Before this year, I had never planned an event larger than a birthday party for myself, which was no major feat. My idea of a party is really not a party at all but rather a small get together with a few close friends. So, it was interesting to find myself planning anything larger this year. I’ve still not planned an event any larger than the scale of about 75 people. However, there are a few useful tips I can give that I learned in the process.Be organized: Keeping track of what you’d like at the party and what’s already done is important. How many guests are there approximately? Who are they? Are there any special guests like a speaker or a D.J.? Where are you having this event? The questions start tumbling through the mind. Is it themed? How formal is it? Is there going to be a meal or just light refreshments or nothing at all? It’s easy to see that all this information could turn into a mess. Write it down in one place. I recommend a small binder or a folder with a few sheets of paper and a pen.Start early: If the location is anywhere besides your own home, you’re going to want to look into it early. You don’t want to risk the location you’d like being booked already or, worse yet, all the locations still available being outside your price range. Email or call venues to ask about their availability for the date and their pricing. Looking into other areas early helps too. You’ll want time to look into anything you might purchase and leave time for making alternate plans in case something doesn’t work out like you wanted.Make no assumptions: When looking into pricing, read all of the fine print. It will likely say some phrases like “not included in room rental.” Some of these items that are not included might be surprising and may not be cheap. For example, you’re going to want tablecloths and napkins if you’re having a dinner, but you can’t expect it to be included in the cost of catering. In fact, you might not be able to expect the silverware, having the food served, or having it all cleared away after the meal to be included either. Read that fine print.Mind your money: If you’ve made it through all the major details and know what you want, it’s tempting to just start ordering. Don’t do it right away. Instead, set up an organized spreadsheet to keep track of expenses. A computer program that will update automatically as you put new numbers into place is nice. This also lets you see right away whether or not a possible expense will break your budget, even if the math isn’t just a simple addition. There are likely taxes on some purchases and also some daunting service charges that are in percentages as well. For example, serving food may not cost a flat rate. It might be a percentage based on the overall cost of the food you’ve ordered. Adding one more person to that guest list could really cost you more through the food, the sales tax, and the service fee.Design and deliver: If you decide that you’re ready to make the event official, then take the time to design a simple ‘save-the-date’ style flyer or card about it that you can distribute to your invited guests with some basic information about what and when. If you’re planning for an organization, then email is probably easiest. Getting the word of your party out there early is the easiest way to make it a success when it comes to attendance. Everyone is busy, but advanced notice makes it easier to clear a spot on the calendar or keep it clear. Make sure that everything you send out is presentable. Use good spelling, good grammar, polite wording, and a simple, but attractive, design where appropriate. Once you’ve announced the event, wait to send the invitations until they can be complete with all the details of who, what, when, where, and why.Do not claim anything that won’t be true: You don’t want anyone to show up and immediately leave in disappointed disgust at your false advertising. Finally, you might want to update your information with anything you’ve overlooked. Answer one person’s question by sending the information to everyone if it seems like useful information about the event.Ask for help: If you find that the event is close, the tasks aren’t manageable, and there are still a lot of smaller details like place cards to put into place, get some help. Ask other people involved with the event to take on smaller tasks, or send a nicely worded request out for help.If it seems like a minor task but still needs to get done in order for the event to come together according to plans, then let someone else put his or her talents to work. This event is keeping you busy, right? That other person likely has the time to do it better, since he or she volunteered.This might not be all there is to planning an event, especially on a larger scale. However, these few simple tips can help you get started.
There are two people directly responsible for your existence and they both have a day set aside every year to celebrate how awesome they are. You could argue that these days are just made up by the card and flower companies to sell more merchandise, but who cares? Why shouldn’t we have a day that is set aside to appreciate the things parents do? They wiped our snot, tears, and butts. They taught us how to share our toys and not to stick things up our noses. They scolded us for throwing fits in grocery stores and drawing on the white walls with crayons. They cared for us when we got the sniffles and sneezes. They encouraged us to go out into the world and succeed. You worked hard to get where you are, but you always had your parents, standing in the wings, cheering you on.This Sunday is Mother’s Day. There is nothing stopping you from calling her this weekend and thanking her for being spectacular. She would love a bouquet of roses, lilies, or daisies and a box of chocolates, but nothing will make her quite as happy as you calling and saying, “I love you.” Your mother is a great woman. She has cared for you your whole life. Whether she stayed at home or had a job, she labored to make you happy. You may have your disagreements and upsets, you may have thought she was being unfair or not understanding the difficulties you were experiencing. And the fact is, she may not have understood but I bet she tried her best to make it better for you. It did not matter if you felt you were being babied or crowded, if you were in any trouble of any kind she would go in with guns blazing. She will always be there for you: to make your favorite food after a bad week, to help you with any problem, and to spoil you for no good reason. In this fashion, let’s not forget the other great women in our lives. Grandmothers and aunts love you too, so don’t forget them this Mother’s Day weekend. No matter how hard you are studying or how hard you are trying not to study, you have time to show appreciation for all that your mother has done for you. You can be sure that there are things that she has done for you that no other sane person would do, like do your nasty laundry when you go home, and she should be hugged and thanked. If you are unable to go home, along with the call she would probably enjoy some of those flowers and chocolates or even some homemade macaroni picture frames. For those who don’t keep tabs on these sorts of things, remember that Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16 and that your father is just as important as your mother, and he deserves recognition as well. So be the good offspring you are and appreciate those who got you here.