Whether you want to learn party planning for your own personal use or to make it a career, there are several ways to go about it. Every party is different, and there are lots of factors to consider to make it a success. Once you learn the basics and add a lot of creativity and energy, you'll be able to throw the perfect party, from a child's birthday celebration to a formal wedding reception! Add in a little business sense and you'll be on your way to a really fun and satisfying career.
Before you buy your first party decoration, you'll need to do a lot of planning on paper. Lists will become your best friend! Here are some guidelines to start the planning on the right foot.
- Theme - Consider the reason for the party, and choose a corresponding theme. Some are simple; a Super Bowl party will have a general football theme or a specific team in mind. Sometimes you'll have to use a bit of imagination to find the perfect theme. Choose the main colors you'll be using for the decorations once the theme is decided.
- Budget - Before you start pricing individual items or services, decide what your budget for the entire party will be. Then you'll be able to figure out how much money to assign to each of the different aspects of the planning.
- Number of Guests - Several factors will come into consideration when deciding on how many guests to invite. Budget, space, location, and the type of party you're having will all influence the final head count. You'll also need to know how many people will be in attendance you can plan things like seating, amount of food and drink you'll need, and parking.
- Location - Will the party be indoors or outside? Will it be in someone's home or a rental hall? Is the location family-oriented and casual, or more formal? How many people will the place comfortably hold?
- Food - This is a big one, because food is often the star of a good party. Decide on what courses you'll be offering. Is it appetizers and drinks only, or are you serving a full-course meal complete with dessert? Then decide what type of food you want. If there's a specific style of food that fits with your theme, you're one step ahead of the game here. Next, figure out if you'll be making the food yourself or hiring a caterer to provide the meal.
- Drinks - Will you be serving alcohol at the party? If the answer is yes, always have non-alcoholic options available for non-drinkers and designated drivers. Also decide if you'll have an open or cash bar. Find out if the venue has a license to serve alcohol, or if this is something you'll need to obtain yourself for the function.
- Decor - Party supply stores are bursting at the seams with different types of decorations, but you don't have to be limited by these. Try fabric stores, florists, craft stores, hardware stores, thrift shops, and garden outlets for inspiration and ideas. Decide ahead of time if you want the look to be sleek and stylish, child-friendly, fun and kitschy, or anything in between.
- Invitations - For most parties you'll want to send out paper invitations. Make a list of all invited guests and include their addresses for easy addressing later. The invitations themselves should include the date and time of the party, the location, your name and telephone number, an RSVP-by date, and the reason for the celebration. Also include any dress code restrictions, if applicable. It's nice to add a map to the party venue as well.
To learn more about party planning and to get advice on studying it as a career option, check out your local library, college or university career planning department, or look online for advice and suggestions. Remember that, to make this into a career, you'll also have to study and learn the business end of party planning.