Are you planning an event at your home soon ─ such as a party, wedding or reception ─ and aren’t sure where to begin? As professional home stagers, we hear questions like this often. We have also had the pleasure of staging a variety of special events over the years. Today, we’re going to shed some light on the subject.
The first step in event planning is to answer some big-picture questions. Some important things to ask yourself are:
- Will the event have a theme?
- If so, what will it be, and how will you communicate it?
- Will it be a formal or casual event?
- Will you serve beer, wine, or liquor?
- How many people will you invite and how will you choose them?
- How big is your budget?
- Is the party intended to celebrate anything specific, such as a holiday, graduation or promotion?
Once you have answered the big questions, you can move on to planning the specifics. A great event is all about getting the details right. Here are some ideas for the most important things on your event planning checklist:
The most important part of any great event is the people. Every decision, big or small, should be made with the guests or guest of honor in mind. It all starts with who you are going to invite. The size of the guest list will impact how much food you’ll need, how large your venue needs to be, and much help you may need to hire.
To make the experience extra special for guests, think outside the box. Start with the invitations. Instead of using a run-of-the-mill card and a generic message, think about what you can do to embrace the theme of your party right from the start. For a wedding reception by the beach, for example, you could send the invitations in bottles (like a “message in a bottle”) to your guests with a personalized message in it. When they arrive to the event, have flip-flops available for anyone who wants to take a walk in the sand. Set up a selfie station with coastal-inspired props so guests can easily take their own photos to have as mementos from the event.
Simple, yet special details like these will show that you’ve gone the extra mile for your guests and will make the event even more special for those who attend.
Unless you are hosting a dinner, any food and drink options at your event should be easy to eat while standing and chatting. While you definitely want to offer some variety, it’s best to focus on 5 or so appetizers rather than having a wildly diverse offering. While the latter may look impressive, guests will generally gravitate toward a few popular dishes and leave the rest barely touched.
It’s important to make sure people RSVP so you know how much food you’ll need, but always order extra just in case. Some guests will consume more than others and you never want to run the risk of running out if more people show up than originally anticipated.
Keep in mind that some people who attend may have special preferences or food allergies, so include vegetarian and gluten-free items, as well some options free of common allergies like nuts and lactose. This will ensure that everyone can enjoy something to eat.
Most of your decorative choices, such as color palette, will be decided by your theme, but there are certain staples that work well for any event. Comfortable seating is always a must. While you’ll want your guests to mix and mingle, they probably won’t want to be stuck on their feet the whole time. Add cushions to hard seats and offer comfortable alternative options, such as poufs. Set up a variety of different conversational areas, too, so people will be encouraged to move around.
For easy clean-up, brown or white craft paper is perfect for the dining tables and buffet tables. It’s a chic and casual look that also saves a lot of headache for the host or hostess at the end of the event. Add some fresh flowers to simple glass vases throughout the party for some inexpensive, charming décor that works for any event.
To keep your guests comfortable, keep the elements in mind when staging an event. If it will be taking place outside when it’s really sunny, make sure there is plenty of shade available. Large umbrellas work great for this and are a very stylish decorative addition, too. On a hot night, set up some portable fans. If your event is going to extend into or take place in the evening, provide plenty of lighting. We love to use twinkling lights because not only do they provide nice illumination, but they also create a beautiful ambiance.
And of course ─ don’t forget to keep away the bugs. The last thing you want is for your guests to be bitten up while they’re trying to have a good time. Place some citronella candles around to combat the insects.
Proper planning and attention to detail are crucial to hosting an unforgettable event, but the best events are usually the ones where the host is having fun, too. Put your passion and creativity into it and you won’t go wrong. Feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to learn more!