- If the party is to be a surprise, it is important to have a private phone number where caterers and DJs can call to confirm times, locations, etc. Don't chance that "wrong person" answering the phone and ruining the surprise....
- It is a great idea to have a theme to your party. This helps guests in gift selection and attire for the party. Here are some ideas: Roaring 20's, Mexican Fiesta, Caribbean or Hawaiian, 50's-60's, Sports, etc.
- When sending invitations, allow 3-4 weeks in advance. Be sure to include attire and theme, food to be served, time to arrive, whether gifts are appropriate, a R.S.V.P number, directions to party and for kids parties, pick-up times.
- If you are to use a professional caterer, ask for references, ask about cancellation policies, deposits, and staffing. One source for professional caterers is N.A.C.E. (The National Association Of Catering Executives). http://www.nace.com
- When deciding on a location for your party consider: your parking needs, a large enough area to accommedate your guests, a dance floor (these can be rented), noise codes or statutes, handicap access, clean-up times and any other needs of your vendors (cooking facilities and electricity).
- Advise your guests whether gifts are appropriate, limited to a dollar amount, and whether they must be tied to the party theme. With kids parties, correct sizes and personal tastes, (ie. Barbies or baseball cards) can be very helpful.
- If your party will consist of many or all under-age guests, adult supervision is a MUST. Make sure your chaperones know what their responsibilites are and are available at all times. Your catering staff and entertainers will be busy providing their services, so it is important for them to know who your chaperones are and where they can be found. It is best that no alcohol be available, because your liability can be questioned, even after your guests have left your party.
- When deciding on times for your party, don't let the party go on too long. It is best to have everyone in good spirits at the end rather than having your guests dwindle down to a few at the end. Here are some guidelines based on age groups: 12 & under....90 minutes to 2 hrs, 13 to 18.....2 hrs to 3 hrs, 18 to 21....3 hrs, over 21....3 hrs to 4 hrs. Also consider what activities will be occuring during the party, (ie. games and contests, costume characters, roasts, gift unwrapping, adult entertainment, etc.)
- Entertainment will be a key component of your party. When considering your entertainment keep in mind the theme, the Guest(s) of Honor, and especially your invited guests. Though the Guest(s) Of Honor may be a "classical buff", having a string quartet for entertainment may find many guests having "pressing commitments" and leaving early. The same may hold true at an 18th birthday party where "oldies" are played, or a 5 year old's party and Top 40 music is played.
- Be sure to let all your vendors know what you expect of them and what they can expect, as to your guests and the party. Disappointments come when communication is poor.
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