Having worked in the Waipahu event planning industry for almost 7 years there are not many surprises left – but occasionally I still get the, “They did what?” pass my lips! Why am I not surprised anymore – because over the years the number one rule for event planning is putting time into the pre planning of the event, and then planning contingencies for the exceptions that may happen?
So where do you start? As far out from the event date as possible as getting space is the first step. In Waipahu, where we do a lot of work, it is not unusual to be booking one year out at some of the venues, as they are booked solidly every week.
The first few decisions are the easiest. What is the budget? What is the event about? A party, corporate seminar, convention, festival, wedding, or an anniversary – the list is endless, but one thing remains constant once the event has a name and the type of event is decided, the next step will be to decide where to hold the event. This is where the real event planners stand out from the crowd. So you have an event – okay lets book a hotel is normally the next answer but why would you miss out on an opportunity to create a unique experience?
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When planning an event, you must think about if you need centerpieces. Personally, centerpieces are one of my favorite parts of an event. They can be big, small, quaint, or flashy. Centerpieces can really add something to the event and make it look complete. There are some things to think about though. You don't want to make a centerpiece too tall that you can't see through at a social event. One time, we were planning a Christmas banquet and we thought it would be a great idea to use mini Christmas trees as the centerpieces, though we were wrong. The trees were too thick to see the people across the table, so the guests took the trees off of the tables. Talk about a centerpiece disaster. Another time, we planned centerpieces that had big, tall branches painted silver. These worked out fine because the branches weren't too flourished. You really have to think about the setting and events happening at your event when planning centerpieces, otherwise they can hinder the success of your event.
Invitations are not as simple as they appear to be. Invitations are the very first impression you make on your guests. You make the first impression completely without even seeing them and weeks in advance. Your invitation sets the tone for the event. Your guests get a feel for the event before attending.
How soon should you send them out you ask? If planning for a wedding, it is suggested you send them out 8 weeks before the wedding. If planning a party, it is suggested you send them out 3-6 weeks before the event depending on the specifics. Make sure you give people enough time to plan. Make sure to include all important event info, as well. Who, what, when, where, why, what to wear, and how to RSVP.
Get creative with your invitations! Personally I love invitations that are an actual object to be used. Maybe you make a mixed CD of your favorite songs and send that as an invite? When I was a kid, my mom always had the coolest invitations for my birthday parties. One time she laced shoe laces up a paper roller skate for a skating party. Another time she wrote all of the party info on a beach ball for a pool party. Your invitations don't just have to be paper sheets. Think outside of the box! It will also make your guests more interested and excited to come.
Some people argue that the best part of any event is the food. When choosing food for your event, you really need to think about the audience you're catering to.
Are you planning a kids or family event? Pizza is always a safe option for kids. Most children like pizza and it is easy for you. Planning an event for college students? College students just like free food. You're pretty safe with anything. As for adults, it depends on the formality of the event? A black tie affair, then of course you will have a course meal. A wedding? It's up to the couple if they'd rather go the buffet route or the plated meal route.
You also have to decide whether you want your event catered or if you will make the food in house. Of course this depends on the size of your event. The bigger the event, the more food you need, the more likely it's better to have it catered. A smaller party could be taken care of in house.
Overall, the food should be a high priority on your planning list. People love food and expect it to be delicious.
Your venue truly depends on what type of event you're having. A wedding? Your options are very very broad. A corporate meeting? Your options are a little more narrow. Maybe you're just throwing a party? You can really choose wherever fits your theme. Your venue sets the tone of the event.
Venue options include:
Outdoor event space
Your options are really endless, but you need to put some thought into the feel you are trying to go for. You also will always want to have a back up plan for outside events. Maybe you'll want to hand out fans if it's hot outside? Or maybe you'll have covered awnings in case it rains? Whatever the case may be hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
Decorations can change the feel of the entire event. Your decorations can make or break the event. But remember sometimes less is more as well, so don't think that you have to use a million different things. Also the type of event you're planning might not need decorations. Evaluate the type of event you're having and the level in which you want to decorate to. Good luck and happy decorating!
Follow these guidelines and your event is sure to be a hit!
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The wedding is one of the happiest moments in a person's life. When you are planning yours, you just know that it is special. However, unless it stands out in a way or another, for most of the guests it might be just another wedding they attend and they won't remember much of it a few months later.
There are unique wedding ideas that can make yours shine and become a spectacular event not only for the bride and groom, but for each and every guest.
Here are some useful wedding ideas to transform yours from a regular wedding into an unforgettable event for everyone:
1. Pick a theme. Themed weddings are always fun and a great source of unique wedding ideas. Talk with your future spouse and brainstorm together. While your own preferences are always the most important, don't forget to try to take into account the guests as well. For example, you can't go for a new movie if most guests will be elderly persons and won't know what is happening.
The theme can relate to anything within reason so you can be as creative as you wish. If you can afford to splurge a bit, you can include impressive decorations or performances.
If you are mostly interested in outdoor wedding ideas, themes can be even more fun outside as you can include balloons, inflatable cartoons or various games. More space also means a good opportunity to add more decorations such as personalized chalkboards, bouncy castles.
2. Engage the guests. Organise a few activities for them to feel like they are really actively participating to the event. You can get some beautiful memories while you are at it too.
Place a bowl with pens and beautifully designed pieces of paper on each table. Ask your guests to write you a message or to share their favorite memory with one of the newlyweds.
If you have musically gifted guests, you can ask them to sing a song or to play their instruments a bit while your band or DJ is having a break. Also, if you are keen on someone's talents such as dancing, stand-up comedy or gymnastics, you can plan special performances.
No matter what you pick, make sure that no one is forgotten and that everyone gets to participate in an active way, even the elderly persons or the children.
3. Make the guests feel important. Take a while to write personalized notes. Handwritten ones will be the most appreciated. Share your thoughts on this day or just make random comments about your relationship to let them know how much you care about them.
If you are having a hard time opening up and sharing your feelings, you can just write a message that will indicate nice memories. For example 'Alice, thank you for being there with me from rags to riches' or 'Johnny, you will always be my brother from another mother'.
However, if you are running out of time or you simply don't have the inspiration to write a message to everyone, a standard card to thank them for joining the wedding will do the trick. Choose an elegant font and an exquisite design for the card to become a small gift.
4. Customize the entire event. Don't try to copy someone else's wedding, especially if you are on a budget. From engagement rings facts to the tiara, everything should be personal and according to your liking.
If there are wedding ideas that you really enjoy, try to add a personal touch. The event doesn't have to be particularly fancy or pricey. A bit of extra time and effort can make a huge difference.
You can use personal family photos as decorations or tie the napkins with ribbons in your favorite colour. Bring a funny photo stand-in or include mini versions of your favorite foods instead of main dishes.
Get bold and don't stick to eating or dancing the whole evening. Still, whatever you choose to do, make sure that it is fun and that it won't be regarded as offensive or that it won't make any guest remember an unpleasant event.
5. Don't stress out about it. Last but not least, don't transform your special moments into a highly stressful event. You will only end up obsessing over each and every detail. Also, the chances to be disappointed raise significantly if you want everything to be perfect. Admit that you can't control everything and just enjoy yourself.
At the end of the day, no matter how flawless everything might turn out to be, the guests might only remember how stressed out and uncomfortable you have been the whole day. A genuine smile is often worth more than exquisite details.