Decide the budget you will have available to work with.
Decide if you will do all the work or will you have it catered?
Decide an approximate preliminary menu to determine a per-person cost.
Decide where you will entertain. At your home or do you need rented space?
What type of music and entertainment will you have?--Recorded, a DJ, hired
chamber music or local talent?
What will be the theme? How do you decorate using that theme?
What will you need to rent and what will you need to buy?--Tables, chairs, hot
serving equipment, platters, bowls, fountains, flatware, crystal, china, linens,
bars, and grills can all be rented. Even pianos, dance floors and Karaoke
equipment are available for rent.
From the cost of the first seven items, decide how many guests to invite. Make
a tentative guest list. Make two columns--one list is definite and the other is maybe.
Use a 45-day countdown planner.
In October (or earlier), begin contacting florists, cleaning companies, rental
companies caterers, and any other special needs facilities to be sure you lock
in prices and that you find ones available.
Mid-November (or at least no later than Thanksgiving, send out announcements
of your intended party. Ask that each RSVP indicate either "interested" or "sorry,
we have other commitments".
Be careful not to over-announce. You can always add to your guest list but you
will never be forgiven for reducing it after you sent the announcements.
Keep a Chart.
List every guest. Have 4 columns next to the guests' names:
Yes, No, Haven't Heard(30 days), Haven't Heard (14 days)
There should be very few, if any, that you haven't heard from by 14 days before
the party. Give those few a pleasant call and ask if you can expect them.
Have fun doing this! A party is never much good if the guests and the host feel
that it was given out of obligation. Do it because it's fun to do!
If it's not fun for you, then give it up and go to someone else's party!
If, after sending out the November announcements, you get a poor response,
or a large response with the majority committed elsewhere, send out postcards
stating your decision to cancel your party with plans to host a different theme
later in 2011.
Don't be disappointed. Use your party budget for you and a companion to get
away and rest up for the coming year!!!