Essential Tips for Planning the Space for Your Big Party
Nobody wants to be responsible for planning a boring party that family members, friends, or coworkers are forced to attend. Living down the embarrassment of a poorly-planned party can take a significant amount of time and effort, which is why it’s essential to make sure that you follow the right steps to make your party a success the first time around.
Guests should enjoy their time at your event, reveling in the details of everything from the catering to the music selection. At the end of the evening, you want to be able to bask in the glory of a job well done while you enjoy the accolades of your peers. In order to reach this pinnacle of success, you need to begin planning early for how your event is going to run.
Many people think they need the assistance of a professional party planner in order to bring together all of the pieces necessary for a successful event. The truth is that pulling off a stunning party is relatively simple when you know how to prioritize the things that are important. Understand the flow of an event to give your guests an unforgettable experience.
Fool all of the guests at your next event into thinking that you enlisted the help of a professional to plan out an enjoyable evening. Follow these essential tips for creating a well-rounded and beautiful get-together that your friends and family aren’t going to be soon to forget.
Figure out the main event
Surely there is one major reason why you’ve decided to host this get-together in the first place. Maybe you’re celebrating a birthday or an accomplishment. Perhaps you’re working hard to pull off an event to honor someone or to give a seminar for your coworkers. Planning an event works best when you can first figure out what the main event is scheduled to be.
Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, the main event may be easily identifiable. It may be an awards ceremony, class, or speech that should gather all of your guests’ attention at once.
Other types of events and occasions may be a little less clear on the main event. For example, a birthday party for an adult or older teen may not have a specific focus that makes your party planning easier. In these situations, you should hone in on what the primary attraction of the party is scheduled to be instead.
You may prefer for the focus of the evening to be on enjoying good music and dancing or sophisticated mingling while partaking in food tastings. Prioritize what you want your guests to experience or gain from the party so you can emphasize some aspects more than others. After all, you likely won’t be able to spend equal amounts of time or money across multiple areas.
Once you’ve listed what the main event and focus of the evening is going to be, you can start to consider the side events that you will have. These may include giveaways such as raffles, photo booth rental, time for speeches, and other side attractions that are still important to the integrity of your gathering.
Keep in mind that these side attractions may not need to be related to the primary purpose of your function. They can exist simply to enhance the overall experience that your guests will have at the party or to commemorate the event.
When all of the events and priorities are listed out on paper, you can begin to organize them in sequential order. What will you do first and how will the overall time of your party be structured? Decide what guests need to experience first when they walk into your party and plan all other activities around these events.
Listing all of the times and activities out on paper can help you to keep your thoughts clear and prevent your party from going awry. You’ll see spaces where guests may begin to feel the first twinges of boredom or where they may be unclear on direction. Party planners may also begin to recognize that the order they thought made the most sense is actually lacking a few clear steps in between.
This is a tangible way to make sure that you cover all of the events of the evening and give your guests an opportunity to experience everything you’re providing.
Of course, planning out the times and events of your party also allows you to begin delegating some of the responsibilities to others. Like any good professional party planner, you may enlist the help of trusted family members or friends to help you pull off the party of the century. A detailed guideline helps you to see where you need additional help and what you will actually need them to do for you during this time.
Work on a mental walkthrough
Have you actually envisioned walking through your own party yet? This is an essential step to making sure that the room itself is laid out the way that you’ve envisioned it in your mind’s eye. Picture everything from walking in the door for the first time all the way to finding your seat at a designated table.
Party planners naturally have a knack for imagining how a room should be set up to have the maximum impact.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares this same ability to rearrange tables, food bars, activity stations, and dance floors using nothing but mental gymnastics. Not only is it difficult to picture in your mind, but it becomes even more of a challenge to share that vision with someone else. Consider how you want the room to be arranged but make a plan to commit that vision to paper.
If your math skills and artistic abilities are seriously lacking, you can make good use of online software to help plot and plan the layout of your party. There are free programs available on the internet to give you the ability to customize the size of your space, scatter in multiple table sizes, and even account for the correct number of chairs.
One of these programs, available at LinenTablecloth.com, makes it simple to arrange, rearrange, share, and print your ideas for the layout of your party. You can even view sample layouts to begin gathering ideas for your own.
Popular physical layouts are relatively easy to come up with, depending on whether you are planning a casual or more formal event.
The physical layout of your event is where the planning of your main activities comes into play for the first time. Is there a specific portion of your party where you will have a presentation or something that guests will be required to pay attention to? If speeches are involved or a lecture is being given, you need to arrange tables and chairs in a way that guests can see the stage.
Consider arranging circular tables in the center of the room with the chairs only on one half of the table. You will lose seating opportunities this way, but your guests won’t have to turn their chairs in order to focus on the speaker. Perhaps worse than causing your guests discomfort would be allowing your speaker to present to the back of your guests’ heads.
You may arrange rectangular tables around the perimeter of the room, leaving space for mingling and dancing in the center. When it’s time for the presentation, everyone can take their seats and comfortably view the primary event.
Alternatively, you may choose to line up rectangular tables in rows with each guest facing forward. A significantly more formal arrangement, this ensures that everyone is focused more on the presentation or ceremony ahead than on socializing. If the main event is meant to be educational in nature or very prestigious, this could be a great option for your event if you have lots of guests planning to attend.
Do you only have twenty to thirty people scheduled to join your event? If there’s a presentation to give for a smaller crowd, you may consider setting up one long banquet table with room for the speaker at the head. This arrangement gives your attendees the opportunity to converse with another and network while still setting them up successfully to hear your scheduled speaker.
Perhaps the most common type of physical layout for a party is what is common to most modern wedding receptions. The focus of these parties is typically on social mingling and dancing, which means that formal seating isn’t as much of a pressing issue. These parties are the most flexible and the easiest for a planner to throw together.
Casual parties can make good use of circle tables throughout the space, being certain to leave room for a dance floor if music will be available. Food and beverages should be available at one end of the room, with any places of honor located near this area. This especially applies in settings such as weddings where the bride and groom would take a seat at a special table reserved just for them.
If you plan to have a more laid-back style to your gathering, chances are that most of your food will be finger foods or appetizers. Not all guests will sit to eat at the same time, if they even have to sit down at all. Tall bar-style tables can allow guests to eat comfortably without the need to rent and arrange extra chairs and tables.
This makes it easy to have smaller activities and stations set up around the perimeter of the room. Mingling guests won’t interfere with the activities going on near the outskirts of the party so guests can truly focus on these experiences. However, they will still be prominent enough to attract plenty of attention and allow them to make good use of the space you provided.
Is your event going to be more on the formal side of things? Consider whether or not you plan to serve a full meal at your next party. When guests are required to have a seat to eat at a particular time, there will need to be a seat for each guest.
You may still opt for the circular tables that are increasingly popular for casual events, but there will need to be one chair available for every guest. To ensure that no empty spots remain at a table, consider seating arrangements for the guests with professionally designed markers or place cards to indicate who is seated where.
This arrangement also makes it simpler for servers to help deliver guests’ meals that they may have ordered in advance.
Round tables may feel more casual than you’re aiming for, so they can easily be substituted for longer rectangular banquet tables. This is a far more traditional and proper method of decorating for your gathering. However, both options can certainly be dressed up for a more formal feel.
Catering Options Related to Layout
You may have noticed that the catering at your party is a definite indicator for how the event will need to be laid out and structured. Gone are the days when every major social function featured a three-course meal, ordered in advance when guests were able to select chicken or beef.
With a plethora of food allergies, sensitivities, and strong preferences, party planners have an increasingly difficult time setting up catering for a crowd. What kinds of catering options are really available for your next major celebration?
Many party planners love the idea of a more casual function that allows guests to pick and choose what they want on their plate. This can make laying out your party significantly simpler. However, you should still take time to think through the many options available for dining: a buffet, pre-packaged lunch or dinner boxes, or a large spread of tasty appetizers.
A single buffet could carry all of the contents of the more traditional three-course meal served at formal events while still granting guests freedom to choose sides and amounts. It takes up less space and allows guests to eat when it is convenient for them. However, you will still want to have a chair and space for each individual you invite to a buffet-style party.
Even though guests are able to freely mosey their way to the buffet whenever it suits them, most individuals will make a beeline for food the moment the covers are removed. You will need to plan space for a long line, music and entertainment for the wait, and have extra seating available.
Prepackaged meals, for lunch or dinner, can be a way of moving that line along a little faster. Each box may contain the same basic items with the ability to snatch sides and treats in proportioned to-go cups along the way.
Guests may also appreciate a little variety in their boxes, so plan to offer two to three varieties of these prepackaged options. If each box contains a gourmet deli sandwich, be sure to have chicken, turkey, and ham available for guests to select. Alternatively, you could serve each sandwich on a different type of bread if your crowd has lots of gluten-free eaters.
Offering a variety, even with prepackaged meals, helps to prevent issues with dietary restrictions or allergies.
When it comes to layout, a prepackaged meal will still require you to have a seat for each person. This is a faster way to move people through the line, ensuring that you won’t need as much space for linear mingling.
It may be a good idea to keep the buffet at the head of the room, opposite a stage, in order to prevent ruining the decorations for any major speaking engagement or ceremony.
When you think of appetizers being served at a party, do you envision wait staff with silver trays mingling around the room? Guests no longer have to hurry to claim their fancy crackers and cheese spreads before the waiter walks away. Party planners are giving them more freedom to try new things and grab what appeals to them from a buffet line.
Hors d’oeuvres can also comprise a meal when served with a large enough spread and with hearty variety. Cocktail sausages and meatballs can be very satisfying when plentifully available. Guests can munch until their stomachs are full with trays full of pinwheels, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and crackers, and crab puffs.
Serving a spread of appetizers (both hot and cold) is another way to satisfy a crowd full of picky eaters. The variety ensures that there is bound to be something edible and desirable to each individual on the menu.
This type of serving doesn’t necessarily mean that each guest needs their own seat. If you’re short on space, appetizers can easily be consumed standing up. Casual events can benefit from this type of meal because it allows for the ultimate amount of social interaction among guests.
The major bonus is that lines are usually relatively short for a table filled with appetizers, which makes for an easier layout and happier guests.
Plan to serve an entire banquet table or two full of appetizers. These may be arranged off to one side of your event so that guests can see them easily. When positioned on the fringes, it ensures that your catering doesn’t become the main focus of your event.
Modern weddings have even instituted a variety of “stations” into their catering so guests can choose what they’re in the mood for. A table to the left may house all of the taco fixings a Mexican-lover could ever desire while the tables to the right hold sub sandwiches and popcorn chicken. This is the easiest way to offer a palette of food that’s sure to please everyone in the party.
Party planners are tempted by this creative solution to all of the dietary woes their guests represent. It also allows guests to receive their meals faster, which can speed up the overall pace of your event.
However, you should be aware that this tactic takes up the ultimate amount of space. Each tiny station will require its own area, table, and staff to handle portioning out the meals correctly. Only utilize this method if you know that there is plenty of space available at your venue. Each guest will also need their own chair because they will likely all consume their meals at the same time.
Additionally, it’s difficult to plan for how many people will want each type of food. You may have to order more than is necessary to ensure that you don’t run out if tacos end up being more popular than sub sandwiches.
Of course, you can always opt to go with the standard plated meals that have been a staple of elegant party planning for decades. Modern chefs can concoct an entirely original menu of appetizers, salads, main courses, and desserts. Even within the bounds of what a chef can offer to a crowd, the host or hostess does have a lot of room for creativity.
Does your event lend itself well to new and exotic foods? Foodies will love the possibility of playful pairings with locally-sourced items, hand prepared the day of the event. You can serve homemade pickled vegetables, free-range beef burgers with unique toppings, and an artisan cheesecake for dessert.
Traditional party planners may find the idea of unique foods too overwhelming and opt for the average baked chicken and salmon with steamed vegetables and rice. You should ultimately allow your guest list to determine the type of catering you select for a plated meal.
The layout of your room becomes even more crucial with a formal event that features a plated meal. Guests will need to each have their own chair and space at a table. Servers will need enough room to expertly maneuver around tables with platters and beverages.
Don’t forget that you will want to opt for more comfortable chairs for a plated meal. While a buffet-style meal may only require an hour to feed a crowd, a plated meal can take closer to two hours. It’s a more time-consuming commitment, but it does allow the food to shine at your event.
The space available in your venue and the time length of the event will ultimately help to guide your decision making for the catering. Some options are only available for party planners who have extremely large venues and longer events. Others are easily tailored for a shorter event with a much smaller place.
If you’re still stuck deciding which option is right for your party, take a detailed look at your guest list. Ask yourself questions such as:
- What is the average ethnic profile for your guests?
- Are most of your attendees very health-conscious?
- What is the age range of the typical guest?
- Are there many children attending your event?
- How many people on your guest list have well-known allergies or food sensitivities in common?
- Are your guests more traditional and formal or do they err on the side of casual and adventurous?
Knowing where your attendees are coming from and their lifestyle choices can help you to make an informed decision regarding what should be served at your party. A guest list filled with health-conscious individuals may need some vegan options or may be more focused on lighter portions.
Younger guests or those with significantly varied ethnic profiles may prefer more adventurous foods. Spicy options or those with unique ingredients have the potential to be real crowd pleasers, but make sure that you know your guests well enough to know what will appeal. This can be a risky catering move that pays large dividends if done properly.
Having children attend the event can make it instantly more casual. That doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice high-quality foods though. You may want to plan to serve a separate menu for the children or have a buffet table specifically for the twelve and under crowd. This can help to make parents’ lives easier and give you more flexibility in what you serve to the adult guests.
If you know that there are many food allergies represented by your list of guests, make some “allergy-friendly” items available. These can include fruits and vegetables, soy-free and gluten-free items, or peanut-free selections.
The easiest way to know what guests are allergic to or intolerant of is to ask. Send a brief questionnaire on food sensitivities out with your RSVP cards for the best representation of what you will need to serve.
At the end of the day, not even the best party planner could completely satisfy every single invited guest. Taking the time to consider the needs of your guests makes you a thoughtful planner, which can go a long way towards satisfying picky guests.
Photo Booth Options
Did the party really happen if there’s no lasting evidence that you were there? The best way to keep your event at the forefront of everyone’s minds through the seasons to come is to leave them with a memento.
Everyone loves to have a completely unique photo of themselves and their friends to stash around their home. It may not make it into your living room photo collage, but it could find its way to your computer or taped to your refrigerator. Photos are a long-held pastime that keep us anchored and allow us to reflect on our memories of a specific day or moment.
A photo booth gives you and your guests a creative way to make their own memories at your party.
What’s so great about a photo booth?
First of all, they’re relatively easy to incorporate into the layout or sequencing of your event. They take up very little space but offer a fun attraction to fill some time with laughter and play. They fit seamlessly around the fringes of your party without being overly intrusive.
Second, a photo booth can be easily customized to the theme of your event. Do you need retro glasses and boa scarves added into the mix? A vintage-themed party can have completely separate props and backgrounds than an eclectically modern soiree. With some companies, you may even be able to customize the backdrops or the booth itself.
Lastly, a photo booth gives you a relatively inexpensive way to offer customizable party favors to your guest. The days of assembling tiny gift bags with chocolates, engraved glass trinkets, or other costly mementos from the day are long gone. A photo booth requires little to no effort on your part, but guests can still leave with something in hand to remind them of their revelry.
Choosing the right company for your photo booth can make a huge difference in the quality and satisfaction of your guests. Many different styles of booths are available, so consider the overall needs of your attendees. Some of these questions may help you to make a better decision on the kind of booth you need:
- How many people do you plan to have in attendance?
- Will you have many children at your event?
- How many pictures do you estimate people will want to take?
- Will your guests want online access to their snapshots?
If you have a large crowd, the chances are high that your guests may want to take pictures with more than just one or two people each. You may want to steer away from the traditional photo booths that cover their occupants with a pulled curtain. These photo booths aren’t large enough to accommodate many people at one time.
You may want to investigate an open-air booth like those offered from Inside Out Booth. The format allows for some massive group shots that can include up to twenty people at one time. Take creative shots with motion. Jump around and have fun. The extra space makes all sorts of fun snapshots a possibility.
Similarly, if you have lots of children coming to your event, having an open photo booth may be the better option. Children can be mischievous from time to time, so allowing them to close themselves into a box without supervision is a scary idea. What kinds of pictures are they taking or what buttons are their sticky fingers pressing over and over again?
Especially if you are liable for damages to the photo booth at the end of the evening, you want to keep the kids where you can see them.
An open photo booth layout allows kids to take part in the play without anyone worrying over their whereabouts. Parents and other responsible adults can help keep an eye on the little ones while they take their own pictures with friends or family.
Both children and adults love to have a good time and to take pictures. In the digital age of selfies, it’s become commonplace to take multiple pictures at one time to ensure the very best angle. How many pictures do you estimate that each guest will want to take? Are they going to want each picture printed?
Another benefit to services like Inside Out Booth is their ability to create an online gallery of every picture taken. Pictures are immediately uploaded to a gallery that is simple to share to social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Are you feeling concerned about how wild some of those pictures are? Don’t worry about the gallery falling into the hands of your boss anytime soon. Many companies also offer a way to keep your images private by installing password protection for your pictures. Your guests can shed their inhibitions knowing that the images will only be seen by the other guests at the party.
Of course, the best part of a photo booth is the ability to take something home with you. Look for companies that offer both automatic printing and an online gallery. This allows you to leave your guests with a tangible reminder of the fun they had to hang in their home as well as granting them social media access to their pictures.
Many photo booths will offer multiple sizes for each shot. Will guests want a more traditional 4×6 photo that fits in a frame? Do they prefer the 2×6 strip with multiple pictures that’s reminiscent of standard photo booths? Companies may offer more than one option for picky people to customize what size they would like their pictures to be.
Look for technological advancements that allow you to make changes to the picture before it prints. You should be able to select your own template, add or change words, and play with the typography before settling on a final print.
You should also consider whether or not the photo booth allows you to print in color or in black and white only. A monochrome picture can be a fun throwback to the original photo booths, but many prefer to emphasize the bright colors of props and outfits with full-color pictures. Ask questions about what a photo booth is able to offer when it comes to photo editing and printing capabilities.
A photo booth isn’t the place where you want to skimp on quality.
It’s worth paying a higher premium to get good quality pictures from a high-resolution camera. Your guests won’t be as thrilled with shots that look grainy or don’t capture the details of their silly props and gestures. Would you really want to display a low-quality picture in your home or office?
Compare the details of the cameras available on each photo booth before making a decision. They need to have a high megapixel count in order to create clarity in the pictures.
Studio lighting also plays a big role in creating flattering images of each guest. A bright flash can reflect off faces in an unflattering way, but studio lighting is set up to always make you look your best. Bring out the best of your features with the bright lights that some professional photo booths can bring straight to your event.
With these details in place, your guests are more likely to take flattering pictures that they will want to see and remember on a regular basis.
Photo booths are a great addition to your event because they’re a cost-effective way to add plenty of fun. Guests will be talking about the hilarious snapshots they took throughout the evening, increasing their mingling and their laughter. It’s a great way to break the ice if you invited guests who don’t know each other well or planned an event with the primary purpose of allowing attendees to network.
The best part is that they cost less than other forms of entertainment. You may find photo booths at a price lower than the live band or string quartet you needed to hire. Guests won’t feel slighted at having a photo booth over other forms of entertainment.
Pricing will vary pretty wildly on photo booths depending on what they can offer. The various types of equipment that you will need, quality of the images, access to online galleries, and number of prints will all play a role in your final bill.
Take another look at your initial schedule to see how long you would need a photo booth rental. Is the mingling portion of your party only for an hour? Talk with a potential photo booth company about what they would charge for the time you need the equipment. Don’t forget to ask whether or not they include set up time in their fees. There are a few options of photo booth rental companies in New Jersey area.
Entertain Guests with Minimal Space
Are you searching for creative ways to capitalize on the little bit of space you have at your venue? Party planners often become anxious thinking about all of the free time that guests will have at an event. They want to ensure that people have a great time instead of standing around, wondering how early they can possibly slip out the door without being noticed.
If you’re low on space, it can be tricky to find creative solutions to your entertainment problem.
Out of the box solutions can allow you to make the most of what little bit of standing room is available at an event. Help guests to break the ice with one another, learn a new skill, or make new lifelong friends by implementing one of these original solutions.
Get creative with the music.
You may not have a stage or the budget to hire a live rock band. The venue may not even allow music to be played at that decibel late into the evening hours. Don’t fret if you can’t get a live guitar player to shred to your favorite tunes from the stage. There are still plenty of options to help you get people moving, dancing, and singing along to your compilation of tunes.
Do you have an eclectic collection of music that you favor? Maybe your trained ear can identify every rock song from the 80’s, the current pop hits, and the twangy sound of old school country. Take a seat at your computer in the weeks leading up to the party and compile a playlist of all your favorites.
It’s true that not many guests at the party will know every song when the mix spans so many genres and time periods. However, it’s a great way to ensure that every guest hears at least a few songs that they know and love.
Knowing the music that’s pumping through the stereo is the best incentive to get people up and moving on your dance floor.
The other benefit to creating your own playlist is that you may be able to save money on a DJ. A friend or family member should be able to help you run the rented sound equipment if your computer or mp3 player can plug right in.
If your guests are more outgoing, you may find success with a karaoke hour. Rent a machine that gives your guests access to their five minutes of fame with classic songs that everyone knows. Let them choose whether they’re going to belt out a country tune or croon to the power ballads.
Not every guest will have the voice of an angel, but that’s okay. Most already know that they can’t carry a tune and continue to put themselves out there for a few chuckles. It may take some time to get the crowd going on a karaoke machine, but don’t underestimate the power of an incentive.
Allow the crowd to judge each performer, giving out prizes for the best and worst rendition of your favorite songs. Prizes could be vouchers for a massage, gift cards to a favorite restaurant, or a chilled bottle of wine. Your guests will get way more competitive with the karaoke if they know there’s something at stake for them!
Teach guests a new skill.
How many times have you been to a wedding only to feel left out when you didn’t know the moves to a popular dance? You may have been attending the wedding circuit for years but still not fully understand how to do the electric slide.
What if you could help guests to leave with a brand-new skill in their repertoire?
Consider hiring a professional to come in and teach guests a new dance move. This allows you to make the most of your dance floor space and encourages guests to get up and moving. They’re far more inclined to leave their seats when someone is guiding and walking them through a new skill.
Depending on the tone of your event, you may introduce a basic ballroom dance such as the waltz, country line dancing, or old-time favorites that a younger generation may not know like the electric slide.
The teacher won’t need to spend much time at your event, with most lessons clocking in at fifteen minutes or less. Try not to select a dance that requires much more time than that, as guests can lose interest quickly with a complicated set of instructions.
If it only takes fifteen minutes to learn, that means that your attendees will have plenty of time to practice the rest of the evening. Not only will they remember your event each time they practice the dance in the future, but they will also have a blast actually getting out onto the dance floor.
This is a great solution for party planners who know many of their guests are timid in nature. It gives structure to the dance floor that can encourage them to let loose, even for just a few moments.
Don’t be afraid to play a few games.
For most people, playing games was a real highlight of their childhood birthday parties. Ranking right below the cake and presents, games were a fun way to indulge in a little competitive fun about who could pin the tail on the donkey best. Why did this pastime seem to fade away as we entered into adulthood?
You can make the most of your space by orchestrating a selection of games to keep guests involved.
Think about activities that don’t require much more than standing space. What about picture-drawing games based on clues provided by the speaker? Could you play a guessing game like two truths and a lie about your presenter, the bride and groom, or the guest of honor? Would a friendly competition about which married couple knows their spouse best go over well with your crowd?
None of these activities require any space at all, making them perfect for even the tightest venue. A stage can be a great addition to help everyone see participants a little more clearly, but it isn’t even necessary to get started.
Games are a great way to keep kids entertained also. Host child-friendly versions of the games to allow the little ones to compete amongst themselves. Adults don’t need to be the only ones having fun at your soiree.
Children can play traditional games like guessing how many jelly beans are in a jar, pinning the tail on the donkey, or bobbing for apples. If you have enough space and can keep the chaos contained, a piñata is always a hit among kids. After all, who doesn’t love hitting a colorful animal until candy bursts out? You may even have to keep the adults reined in during this segment of the party!
Don’t forget that the best part of playing games isn’t just being able to tell people that you won. People want to see prizes that acknowledge their prowess at Pictionary.
Low-budget parties can purchase trinket trophies that are personalized to reflect the goofy nature of the games. Party planners who have a more lavish budget may invest in nicer prizes like gift cards, high-end items, small electronics, or gift baskets. Guests can go home with something in hand to remind themselves of the fun time they had at your event.
Guests are never too old for a little magic.
Did you think that you outgrew the appeal of a magic show after your tenth birthday? You may want to think again for an entertainment option that allows you to amaze your guests on very little space.
One of the major draws of a magician is the universal appeal to all ages. Whether your guests are grandparents or grandchildren, everyone loves the intrigue of an illusion. You won’t be able to take your eyes off of a man who flips a deck of cards around or is capable of the more complicated illusions. When’s the last time you saw someone pull a rabbit out of a hat?
Children will delight in the merriment, which gives their parents a break to sit back and relax.
A good magician is also excellent at working the crowd and engaging every member of the party. They may ask for plenty of volunteers, ask engaging questions, or spread out their magic tricks throughout your venue.
If you want to leave your guests wondering and talking about your party, magic is a surefire way to keep the conversation flowing.
It requires very little space to allow a magician in to work their magic. In fact, it requires virtually no space at all. If they have no props other than a deck of cards or a few small items, they likely won’t need more than a tiny card table on which to set up their routine.
Perhaps a hypnotist would be a bigger crowd pleaser than a magician.
Especially if this is a corporate event, reading minds and persuading managers to do things they may not do ordinarily can be great for building company morale. Let them play the part of being under the control of a silly hypnotist who can make them do the chicken dance, bark like a dog, or jump on command. Make sure that your bosses are good sports from some laughs.
This is also a great idea for weddings, birthday parties, and even award ceremonies.
Guests of honor can be placed under the control of a hypnotist to share their secrets about how they accomplished something or just to do something silly and out of character. A bride and groom may be conditioned to kiss when they hear a bizarre noise. The possibilities are almost endless for a good hypnotist who is skilled at getting a few laughs from a crowd.
Consider planning for the magician to come towards the beginning of your event. It’s a great way to get the crowd amped up for the rest of the evening and serves as a conversation starter for mingling and networking. It’s a fabulous tool if you’ve invited many people who haven’t met yet or may not have many things in common.
Planning Simple and Elegant Decorations
You’ve hired the caterers, the entertainment, and the photo booth. Now it’s time to focus on how your event is going to look when guests arrive. Everyone wants to be wowed when they enter a party for the very first time, so how will you choose to decorate your space?
In the world of Pinterest and Instagram that show infinite possibilities for making your space beautiful, it’s not a surprise that decorating can be overwhelming. It’s tempting to hire a party planner specifically to set up the space for your party. Hiring professionals feels like nothing at all in comparison to the burden of coming up with centerpieces, organizing the food and beverages, and making your event feel lavish.
You could drive yourself crazy attempting to decorate your event with style.
Instead of trying to incorporate every possible decorating element into your event, try to stick with just a few core pieces to let your party be chic and simplified. You can follow some of these easy style tips whether you have a large venue or a small one. They’re classy for corporate events or casual get-togethers when you do them properly.
Choose a color scheme.
This is where many party planners start to be overwhelmed, right from the very beginning. Your color scheme says a lot about the party itself. Bright colors indicate lots of fun and a loud atmosphere suited to festive occasions. A more subdued color palette can indicate formality and elegance.
Where do you even begin when you need to make sure that colors coordinate with one another?
Consider choosing a monochromatic color scheme to make things easier for yourself. You can choose one color that sums up the entire event, such as the primary company color or the guest of honor’s favorite color. This makes choosing all of the other elements for your party decorations much simpler.
For example, let’s suppose that your primary color is going to be purple. Opting for various shades ranging from royal to lavender still gives you plenty of options for party decorations. White still falls within the bounds of a monochromatic color scheme, as do gray, silver, or gold. You can mix and match shades of the same color without the same attention to detail necessary when mixing and matching complementary colors.
Don’t forget that you may want color theory to play a role in which hues you select. Some colors are more likely to put your guests at ease, typically the cooler colors. Warm colors, like reds and oranges, can make guests feel like the party is intense and trigger them to subconsciously want to spend less time at your venue.
The psychology behind choosing a color could influence your decision if you’re having a difficult time choosing just one.
Opt for simpler decorations instead of elaborate arrangements.
How many elegant parties have you attended that boasted generous centerpieces at each table? Even the food buffet tables were filled with ornate decorations that screamed of attention to detail, lavish spending, and sophisticated taste.
Decorating your party these days is going towards a totally different trend – one that casual party planners should definitely be grateful for!
Guests now expect and admire a very simple and clean set of decorations that doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Ditch the idea of a major floral arrangement at the heart of every table.
Instead, choose a small and simple vase with clean lines and fill it with a single bloom or a small bunch of flowers. The vase may be clear, white, silver, or a mason jar. The overall theme of your event will ultimately dictate what sort of receptacle will work best for your floral arrangements. Place only a few blooms inside, either ones that coordinate with your primary color or delicate white flowers.
Perhaps you don’t even want to use flowers. Many decorators find that branches and other touches of the outdoors are equally classy items to include as a centerpiece for your display tables.
Don’t allow your tablecloths or plates to reflect an abundance of pattern either. Your simple taste in high-quality materials should carry over to every aspect of your decorating. Look for thick fabric tablecloths in solid colors, fine white porcelain china, and clear glasses.
You may want to add a touch of pattern to keep things interesting, but a napkin is the best place to toss it in. These are not overwhelming pieces of fabric and they are neatly tucked away, removed from the table, or left as a decorative element depending on their folding.
Keep your decorations at varying heights.
Don’t make all of your décor simply at table-height. If the only decoration you have is the centerpiece for each table and a small floral arrangement near the buffet, then you have lost the ability to decorate the entire space effectively.
Party planners recommend making the most of different heights to make a bigger visual impact without going overboard.
Consider making or purchasing a small hanging with pennant flags to go over top of the catering area. Bright and bushy pom-poms can add a splash of color near the beverage cart. Even the light fixtures could become a source of inspiration with inexpensive paper lanterns that dangle around the perimeter of the room.
This keeps you from overwhelming the tables with as many decorations and possible and gives the entire venue a more cohesive appearance.
Guests will be drawn to every aspect of your decorations when they are easy to follow, simple to spot, and creatively arranged to make the most of every square inch of space. This is especially true in venues that are much smaller in size and capacity. Adding decoration to the ceiling can expand your decorating possibilities, allowing you to add extra splashes of color throughout the space.
Arranging things by height can also apply to your food spread.
If you’re short on space, consider allowing your food to spread upward instead of outward. Tiered trays in bright whites or glittering metals can stack your appetizers or desserts taller instead of requiring additional table space for each to have its own serving tray. This can help you to trim your food spread down from two tables to just one, a great tip for saving space.
Stacking your food in one location also allows guests to see everything you have available more easily. They can select the foods they want with ease when they have the ability to see all of the options in one convenient place instead of spread out as far as the eye can see.
Simplify your drink offerings.
One of the most overwhelming visual arrangements is the endless options for beverages. Wine and liquor bottles, beer bottles, soda cans and two-liters, and punch bowls can take up a lot of space. Not to mention, their various labels, sizes, and shapes can make for a cluttered appearance that isn’t typically pleasing to the eye.
Simplify your offerings in order to make better use of your space.
Instead of offering fifteen different drinks, opt for a smaller selection of four or five served in large dispensers that are easy for guests to use without spilling. Choose some that are non-alcoholic as well to keep guests satisfied and sober, as well as to offer a selection for the children in attendance.
When it comes to serving alcoholic beverages or even punches, come up with a creative recipe or signature drink that represents the theme of your party. A playful fruit spritzer or fruit-infused tea may be a good option for a light-hearted party. A spicy cider or sangria may suit a somber or sophisticated affair better. Allow the mood of the party to dictate the direction of your signature beverages.
Not every guest will be pleased with the decreased variety of beverage choice. However, it keeps you from purchasing an abundance of each type of drink and saves on your overall budget. You can use those savings to reinvest in higher-quality ingredients to make signature drinks or enlist the help of someone to help you come up with the best concoctions.
In the end, your beverage cart will look cleaner, will make less of a mess, and will save you on overall costs.
Another tip to simplifying the beverage station is to opt for cups or glasses that stack nicely. You may keep out a small try of wine glasses for looks, but consider using glasses that are stackable. This saves on space and gives your table a little height variety.
Whenever possible, you should make an effort to use some sort of personalized glass. Disposable cups may be stationed next to colorful permanent markers for guests to write their names.
Do you have plenty of time in advance to make your own labels? You could make paper flags that rest on the edge of the disposable cups to let everyone know who the glass belongs to. If each guest has a seat, consider placing a glass with their unique flag at a table around the room. Guests will have to search for the name and glass, which gives them a good excuse to mingle with others.
The other advantage to this is that no one has an excuse not to use a labelled glass. It cuts back on the amount of waste your party produces and the amount of glasses that you will need to rent for the event.
Decorating your space for a party, no matter how much room is available in the venue, doesn’t have to be a complicated matter. You can choose simple decorations that coordinate easily with one another for an aesthetic that flows easily from table to table. A professional party planner is no longer necessary for you to create a polished and put-together party appearance.
Remember that Parties are Fun
Party planning can be a major source of stress, even for the most experienced professional. Sure, you’re creating a night that is about magic and fun, but that doesn’t mean that the work required to pull that off is easy.
Remember that your party or gathering is meant to show your guests a good time, no matter what the main event may be. You should focus on allowing yourself to have a good time and to enjoy the fruits of your labor. By planning in advance for your function, you will be able to rest easier as the major day approaches on the calendar.
Schedule your event to the best of your ability, thinking through what the main event will be, how food will be served, the types of entertainment you want to provide, and how you plan to decorate. Hire your professionals and start making the decorations so you’re ready well in advance.
A few days before the party, make sure you follow up with everyone involved in the planning. Ensure that they know what time to arrive, what their role is, and be certain that everyone is clear on the price and expectations. This can save you from last minute fretting over whether or not the caterer knows to make crab puffs instead of cocktail shrimp.
By the time the night of your event arrives, everything should be running smoothly.
Allow yourself to sit back, sip a signature beverage, and mingle with your guests. Snap a picture at the photo booth to remember the evening. Enjoy the company, the catering, and the ambience knowing that you put together a party that will be the talk of all your friends for years to come.