Monday, November 23, 2015
I think it is safe to say that holiday season is officially upon us. From now through early January I feel as though my weeks are filled with luncheons, cookie swaps, cocktail parties and errands. So many errands!
I will also be hosting or coordinating more than six events in the next six weeks. To pull that off - and not pull out my hair - it requires organization, vision and a really good attitude. Honestly, planning is half the fun for me. After coordinating more than 150 events in my life I have honed in on the best way for me to pull off seamless, fun events that I actually enjoy.
I was so honored when Paperless Post asked if I would like to share any tips to reduce the stress of holiday events. I have been using Paperless Post for years - just under 5 years to be precise - when planning events and parties. It is a beautiful, easy, and stylish tool for any hostess with the mostess. This post isn't sponsored and I received zero compensation. I honestly just love Paperless Post!!
When planning it is important to know what kind of party you want. This will determine all future decisions. What is the purpose or reason? A New Year's Day brunch is very different from a religious gathering. This will impact the location, menu, guests and timing. Do you have a small, city apartment or a large, event space? Do you want to have an intimate gathering with girlfriends, or a boisterous night out with friends?
Paperless Post Bonus: With hundreds of designs there are so many stylish and beautiful invitation options, your theme will easily be conveyed. And if you really want to send invitations through the post, select designs are available for print!
Google docs! Google docs! Google docs!!
A master list of all the lists you need will help you get a handle on responsibilities and tasks far before the event. It will help you be fluent with your event. And they all compliment and inform one another.
Know how much you are willing and able to spend. Create a detailed list of items - butter, wine and cocktail napkins - and the estimated expense. When doing this I also indicate where these items will be purchased. Create this early on. It will help you find the best deals and make the most efficient choices. By pricing items out you may also realize it is more affordable to outsource items or tasks.
Creating a guest list will let you estimate the number of items needed, any personality conflicts, and dietary needs. It also ties back to knowing what you want: People make the party! The guest list should be carefully crafted.
Paperless Post Bonus: Your email contacts can be linked or manually added. Once an address is added you never need to look it up again! A major time savor and avoids any typo mistakes.
Logistics + Errands
Know the logistics and chores that need to go into prep. From grocery shopping to picking up rentals, listing out everything that needs to happen will ensure everything happens seamlessly and relieve your stress. Having a plan puts you in control, so when unexpected surprises happen you can go with the flow.
After the guest list, the menu is the most important part. Create your menu at least three weeks prior. Determine any specialty items, serving dishes or rented items you may need to reserve or order. Also plan a menu that works with the kitchen space and will require minimal work from you during. Going to the store without a menu plan will be extremely expensive and stress you out.
Write out a timeline of when things to happen. Like sending invites, rearranging furniture, and kindly asking those who have not RSVPd to reply.
Paperless Post Bonus: You can schedule reminders and event details ahead of time. I love to schedule the friendly reminder email with parking details and event-specific details weeks before it goes out. Another thing that is off my plate the week of.
A playlist is such an important part of a party, and often one of the most neglected details. As soon as the invite goes out, I start working on my playlist. Whenever I have a few extra minutes in an Uber or some down time I will add songs to the list. Learning to take care of this piece has been a huge stress-reliever for me. I'm no longer scrambling to find a station or old playlist 10-minutes before guests arrive.
Leading up to the party, be sure to discuss the event with those who will be attending! It will get them, and you, excited for the party and will allow for you to flush out any details. I have also found it is extremely helpful during the event. If your closest friends know your vision, they will notice that you forgot to put out the beautiful, fruit-filled ice ring and save the punch! They can also help facilitate any interactions or games you may have planned.
This rule of thumb will change your life!! For any party 70% of the tasks and projects should be completed the day before. This means grocery shopping, food prep, decorations, etc. The day of you should have no more than 30% of the work to do. If food can't be prepped beforehand, if decorations can't be procured or errands can't be run, readjust. In my experience, the day-of should not be overly stressful. There should be down time and space to relax.