party, planning, stress free, worry free

Woman at a birthday party surrounded by colorful balloons

It is possible to have a party that is unique and without stress. Even better. It is possible to do it all locally!

by Jordan DeWald

If you type “party” into the search box of Pinterest, results will pop up with creative ideas for snacks for a crowd, how to decorate a three layer cake, basketball themed games, baby shower invitations, Class of 2016 decorations, and cocktails for a dinner party. Before you know it, you are planning an elaborate Do-It-Yourself party. A quick search on the internet gives you hundreds of ideas to make a creative and unique party. With Pinterest and bloggers who make it look so easy, you may quickly become overwhelmed. The overwhelming part becomes particularly true at midnight the night before the party when the to-do list is still incomplete, or it is in the middle of the party and you have not even gotten to stop to say hello to anyone. It is possible to have a party that is unique and without stress. Even better. It is possible to do it all locally!
When you start to plan a party, whether it be for a child’s birthday, graduation or retirement, the initial decisions need to include the theme and budget. Those two decisions are going to determine everything else. Decisions about a location, date and time will need to be made next, and need to be made simultaneously because the availability of the location is determined by the date and time. When deciding a location you should consider your guests and how far they are willing to travel, along with what fits best within both the budget and the theme. There are three basic options when considering a location for an event: 1) host it at your house, 2) rent a location only and bring everything else to it, or 3) utilize a full service location.

All other decisions begin to fall in line after that, which usually involves deciding what you want to do on your own versus what you want to bring someone else in to do. There are good reasons behind wanting to do everything for a party on your own — it can be economical, you want to make it personal and unique, or you enjoy part of the process.

There are criteria you can use to weigh whether or not to use a professional service:

Are you skilled at the task?

Consider whether or not your skill level will allow you to create what you envision for the celebration. If it is something new, it is a good idea to practice prior to the event. It is also important to factor in the scale of the event.

Is it cost effective?

The reasoning for a Do-It-Yourself project commonly involves saving money, but often you will find that it was not much cheaper in the long run. It can actually be more cost effective, especially when factoring in time and materials purchased, to utilize a business that specializes in that service. When a person starts a business, not only do they have knowledge in a particular field but they have also learned how to do their business in a cost effective way. A business owner has already invested in the expensive equipment. Taking time to call around for prices, and calculating what your own costs would be, are worth it to determine the smarter financial choice.

Will you be able to enjoy the party?

A common complaint for a host is that they did not get to enjoy the party: they did not get to taste the food, did not get to talk to their guests, were too tired by the time the party even started, or were too stressed through the whole party. You need to consider what you like to do, both in the planning and during the event, and plan your involvement accordingly.

The benefit of using locally-owned businesses is that more often than not their goal is to individualize service, which means you will get exactly what you need to help you meet all of the criteria above. You can balance tasks that you can do on your own with the services the business can offer while working within your budget. Some concerns might be that you lose the personal touches when you utilize professional services or have to fit within a packaged deal. When working with a local business representative, this does not have to be a worry. Give yourself plenty of time before the event to talk to the representative from the business. A person who owns a local business does their job because they love whatever it is their business offers. Between their expertise and your vision, your party can actually be a celebration you can enjoy!

A poem about thankfulness was written by Nancie J. Carmody. Included in the poem is the line: “I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.” Never let the details of a party overshadow the reason for the celebration, or the people who are a part of the celebration. The important things will be the stories shared over the meal, the laughter from children playing a game, the expressions of gratitude of years of service, and the toasts of well wishes. Allow a local to take care of the details, so you can focus on the reason for the celebration.