Let’s Get This Party Planning Started!
Whether you’re planning an event for yourself or your child, party planning for a large-scale event is a big deal. In my opinion, a good party is all about the little details. The extra special touches are what your guests will remember more than anything else. Well – maybe the food and music too.
I love planning big parties. To be fair, I also love planning small parties… and planning midsize parties. Did someone mention planning a birthday dinner, planning a class reunion, planning a wedding, planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Perhaps you mentioned planning a graduation party or planning a Sweet 16? Or maybe just planning a mom’s night out or planning a Taco Tuesday fiesta? I love planning all these fun parties. Maybe I missed my calling… Ok, so I like planning parties, any type of party.
Let’s Get To Party Planning!
When it came time to plan a big event for my daughter, I was ready to go. As with all big parties, they are very overwhelming to plan. But like all overwhelming things in life, you need to take a step back, exhale, and start somewhere to move forward. In truth, sometimes this is the hardest part.
Party Planning Series: Planning The Best Party For Any Theme And Size!
That is why I’m here – to help. Welcome to my five-part series on party planning. These posts cover everything needed to plan an awesome party – big or small – and within any budget. You can find each part of party planning broken up here:
Party Planning Part 1: Where To Begin
Party Planning Part 2: Party Vendors
Party Planning Part 3: Party Favors
Party Planning Part 4: DIY Party Décor
Party Planning Part 5: Party Dresses, Suits, Hair & Makeup
If you want to jump ahead to party planning finds, click on my Amazon store. This page is filled with party décor ideas, party favors, and even party dresses and party shoes for different themes and sizes.
Where Do You Begin?
We started our party planning journey by choosing a venue. My husband and I discussed a budget but then said it’s difficult to say what we want to spend until we see what stuff costs. We looked at our bank account and decided on a ceiling, so as long as we were under that we were good. Equally, we agreed that parties go by fast and the next morning we still have to eat and pay the mortgage… We adopted this as our mantra and it prevented us from spinning out of control. Because let me tell you – it’s very easy to spin out of control when you’re party planning.
We began our (very quick) venue search with the idea that we’d have a “kid’s party”. This meant only inviting my daughter’s friends and our immediate family. I can laugh at that now because I’m sure many people start there. To be fair, since we could remember, she said she wanted a trip instead of a party, so when we started looking for a party (obviously), we intended to do something small.
Your Party Will End Up Bigger Than Your Expect
It is so important to write out your guest list instead of just guessing. You need this list to dictate the venue size. We thought it would be just kids, family and none of our friends. However, my friEnd* gave me some great advice. She said that so many party costs were fixed, adding some close friends won’t make much difference financially but will make the party exponentially more fun for us.
Again, I laughed because what started as a trip and no party evolved to a trip and kid’s party, and then ended up a big party (but still small compared to others). Thusly, it was like planning a wedding and then planning a honeymoon right afterward. Good first-world problems, but exhausting, nonetheless.
Picking The Venue
In my opinion, the venue sets the tone for the party. We wanted something a little different and with more emphasis on fun than fancy. We had the date already and as the “one year to go” anniversary arrived I realized I needed to get my act together and find a place. It was winter, it was cold, and it was hard to motivate leaving my house to look in person so I called around for dates and pricing. With much luck, I had a dermatologist appointment near one of the venues and figured I’d pop in to look.
I saw K.Pacho and immediately fell in love. First off, if you know how much we love Mexican food this would not be a surprise. Second, if you know this is where I ate when I was in labor with my third child (does spicy food really help labor?) this would not be a surprise. So, what was a surprise? I was sold and ready to sign a contract within five minutes. The catering manager could not have been more accommodating (thus beginning a wonderful relationship) and held the date over the weekend so I could bring my daughter and husband back to check it out. Happily – and even faster than me – they fell in love and our contract was signed within the hour.
The room was much bigger than our initial needs. Thank goodness for this as our guest list ended up double the size we expected! With that said, I suggest making the guest list prior to your venue search as one always underestimates how big this list can get.
We Booked The Venue! Now What?
Once our venue was booked and we knew what the room looked like (gorgeous, club-like, tons of lighting options) and what the room needed for décor (very little), we could move to phase two – party planning.
So, what does one need to plan a party for teenage kids? Well in New York that answer is both a lot and not that much. With parties every weekend these kids get spoiled and think they all need to be identical. As adolescents, they just want to fit in and be the same as everyone else. Unfortunately, they don’t yet know that being a little different is a good thing. Furthermore, they don’t yet realize that if their party is a little different, it could mean it turns out better!
Taking this all into account we began party planning. That meant filling our future night with the best vendors we could find. Click on Part 2: Vendors for the next post.
*private joke, not a type-o