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Tips for Stress-Free Event Planning

January 10th, 2019 by Kenneth Abrahams

balloons at birthday party

Most people are not professional event planners but at some point in our lives we will need to act as if we are. It maybe that milestone anniversary for your parents, or a surprise party for a big birthday or even your own wedding, chances are you will need to fill that role at least once. It is not an easy role to fill – it is exactly the opposite. There are so many things that go into planning an event, not to mention a number of places where things can go wrong. So how do you do this without going crazy? Here are a few tips that will hopefully reduce the stress level.


  1. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Super Simple: It is easy to complicate this process but focus on keeping it simple. Break your event down into smaller pieces and it will make the task less daunting. Put things into different “buckets” at the start of the project. For example: Invitations, food, entertainment, photos and so on. As the project develops those big buckets will get broken out into smaller task lists. With the food, you may want to divide the list into some options to look at such as restaurant, caterer, do it ourselves, or have friends help. You can break the lists down as much or as little as you want. 
  2. Identify what is important to YOU: Parties/events are like naming your babies, everyone wants in on the act and everyone has the perfect addition to your event. Not to mention someone in your circle “has a friend in the biz.” Identify what is important to you and the people who the event is being done in honor of. As people weigh in, listen to what they have to say and be polite, but don’t feel obligated to accept what they are offering. For my wedding the food and the band were important to my fiancé (now wife) so we concentrated our time and resources on that. Things like flowers and the photographer were less so. 
  3. Stick to a budget: You know what you are comfortable spending on your event. Write down a budget and stick to it. If you go over budget in one area it needs to come out of a different line. There is no reason to take out a second mortgage to celebrate Uncle Arthur’s 80thbirthday. There are so many ways to make an event really nice without breaking the bank. This is where modern technology is awesome. Use sites like Etsy, Pinterest and others to find great ideas that you can incorporate. 
  4. Stay within your comfort zone: Big events are not the time to try wild and crazy new things. For example, if you struggle making Toll House cookies now is not the time to try that 7 layer, 4 types of frosting cake. Stick to what you do well. There is no shame in knowing your limits.
  5. Accept help: Whether it is from friends or family, accept help when it is offered. You cannot do this all on your own. People actually enjoy helping and they probably have skills and talents that you do not. So be gracious and accept what is offered as long as it is real help and not someone who just wants to provide their opinion.
  6. Ask for help:  Again, whether it is from friends and family or even from a professional, don’t be afraid to seek out help. Of course, hiring a professional will cost you but you can find people that are reasonably priced. Some offer very specific services like assistance only on the day of the event or calligraphy for the place cards or invitations. Sometimes, having that somewhat detached professional eye is incredibly valuable to have. 
  7. Have fun: There is no better piece of advice that I can give. No one wants a stressed out, cranky host or hostess. Remember you are planning what should be a joyous celebration, please keep that in mind. If you plan far enough in advance and do it with the right people it can be a fantastic, fun prelude to the event itself.
  8. Never let them see you sweat: Rarely, if ever, does one plan a perfect, flawless event. That goes for professional event planners as well. With so many moving parts, it is virtually impossible to not have a bump in the road or a hiccup. What, I believe, makes an event great is that the guests never know all the stuff that didn’t go right. Keep calm, things always have a way of working themselves out in the end.
  9. Be a guest at your own event: Set yourself up for success and leave the details during the event to others. If it is being held in your home often friends will be happy to make sure that things run smoothly or consider hiring an event coordinator. There are people all over the country that will work with you to help wrangle all the pieces together on the day of your event. You have worked hard and earned the right to be a guest at the event. Besides, it won’t be as much fun without you.


Planning events can be stressful but they don’t have to be. If you ever have a question give us a call. We are happy to listen and just like your friends, give you our opinion. Unlike your friends however, we have been doing this for 3 decades and are happy to share our expertise with you. Just like your friends we listen and provide our opinions free of charge. Our experience ranges from small, intimate one-year old birthday parties to large, scale events at Fenway park. Give us a call you will be glad you did. Whether you call us or not have a great event.


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