Big milestones deserve big celebrations. Yet planning a birthday can be as complicated as planning a wedding. Not only do you need to coordinate large numbers of guests, but you also need to make sure the food, events, venue, and decorations are all taken care of.
This doesn't have to be a stressful process. The better organized you are, the more smoothly things will run. Here's a step-by-step guide.
Start Planning Well in Advance
You don't want to throw a tremendously large bash for every birthday; that would be exhausting. Instead, focus on the milestone birthdays: 1, 21, 40, 50, and so forth. These milestones give you the opportunity to throw a big birthday party without depleting your bank account every year.
And with that in mind -- if you're going to splurge for your loved one on their special day, you should start budgeting for it right away. Start a bank account with some seed money and put some money away every month. This will ensure that you have the funds available when you need them and that it doesn't hurt your pocketbook too much!
Get the Right Theme
Themed birthdays make the entire process of figuring out decor and activities much easier. Everyone has something they love. A child may love Disney or Pixar films, for instance, which gives you a wide breadth of information and inspiration that you can pull from.
Themes don't need to be complicated, either. Some people just like particular colors or may have a favorite hobby. Your theme will give you ideas for every part of the birthday, and it will also make it easier for guests to think about what they want to wear and bring.
Focus on the Catering
Events and activities are great, but realistically what everyone always remembers about an event is going to be the food. People remember how creative, attractive, and -- above all -- how delicious the food was, even long after the photos have been taken and the event has been packed away.
Catering can make this much easier. Catering services can create a complete menu for your party that's creative and fun. For children, this will often include fun food they can interact with, such as an ice cream bar, or finger foods that they can easily eat without making a mess. For adults, this can include things like signature cocktails, alcoholic desserts, and decadent snack platters.
It takes a long time to prepare and plan food for any event. Getting a professional caterer will let you focus on the overall feel of the event rather than attempting to whip up a magical spread as well.
Get Your RSVPs Early
From your catered food to your activities, head count really matters. Today, it can be like pulling nails to get RSVPs. If you're trying to invite people through a social media platform, you'll often get 20 "maybe" responses and 5 "yes" responses -- and it'll ultimately lead to anywhere from 10 guests to 100.
Be very clear about your RSVPs. If you can, send them through the mail: a paper RSVP is more likely to be responded to, especially if you include a return envelope that already has a stamp. If you have to invite people through a digital medium, make sure they know that they have to RSVP by a certain date, and that only a "yes" or a "no" is acceptable.
Stagger Your Activities
A good event is going to have some activities occurring throughout, with time in between for guests to mingle and talk. Staggering activities throughout the day gives guests something to focus on, and makes the experience memorable. Consider:
- Having activities that people can jump in and out of. At a children's party, this could be something like face painting or drawing. At an adult's party, this could be something like a movie corner, dancing corner, or a drink bar where they can mix up their own drink.
- Holding a raffle. Raffles can be held throughout the evening, and can even be mixed with some sort of trivia or contest. Raffles encourage guests to stay throughout the night; just give them a free ticket at the beginning of the event, and draw every hour.
- Creating fun challenges. Have guests try to hit a target with darts, or try to complete a quick game of charades. You can even get little gifts for the participants, to encourage them to get a little outside of their comfort zone.
Realistically, as long as you have great food and invite the right guests, you're going to have a fun time one way or another. Still, planning ahead of time will ensure that you don't end up with any last minute surprises. For more information about birthday catering, contact Laissez-Faire.