How to Find Help When Planning a Party
Who doesn’t love a good party?
Moments that we celebrate with family and friends can give us life-long memories that bring happiness whenever we reunite and reminisce. Unfortunately, the planning process leading up to those moments usually isn’t as pleasant, especially when you’re planning by yourself. Planning a party can be overwhelming and can drain you financially. The idea of hiring a planner usually makes people hesitant because they have a low budget or feel unsure that they’ll trust someone to bring their vision to life without overcharging. It doesn’t help that there are misconceptions on pricing and the different responsibilities event specialists have, making some people feel too overwhelmed to even consider help. Ultimately, hiring the right help has its benefits and can potentially save you money.
When Candid Confections was Dulce by Candi, a lot of the work I did focused on event planning with event decorating. Eventually, I found my true passion is in baking and being able to combine baking with event decorating through dessert tables. Funny enough, I still find myself being the go-to advisor for friends, family, and even my clients that are planning parties themselves. So, I thought I’d help others understand what kind of help is out there.
Before you get help, it’s important to be prepared with these two fundamental things.
1. Create a budget you can afford and stick to it. Budgeting your party is the most important step, and it will prevent you from overspending and over-decorating. Once you’ve figured out all of the important must-haves, then it’s easier to figure out the extras. At some point, we’ve all desired having a luxury, high-profile event experience, but it’s not affordable and, most of the time, it’s not practical. Your goal should be to provide a memorable experience for the guest of honor and your guests, and any budget can make that happen.
When you’re considering a small-scale or a large-scale party, your choice will depend on your budget and the type of event your celebrating. Common small-scale events are baby showers, birthdays, and communions, which have decorating costs starting at about $500. Common large-scale events are corporate events and weddings, with decorating costs starting at about $1,200. These prices will change depending on the amount of people, the menu, the venue, and other specific party needs.
2. Research, but stick to your budget. Ideas for party themes are all over the internet, especially Pinterest, and it’s very easy to fall in love with the idea of trying to do it all for your event. The important benefit of having a well-thought-out plan is to manage stress, since you can quickly make decisions based on what you can afford and stay focused on a consistent theme. As you research, keep an open mind about which theme you are interested in, as it may change or develop into a unique theme tailored just for you. Many ideas change throughout the planning and creating process, but the direction should always be the same. New ideas are always welcome, and an event planner or decorator will use these ideas as inspiration while sticking to your initial party plan.
Now that you have two fundamentals down, you’re ready to get help. There are two types of event specialists that can help, but they have very different responsibilities: event planners and event decorators.
An event planner will coordinate your entire party, from start to finish. Basic responsibilities include:
establishing an organized timeline of event objectives
working with you to design the aesthetic of the party
schedule and sign contracts with vendors and venues
An event planner will relieve you of most event responsibilities, because the event planner is the liaison between you and your vendors. They understand the laws and regulations of each obligation, and have the experience to troubleshoot any potential problems to ensure your party runs smoothly. Their goal is to create a memorable experience for all guests to enjoy, especially the person who hired them. An event planner can be ideal if you’re really busy with other things and have a lot of moving pieces for a large-scale event.
An event decorator is different from an event planner. An event decorator is a stylist with creativity and skills to completely transform an event space by creating stunning visual displays through decorations. They will source these quality details to provide you and your guests with a unique event experience. Basic responsibilities include:
create a unique, personal style and color palette consistent throughout design
order decorations from vendors, such as party rentals, or create from scratch
setup and take down decorations
Because an event decorator manages the decor, he or she can work with an event planner for specific design tasks, such as creating centerpieces or a dessert table. The event decorator can also be ideal for low-budget events, where clients want to manage the event themselves but need help with specific design tasks.
Once you determine what kind of help you need, then you need to find them.
The best way to find reliable help is through recommendations from your family and friends. This saves you time in having to search through reviews and online sources when trying to determine if you trust this person with your money and ideas. Some of your family and friends have attended memorable parties and can offer trustworthy and insightful opinions.
If you don’t have referrals available to you, then research local planners and decorators online, via social media and websites. It’s important to read reviews from people that have worked with them, and to check out their previous work. While their work may look good, it’s important to make sure they are credible, experienced, professional, and pleasant to work with. On the other hand, while someone might be pleasant to work with, their work might not be enough to make your vision come to life.
Once you’ve narrowed your search, reach out to the event planner or event decorator with your budget and a vision for your party theme. Most planners and decorators are willing to work within your budget, especially because you’re giving them an opportunity to do a unique project and show their work to potential clients. Even if you can’t afford full-service event planning, there may be specific design services you can get from decorator or a planner who specializes in decor that will keep you within your budget, like invitations, centerpieces, or a dessert table. Whether you decide to plan your party yourself or with an event planner or event decorator, you should have a budget, stick to your plan, and be realistic with your vision.