Planning a party can be super fun. From choosing a décor theme to tasting cocktails, what isn’t there to love?
But if you don’t have the right plan in place, or aren’t used to event planning, things can go from champagne and peonies to over-budget and behind schedule pretty quickly! That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of our pro principal planner, Christina Ferreira, to help you get started.
- Set a budget! Even before you deal with the theme, guest list, or caterer, set a budget and make sure it’s realistic. First thing’s first, make sure you are aware of the total you can afford to spend. Then, start allocating parts of the budget to things you care most about. Big champagne fan? Well, better set aside a pretty penny for the Veuve. Not a big drinker but want filet mignon? Then a good chunk should go to catering. Once you know the range you want to stay within, and what you care about, you can see what’s left over for non-essentials. When making your budget, make sure to include things like linens, forks and knives, chair rentals, sound equipment, glassware, and even breakage! These little items can really add up.
- Alongside your budget, determine the number of guests you can invite, THEN make a guestlist. So many people start with the guestlist first and then realize they don’t have the money to feed and water all the people they want to invite! We recommend working your way back from budget. First determine your numbers, then start taking names.
- Don’t forget the food/bar. Sometimes we tend to get caught up with how an event looks and lose track of how it feels. Long lines at the bar and empty glasses are going to disappoint more people than a few missing floral arrangements. Trust us when we tell you that making sure your guests have somewhere to sit, something to eat, and something to sip goes a long, long way to building lasting memories.
- Professional service staff: from serving the BBQ buffet, to clearing the tables between courses, to pouring those extra dirty martinis, to cleaning up empties after the event is done – you want to ensure that you hire people so that you can enjoy your own party! There’s nothing worse than having to jump behind the bar (or go get ice) just when you’re about to enjoy a crispy glass of white wine.
- Take care of the legal stuff – do you need an event permit? Do you know the noise bylaws in your neigbourhood? Are your bartenders/servers Serving It Right and Foodsafe certified? Do you need a liquor license? All of these are very not fun tidbits but need to be taken care of because you don’t need the RCMP shutting down your party halfway through dinner. *As a special note, may we suggest telling all the neighbours as far in advance as you can… asking and being polite goes a long way to establishing neighbourly cooperation*
- Thinking about décor? Start with the overarching theme and then work your way back. Often people will just pick and choose pieces they like and end up with a look that isn’t cohesive or doesn’t match. Pinterest is a great place to start.
- Speaking of themes, we recommend sending invites, asking for RSVPs and communicating the theme to your guests. Remember when Bridget Jones showed up in a playboy bunny outfit for an Easter brunch? Communicating your event details (including where to park, what time to show up, what to wear, and whether there will be food provided) helps your guests feel more comfortable when they arrive.
- Lastly, if you’re overwhelmed, over-budget, and in over your head – hire the pros. An event planner may seem like an investment but they’ll help you save time and money in the long run. From local florists to bakers to caterers to bar services – planners can take the big ticket items off your plate and allocate them to trusted and respected vendors in the city.
Got questions? We’ve got answers for everything events! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with your next event.