouring pen sets, a stamp at one end and felt tip at the other. She gave those with a cake and one of the balloons and the kids thought it was fantastic.
Alternatively if you need a party bag to keep kids entertained during an event, perhaps a Christening or Wedding where there will be moments of speeches how about a giant puzzle book with multiple puzzles per page? These can be cut up and given with small packs of coloured pencils which can often be found on Ebay very cheaply. A noughts and crosses grid can be
printed off at home with ease and it’s amazing how young and old kids alike will be caught up with that!
Don’t forget the cake!
This is something that is a personal choice, so go by recommendations and ask for samples. Take pictures of something you like and ensure if it’s for a birthday that any personalisation has the correct spelling and date.
What gift would we recommend for a special occasion?
Well this is something we do a lot of, but more than that I have used them as gifts myself and the recipients have come back and asked for them as gifts for others. That I think is the affirmation of a cherished gift – so what is it you ask?
Well we do a range of personalised albums and guest books of various sizes depending on the size of photos you would wish to put in them and the number of pages you wish. Now not only do we personalise them to occasion or even print a photo on the cover (which makes for a great ‘This is Your Life’ book) they also come in their own gift box.
If it is for a close relative, stick in a copy of the invitation in the front page of the album. Speak to those organising and ask for a rough guest list and write in the Invitees, (even if they don’t all attend) as those were the people they hoped would be there.
Write them a personal note telling them how special the occasion is and you hope they will gather memories on the night and indeed thereafter stick in all the photos of the occasion. It suddenly becomes so much more now, it is a keepsake of the whole affair, from the invite to the occasion, the guests there, their kind wishes and photos. It truly embodies the sentiment of
a keepsake gift.
If It is not for close family, chances are the recipients will do this for themselves but memories are what keep the event alive. How often do we wish we had recorded more of an event? This is the perfect medium to do so.
Of course there are many ways to plan any event, but if you follow it in a logical order hopefully it will follow smoothly. If you need help or have questions about ideas or products do contact us as if we don’t have anything you need we are sure to know someone who does.
Useful links www.kids-party.com
For your chance to win a £30 voucher from Precious Moments Stationary please see our competition, ends 30th September.
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