1. Guest List
The guest list is possibly the most important element in your planning. Though it needn’t be finalised before you begin, take a few moments to think about the people you will invite. You need to hire a much bigger marquee for 200 people than for 40, and your catering needs are much different for a group of vegetarians than for a bunch of meat lovers. Beyond those top-level decisions, your guest list will also guide many of your smaller plans.
Are any of your guests older or infirm? You will need to select a site that is reasonably flat and provide excellent lighting. Do your guests enjoy dancing? Consider putting a larger portion of your budget toward a top-notch DJ or live band. What time do they normally eat? This is an important consideration when deciding whether to serve appetisers or a full meal at an evening event. Will you serve a great deal of alcohol? Make sure you hire plenty of portable toilets. When planning your event, put yourself in your guests’ shoes and make the decisions that will make them the most comfortable.
In many ways, a large event is similar to a stage play. Choosing an overarching theme will help you choose food, chairs, glassware, and other details that create a cohesive and unified feel. Some people select a highly specific theme, such as “masquerade party” or “day at the beach,” while others choose a more broad-based approach anchored in the level of formality and the time of day. Whatever your preference, use it as a guideline to help you make the small decisions that will bring your event to life.
3. Seating and Staging
Think through the different activities that will take place during your event. Is there an emcee? Did you hire a band? Will people stand in front of the crowd and make speeches? For a wedding, do you plan to have a formal cake-cutting? Do you need a gift table? Make a list of the staging, tables, cake knives, and other furnishings that you need for each activity. Also think about where you would like each portion of the event to take place. Do you want a central stage, or would you prefer to separate different activities into different locations?
Consider the seating arrangements you would prefer. Do you want everyone sitting in chairs facing the same direction? Will you serve a plated meal? Do you prefer long tables or small, round ones? Is your event a cocktail party, during which guests will stand and circulate throughout the marquee? Even at an event for which most people will stand, consider providing a few chairs for those who have difficulty standing for long periods.
4. Lighting and Décor
Lighting and décor decisions should be relatively easy to make once you have the theme and the guest list in mind. Remember to provide enough light for your guests to easily find the toilet facilities and the marquee exit, as well as to see the activities. Lighting is available in a vast array of styles, making it easy to choose lights that fit your theme.
Décor items should fit your theme and the mood you are trying to set. Avoid the tendency to select pieces to “fill up” the space, or to choose pieces that you like individually but do not go together. Stop and think about each item and how it will enhance your event. If you have trouble visualising how a particular piece will fit into the broader picture, consider passing on it.
5. Facilities and Service Needs
When everything else is in place, you will be ready to think about the facilities and service equipment you need to hire. For example, you might choose to hire a smaller marquee to serve as a catering kitchen, or find space in your home for your service professionals to store their personal items. Talk to your service providers well in advance to determine what they need from you. At a minimum, expect to provide power and water.
Although this checklist will help guide your planning, many people prefer to consult with an experienced professional. At Betta Party Hire, we are happy to assist with your planning, and even put you in touch with our network of trusted service professionals.
When planning your wedding or special event, why not choose a party hire service with a personal touch? Betta Party Hire has the experience and expertise to help you choose the right items for the party of your dreams.