Whether it is a wedding, birthday party, or bbq at the friend’s house, we have had to host. I would have never guessed in a million years that I would have such a role and be a partner in an Event Planning company. The “me” growing up and even into my young adult years never initiated conversation. One, I did not understand the importance of being social. Second, it did not come naturally. I am sure most, if not all, of the people who knew me from my high school, would say that I am more open. Coming out of the shell is weird; it touches on vulnerability and rejection. Get over it!
Here are some pointers about planning and hosting. On being social —-> take a leap!
What needs to be remembered, ultimately, is that we offer ourselves, are a GREAT thing. Never be intimidated with the task at hand, even if it makes you sick to your stomach like it does me.
1. Figure out the place
This is the most difficult task because you HAVE TO mesh well with the vendor and this is where most of your money will be spent. If something feels shaky, do not book with them. When working with a budget, you will need to bargain hard. Before going in, decide what is needed and what is wanted. Simplify your wants and minimize your guests. Downgrade elements that are not important. I do not care how much you are paying ALWAYS have a written agreement when you are making payment. If you are having a house function, be ready to have people in your home. This means anything you value must be relocated or protected. Something might break and become ruined. Someone WILL spill his or her drink. The bathroom toilet might clog. There will be clean up before and after. In addition, if you live with other people, they will be inconvenienced.
2. Maintain open communication with your vendors
You should be able to call whomever you hired, during business hours, at any time you wish to ask questions or highlight concerns. However, organize your questions and thoughts before calling. Do not call a million times with scattered thoughts. Watch your tone and language. No one wants to help an angry person. Try to find a solution to a problem before getting angry. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be honest. The week before keep in constant contact and on the day of do a roll call in the morning to confirm setup time and make sure nothing unfortunate happened. If it has, plan B. Think on your feet. Lastly, do not agree to something you do not like.
3. Make an itinerary
The night before, map everything out. Whomever will be helping you host, will need an itinerary, also. Do not walk into an event without first knowing what is needed and not have a timeline of events. DISASTER.
1. Relax and Smile
People can read you and will be looking to you to host. If you do not have it together, act like you have it together. If necessary, have a drink.
2. Don’t come up missing at any point
I hate when I am at someone’s function and I can not find them. What the heck?! If your guests need something, they should be able to locate you. When I have had to leave an event for some reason or another, I appoint someone to take care of the guests or I tell the guests why I have to leave and when I will return. Leaving is inexcusable, unless an emergency arises or something must be done and can only be done by you, the host
3. Mingle with your guests, all of them
Even in handling business at an event, I am ever-present to answer questions or provide the guests with what they need while also conversing and introducing myself. I also “get it in,” professionally. Being stiff and unapproachable does not foster business and it can make everyone around you withdraw. Have fun while keeping in mind your handling business.
Inexpensive Party Foods (try to stick to appetizers. Less hassle)
Good ole’ Seven Layer Dip
Chicken Tenders (kick a dipping sauce up a notch to make it memorable)
Tacos (I hate to list it, but…)
Macaroni and Cheese (we posted some recipes)
Pizza bites (buy them or make them with dough in the cookie dough section)
Meatballs (we have all seen this, but it is practical shrugs)
Shrimp (although they drive costs up, they are sooooo easy)
Main thing here is taking something someone would normally eat and making it your own. Turn something simple into something that is yours with a cuisine change. Start looking at the appetizer choices in your menu while out eating. People are always remembered for how they cooked something, not what they began with.