Over the past 17 years one of the most frequent comments I hear as a professional party planner is the stress planning an event causes. The biggest concern most people have is the amount of details, both large and small, the host and/or hostess has to address. The first step in planning a successful event is looking at all the major areas that must be addressed including budget, location, style, as well as guest lists. 호빠 Once these areas are outlined an action plan formulated and the details can be attacked.

First and foremost is setting a budget for your event. The amount you budget has implications in all further decision making steps. Have funds been set aside or are they readily available? Must the party be financed with a loan or line of credit? What is your spending limit?

Who will be invited and who has input into determining that list? Besides the immediate family and friends, will invitees include extended families, children (at what age), co-workers, neighbors?

The next most major decision may be the date of the event, place or places where it will occur, as well as the timing of the event. At your house, restaurant, banquet facility, etc? Will part of the event be held outside? Or is an unusual setting (i.e. theme park, boat, foreign country, airplane, etc.) among your options? Will the party be close to a service? Will transportation (i.e. children) needs dictate alternatives such as arranged car pooling or bus service? Will you have to provide for additional party decorations (i.e. centerpieces, balloons, etc.)? Will you have to provide security?

Will refreshments be served, and if so will they be light (i.e. just appetizers) or a partial or complete meal? Will the food selection be offered in a server only, sit down, family style or buffet selection? Are special ethnic or religious considerations required? Will drinks (including alcohol) be included? During the reception or dinner? Will dessert be included? A sweet table? Ice cream bar?

Your decision making will also stretch into determining if you have to provide entertainment (band, disk jockey, juggler, magicians, celebrity, etc.). Will you require the services of a professional photographer or videographer. Will you use a professional party planning advisor during all or part of your decision making process? Or someone to oversee the event to ensure all goes according to plan?

Trying to handle multiple tasks at the same time can indeed be overwhelming to most people. One way to minimize, not eliminate, stress is to focus on one point at a time. Your decision making process can be made easier by breaking the process into smaller, logical steps with a time table established to reach a decision for each area or level. Take it slowly and give yourself enough time to consider alternatives.