Tuesday, 25 June 2013

10 Party Planning Tips

Photo by Jemima Yong

Over the last year I've had to learn a lot about designing for events. It's this experience that has inspired the opening of my shop (date to be announced soon!) so in honour of that I thought I'd share a few event organising tips that I have learnt over time. 

1// Pick a clear and decisive theme. This will really help hone your decorations and tone of the event. A theme doesn't have to be tacky - even just a strong colour scheme will go a long way towards creating a great atmosphere. I often find the simpler the idea, the better you can pull it off to an impressive standard! Pinterest of course is a great source of theme inspiration. 

2// Make a detailed budget plan. This is pretty boring, and it takes a bit of practice to really stick to, but it is probably the most important part of successfully planning an event. When I start any project, I draw up a simple excel budget sheet showing the total budget split up into each section required of the design. I make estimates on how much things are going to cost and I keep working and reworking until everything stays within budget. I always try to leave a bit of contingency money too as things will inevitably go wrong at some point! 

3// Make mood boards. Use Pinterest or a real life board to collate all of your inspiration images. This is especially useful if you are going to be working with other people as it is the best way of showing your ideas quickly and effectively. I love surrounding myself in inspiration images while I work as it allows me to become completely immersed in the world I am creating. 

4// Go Shopping... Sometimes you just don't know you need something until you see it! Some of my best ideas come when I am sourcing props and things and accidentally stumble across something perfect. 

5// Present your ideas to someone else. I find that explaining ideas to a friend or colleague really helps put them into perspective. Also if you have some kinks to work out they may be able to offer solutions that you hadn't thought of before. 

6// Give yourself a strict timetable. My dyspraxic brain means that I am naturally quite disorganised. Instead of accepting my fate, I over-compensate for that by being really strict with my own time management. I will usually get a big calendar and set deadlines for completing each task to make sure everything gets done on time. I always try to allow more time than I think is needed, because usually things take longer than I originally anticipate. 

7// Think of the little things. What are the little details that will make your event extra special for your guests? Think thoughtful party favours, personal touches like place cards, named cocktails, a themed menu of little treats... I think planning these little things is the best part of my job! 

8// Know your venue. Wherever your venue is (even if it is at a friend's house) the last thing you want is to plan something spectacular and then find out it's impossible on the day. Keep communication up and go on site visits if you can and if you are in doubt about what you are able to do in a space, ask.

9// Find really simple ways to transform your space. When your party planning involves a DIY element, plan decorations that are easy and cost effective to make on a large scale. It's all very well having some really pretty and intricate decorations, but if you can't make enough of them they will just get lost in the grand scheme of things. The classics like paper bunting and pompoms are great because you can make a lot of them quite quickly and cheaply. 

10// Get help. It's the worst feeling not being able to realise your ideas because you run out of time. If the event is quite big, don't let the responsibility get on top of you; recruit a team to help run things. Or if you are having a smaller gathering, enlist your best friend to help you keep an eye on things. It takes the pressure off and is especially important if you would like to enjoy the event itself, after all the work it's nice to be able to step back and enjoy what you've achieved. 

I hope you enjoyed that little designer geek post! Do you have any questions or tips to add? Tomorrow I'll finally be sharing the pictures of this wedding! Can't believe it's taken me this long, but you know how it is... 

x Rachel 


  1. This is a great post, thank you for sharing! I am planning my friends hen do, so going to need all the help I can get, I will use some of the above tips, like the mood board and pinterest. Perfect!

    Lyndsay xx


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