Does the idea of holiday party planning leave you frost bitten instead of holly and jolly? Here are a few simple tips for making your holidays a little less stressful!
On the first day of planning:
Define your event and audience. Is it a family gathering, a client appreciation, or an open house? Your event purpose will direct everything that follows.
On the second day of planning:
Decide on your venue or destination. You have many options available to you – restaurant, hotel, your home, or even a grange hall. This decision will allow you to coordinate all your available resources such as catering options, rentals needs, or how much labor you will need.
On the third day of planning:
Keep it simple! If your event is a casual event, there is no need for an extravagant menu – just a delicious one! So make sure you have 2-3 dishes that are perfected and let the rest go! Décor is just to set the mood; pick one vignette and make it memorable. Don’t waste precious time and energy trying to dress up the whole space! People remember the event – not the details (as long as nothing terrible happens!)
On the fourth day of planning:
Make it personal to you and yours! This idea shouldn’t mean more work for you – in fact it should be a natural conclusion. Perhaps it is personalized place cards or guest gift, lit candles, or the smell of spices on the oven. Think about what would make you feel “special” and do that for your guests.
On the fifth day of planning:
Delegate whenever possible. Whether it is asking friends and family to bring dishes or hiring a professional to handle the details, you don’t have to do it all yourself. Read and repeat!
On the sixth day of planning:
A rule of thumb is that 1/3 of your invited guests will regretfully decline (or not RSVP at all)….that being said…..
On the seventh day of planning:
Always err on the side of excess. Plan on a minimum of 5% more than expected – this goes for beverages, food, or even tokens of appreciations.
On the eighth day of planning:
Create an agenda – even if you never use it. It is a great tool to plan for contingencies or keep things moving along smoothly if they stall or become awkward.
On the ninth day of planning:
Do a dry run! This small practice can make all the difference and save you some heartache! Make sure your team members/labor know what your expectations are and are prepared to handle any emergencies should they occur.
On the tenth day of planning:
Be flexible. Know that nothing ever goes as planned so be prepared to think on your feet. Your guests can feel your tension so quickly acknowledge the issue, make the necessary changes or decisions and move on. Nothing about an event is life or death (normally!)
On the eleventh day of planning:
Enjoy! Remember a party is supposed to be fun! – For you too!!
On the twelfth day of planning:
Follow up! Send a personal thank you or phone call to your guests – be memorable!