Whether you’re put in charge of planning a family party, or you’re doing it on your own accord, planning a family get-together can be overwhelming.
Before you go into full-blown panic mode, take a deep breath, because the planning process doesn’t have to be difficult.
If you start early and think strategically, you will have no problem planning the perfect family party. After all, a party is something everyone should enjoy (including the host).
To make life easier during the planning process, we’ve put together an event planning checklist to help you throw the best family party yet.
Decide on a Theme
It isn’t necessary to have a party theme, but deciding on one will make planning easier. If you’re planning around a season, birthday, or holiday, then it should be easy to select a theme.
If it’s the holiday season, then your party will likely be a Christmas or New Year’s party (or both)! If it’s during the summertime, perhaps you should make it into a family barbecue where everyone brings their favorite BBQ dish.
Depending on the season and holiday, the food and activities will vary.
Knowing what time of year the party will take place will help you decide on an appropriate theme and what type of food to serve.
Choose a Date
Speaking of deciding on when the party will take place, you may find this is one of the most challenging parts of party planning. It can get frustrating figuring out a date that works, especially if everyone has a different schedule.
However, after speaking to your family members, narrow it down and decide on a date that works. You can’t please everyone, so just try to pick a time that works for the majority of the family members.
Don’t allow yourself to get stressed out if someone can’t make it.
All you can do is your best and give everyone enough notice as to when the party will take place. Providing enough notice gives family ample time to take time off work, get a dog sitter, or make travel arrangements.
Figure out the Location of the Party
After you’ve decided on a date for the party, it’s time to pick out the location. Depending on how many family members will be attending, you have options on where to hold the event.
Here are a few location ideas:
- Your home
- Someone else’s home
- A restaurant
- An outside location such as a park or garden venue
- A party hall, which is ideal for large family reunions and get-togethers
Hosting a family party at someone’s home is preferable for informal occasions. It’s comfortable, welcoming and (most importantly) free.
If the party is going to be a big one, you may be able to pull it off outside in someone’s yard or at a public park. If not, you’ll have to look into paid venues.
If you’re reserving a popular venue, wait to decide on a date until after learning when the site is available. It’s best to reserve a venue a few weeks or even better, a few months in advance.
Decide Who to Invite and Send Invitations
It’s important not to leave anyone out, so make a list ahead of time of who you’d like to invite. Include family members’ names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.
If the party consists of extended family members that you haven’t met before, have someone else check over the list before you start inviting people. Similarly, if you’re missing a family member’s phone number or address, ask another family member for it.
To ensure everyone gets an invite contact every single person about the party on your own. Don’t rely on family members to pass on the word. You don’t want someone to feel left out by mistake.
If the family event is formal, consider sending out written invitations. If it’s an informal event, sending a text, email, or calling family members will suffice.
Plan the Party Food
Everyone expects to get fed at a party, especially if it’s a family gathering. If it’s going to be a small gathering you can ask family members to bring one or more of their favorite dishes or desserts. It’s usually basic etiquette to have the party host provide the main course.
However, if it’s a larger event that’ll be more formal, consider catering.
Depending on who is footing the bill for the party and food arrangements, talk to those who are involved to confirm the budget. Depending on how much money you have to work with, you may or may not want to hire a catering company.
Buy the Decorations
Some venues already provide decorations, but in some cases, you’ll need to bring your own. If you plan to celebrate a birthday or holiday, buying decor and decorating on your own will result in a more personalized setting.
Just like it’s essential to secure a venue, date, and time that works well for family members who will be attending, you should also purchase decorations well in advance. You don’t want to run around at the last minute trying to come up with festive decorations that will fit the event. If you procrastinate, you may not be able to find what you’re looking for in time for the event which can be disappointing.
Secure Enough Seats
If the event is going to be at a house or larger venue, make sure there’s enough seating for everyone.
If you plan to have the get-together at a house, you’ll likely have to bring over chairs from another home or rent or buy some.
For venue reservations, communicate with the venue organizer ahead of time to ensure there will be enough seating for everyone. Then, a few days before the party begins, check with the organizer one more time to confirm the number of seats.
It’s vital to make sure everything will go as planned so that everyone will be comfortable at the party.
Call Everyone Right Before the Party
The day before the party takes place, call or text those who will be attending to remind them of the event. You should also ask them if they have everything they need and remind them of what they’re responsible for bringing.
If there are any cancellations, inform the caterer, especially if he or she was planning on preparing a set number of meals.
Planning a family party can be stressful, but with proper preparation, your event can go off without a hitch.
Plan ahead, effectively communicate with the venue organizers and your family members, and the party should go off without a hitch.
Don’t get so caught up in preparation that you lose sight of the bigger picture – spending time with loved ones. If everything doesn’t go as planned don’t sweat it; there’s always something else you can do to improve the situation.
Lisa Clapper is the Owner of Copper Mugs. She has an extensive marketing background in all facets of marketing but a true entrepreneur at heart. Her interests and experience in home design and decorating has led her into the housewares industry where she designs and sells copperware for Copper Mug Co.
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba