If you are throwing a major bash but have no time to plan, it is easy to become bogged down and overwhelmed. Yet any special event, even a formal wedding, can be accomplished in less than two weeks. The key is to clear the clutter and focus on what truly matters. Follow this 10 step process for a last-minute party that your guests will talk about for years to come.
1. Keep it simple
You probably won’t get a hand-carved ice sculpture, a custom gown, or individually stuffed favours for 200 guests in two weeks. But those really aren’t the things that make a party special. Streamline your expectations by deciding on three or four elements that are particularly meaningful to you, and focus on making those the best they can possibly be. Remember, it is better to do one thing well than hundreds of things poorly.
2. Set the biggies
The budget, date, venue, theme, and guest list will drive the rest of your decisions. As soon as you decide to have the party, sit down and finalise those items right away. Resist the urge to waffle on these decisions, instead letting your gut instincts and last-minute availability be your guides.
3. Send out invitations
Two weeks is not a lot of notice for party guests, so try not to be offended if some people cannot attend. Send out your invites as soon as possible by whatever method your circle of friends and family finds most expedient. If you need a final head count, though, don’t depend on social media. Many people don’t find it necessary to RSVP to a social media invitation, which can throw off your guest count completely.
4. Make spreadsheets and lists
You will likely be in a frenzy for the entire two weeks, so trying to keep everything in your head could be disastrous. Use your computer to manage the details. Search online for a template that relates to the style of event that you have in mind, and then customise it to fit your needs. Refer to your documents frequently, and be sure to mark tasks complete as you finish them.
5. Hire professionals
Even if you are a gourmet cook and a refined decorator, coordinating a large event by yourself is challenging no matter how much time you have, and nearly impossible at the last minute. If your budget allows, hire a caterer, wait staff, parking attendants, and other service professionals in addition to entertainers, photographers, and other talent. If your budget is more limited, consider a buffet or a potluck rather than a full meal, and ask friends or relatives to help out.
6. Set the menu
You probably won’t have enough time to experiment with new recipes and wine pairings, so turn to tried and true dishes that your family and friends enjoy. Streamline the menu as much as possible, and be sure you have adequate kitchen facilities.
7. Hire furnishings
If you choose an outdoor venue, hire a marquee as soon as possible to ensure protection from the elements and provide a blank canvas for decorating. Consider seating, flooring, staging, glassware, dishes, tablecloths, and any other equipment you will need. Choose pieces that fit your theme, but try to keep an open mind. Some items may be unavailable at the last minute, requiring you to make creative substitutions.
8. Attend to details
Seating charts, band setlists, equipment storage, and many other small details can play a huge role in the success of your party. Once the major factors are in place, take time out to list the smaller details and make a plan for accomplishing them. Be sure to check with your vendors and service professionals to find out what they expect you to provide.
9. Have a last minute run-through
The day before the event, walk through the progression of activities as much as possible. At the very least, walk your guests’ arrival route, stand where the band will play, test out games or other activities, walk the buffet line…in short, move around as both your guests and service professionals will. Make sure walkways are wide enough, sight lines are clear, and pedestrian traffic congestion is minimized.
10. Let it go
After your run-through, take a deep breath. You have done everything you can to ensure that your party will be a success. Let go of the stress and get a proper night’s sleep. Designate someone else to be the main point of contact on the day of the event, and turn your attention to enjoying yourself. If anything goes wrong or does not live up to your dreams, let it go. Odds are, your guests didn’t notice. If they did, it will be something to laugh about later. Either way, living in the moment is highly preferable to spending the day in a panic over things you can’t control.
At Betta Party Hire, we are here to help. If you desire personalised assistance, please phone us on 1300 472 793. No matter how large or small your event, we will be delighted to share our knowledge and recommendations for trusted professionals who can help you ensure that each aspect of your special event is perfect.