This week, we wanted to treat our readers to a guest blog from out favorite event planner, Mila Gates. Mila has planned large conferences, fundraisers, concerts, weddings, birthdays, reunions and more!
I was asked recently, "what is the biggest pitfall people make when planning their own event?" That's an enormous question.
Of course, because I'm in the business of planning, I have to say "Not hiring me!" Now that we've covered that, here's some things to help you next time you're considering putting together a party:
Date. This may sound easy, but quite a few people will pick a date and send out invitations only to realize it's also Easter weekend. Or cousin Jimmy's graduation. Take a little extra time to call the key guests and make sure you're not overlapping with something that will force guests to choose. However, also realize that we live in a very busy society, so making sure everyone can go is quite impossible.
Food Allergies and Intolerance. Again, we live in a hypersensitive world these days, and it's difficult to accommodate everyone. As the host, you are not expected to provide all-allergen-free meals to your guests. It is considerate to make sure everyone can eat at least something there. Maybe put the cheese on the side instead of on top, or buy peanut-free cookies so that your nephew can have a little treat.
Seating. If you want your guests to be up and mingling, only provide chairs for half the guests. It makes people not want to park in one spot very long. Consider more space for standing with food and drinks, and your guests will mill around.
Decorations. Keep them subtle. Large, towering flower arrangements are beautiful and stunning, but usually end up splitting the area so guests can't talk. More often than not, I find tall arrangements on the floor when guests got sick of leaning around it.
Ambiance. Turn your heat down a few degrees before guests arrive. All those bodies and their movement will warm up the space, and nobody will overheat. If your lights are on dimmers, start the party with bright lighting and slowly dim as the evening progresses. It will create a more intimate feeling and people will relax as the end of the party arrives.
Outfits. Wear something you can wear all night without fiddling or adjusting. The movement calls attention to how uncomfortable you are, and will likely make other guests fidget as well. Pick something you feel confident in, that will move with you through the night. Sometimes that means going up a size (I know) to make it comfortable.
There are so many more tips I can share! This could probably be a workshop just on throwing your own event. But, hopefully these tips help you during your big party. And when you decide that there's too much to think about, give Belle du Jour Events a holler.