Parties Vivian | 23 Feb 2011 10:39 pm

Small Vs Big Events – The Big Difference!

There is a huge difference between planning a party for a small group as for a crowd. If you’re considering throwing an event, be aware that your time, money, and stress investments will vary according to the size of the event you’re planning.

The biggest difference is in the details. A small, intimate gathering of your closest friends is a breeze! Whether it’s the food, the decor, the entertainment, or the location, a small party requires less time and money to be a success. But a big event for everyone you know will take weeks of planning, lots of money, and careful thought if everyone is to enjoy the occasion.

Take the small casual event – the gathering of kith and kin. Call your friends and family a few days before, and the event is on. You can change your mind about the food, the dress, the music, and most of the party details up until the day of the party. And you can make as big a fuss as you want – or as little. Your budget is controllable – have a pot luck dinner where your guests bring the food or their own booze. Have a come-as-you-are bash where no dress code applies. Let your guests choose the entertainment after they arrive. Go with the flow! It’ll be fun as long as you are happy host or hostess.

But be prepared for the large event – the fancy reception or gala ball. Invitations will most likely be printed and delivered at least a month in advance. You’ll have to rent a hall or find a location with plenty of space for dining and dancing, not to mention storage space for coats and purses. You’ll probably want to hire a band or chamber orchestra. You’ll need flowers and coordinated decorations. A caterer will save you a lot of work – no guests bringing their own food to this bash! But your caterer will need a well-planned menu and no late changes of mind. You’ll want to provide libations, perhaps an open bar.

If your event involves a sit-down dinner, you’ll have to think seriously about seating arrangements. Best not to have two people who can’t stand each other at the same table. You’ll need to settle on table decor, tableware, serving processes, waiters, cooks, and that oh-so-special dessert.

With small events, you can attend to every detail with little stress. You can choose to spend as little or as much as you can afford. But with large events, you can’t handle all the details. No matter who makes the decisions, the event details will have to be decided far in advance of the actual event. You’ll have to get others to volunteer to help, or you’ll have to hire professionals to make the event a success. Your budget is likely to be substantial, although you may be able to take advantage of bulk discounts on many items. Professional party planners may be able to get special deals for you, especially if you’re likely to be a good reference later on.

With smaller events, you can take it as it comes – decisions may change from day to day with no consequences. But for a large event, your decisions early on will dictate costs, and changing your mind may get very expensive. Ask yourself why you’re throwing this bash. Do you want to win a new client? Impress the future in-laws? Get your name in the social section of the newspaper? Make your long-lost uncle feel welcomed home?

Once you’ve established the purpose of your event, many of the decisions will be made for you. If you haven’t taken on a large gathering before, it’s probably a good idea to get advice from a professional event planner. You can hire them as a simple consultant to save money, or let them handle everything to save stress. Though your expenses will be substantial for any large event, your energy level and the willingness of friends and loved ones to help can save you a bundle.

Think. Think. Think. Your event expresses your personality, your taste, and your ability. The more thought you put into it beforehand, the more successful your event is likely to be. Most of all, let them leave laughing!

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