The worst feeling is being mid-party and having a guest ask for something that makes you realize you totally forgot about that in your planning! Now, this certainly isn’t the end of the world! You can react cool-as-a-cucumber on the fly. But, wouldn’t it be less stressful, not to mention less work for you, if you had thought of everything you could ahead of time and were prepared for all the little things that may arise?
Want to know how?
While planning your event, visually, or physically, walk through the full event, beginning to end, entering to exiting, as if you were a guest!
This simple act changes your perspective in a way that easily highlights many details you may not have yet considered.
Start with the invitation – do guests need to know how to dress, what to bring, if there is a gift registry? How long the party may last? Map the party address using the information given – do the directions tell them to enter from a different street than expected? Will they know where to park? Which door to enter?
Once inside the party, will a guest know where to put coats and purses? Where to set down their gift? What will they do once they arrive? Is it clear where the food and drinks are? And where they might find a seat?
All these little, seemingly silly details, really help you fine-tune your event, creating the best possible experience for your guests.
For example, from the information above, I might realize I need to make the following additions:
Make a note on the invitation, or send out a text or email, that the cross street is “X” and the best place to park is “Y”. Then, I would tie a couple balloons out front, to the correct entrance, so guests feel confident they have found the location. Now, obviously, if this is your house of which they are a frequent visitor, you can skip this; but for any newcomers, or if your party is off-site, these are welcome tips!
Then, as soon as guests walk in, make them feel comfortable by guiding them to where the gifts should be placed and where purses and other belonging can safely be kept. And, now you have freed up their hand for the food and drink you are about to give them! Show them to the mimosa station, the chips and dip, the cooler outside – make them feel comfortable and confident they know where their first stop should be.
Another nice thing is having something to do, or look at, such as a little activity or craft, or scrapbook with photos, in case a guest is left solo without anyone to talk to. This way they feel like they have something to do in the downtime.
Other things to consider, so guests don’t have to ask:
Obvious trash can
Extra toilet paper in the bathroom!
Napkins or paper towels for a spill
Pens if there is a game/activity that requires them
Try this method out for your next event – I’d love to hear what you learned!