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Category Archives: Event Tips

Setting Your Party Budget

We all love to party but the planning and cost are what puts us off, so let’s talk money.

Yes! It’s all about the money, but some of us don’t like to talk about money. It’s a party after all – not a house purchase, so why draw out a spreadsheet?  However, failing to plan costs could result in going out of your way financially – which can take the fun out of the party!

Organising a cost-effective event is way more than just cake and decorations, planning a party that is both awesome and pocket-friendly is about being strategic with the cost of party items and expenses.

We are often unrealistic about party costs – particularly kids’ parties. We think these little people celebrations don’t add up in costs, but they do! For a stress-free party planning process, I strongly suggest putting aside some time to decide on a realistic budget considering some key factors. These factors may include:

  •  How many guests are expected?
  • Expectations of your fabulous guests?
  • Where exactly is the party taking place?  The location of the party should be decided in time such that when invites  are sent, the location is included helping your guest prepare mentally and clear their calendar.
  • Are you planning to give out “thanks for coming” gifts? If so, you should decide what gift items to be included and set a budget on what each will cost. The Idea is to plan what your guests will appreciate – not necessarily expensive ones, and one that will not end up in the recycle, at least not on the day of the party!
  • If the party is for kids, you should consider Parent’s attendance and catering for them. For instance, do you wish to provide some light refreshments? Also, would refreshment include wine or prosecco?  But why not, if not driving, some of us do need a glass or two to get us through those kiddie parties.

It’s good to be optimistic however, it should be within the reach and confinement of the budget.  Buying items at the most cost-effective price should be your focus as party host. There are activities you can save money on if you plan well. For example; The cake, but remember we are not all Mary Berry’s – hence why you need Dara & Joy! – however if you are planning on going on the next Great British Bake Off, by all means fire away and whip out that show stopper.

To get you on track, I’m sharing a checklist to help you in the planning of an awesome party that is both glamorous and budget-friendly. Of course, planning a party can be time-consuming – hence why we are here! Contact Dara & Joy and we will be delighted to have a friendly chat to help you with the planning process – it’s what we do best!

1. Guest Numbers

Having an estimated number of expected guests is important as it helps you to plan on the various party items. For kid’s party especially, it is important to have an idea on the number of parents that will

attend for food, catering purposes and venue size.

The number of expected kids also allows planning for the appropriate party entertainment, cake size and also the perfect venue.

2. Decide on Venue, Date and Time.

Next is to decide where the party will take place. If you’re hosting at home, don’t forget to inform your neighbors, and ask yourself can that Natuzzi take an orange juice spill without your face transforming into a dinosaur when it does! 

The date of the party should be decided by looking into how convenient it would be for yourself and your guests. For instance, a kids’ party during half term might sound like a good idea, but some families tend to be away during that time, in my experience.  My suggestion is to gauge and get a feel for who will be around.

Decide what time the party will start. Planning the timing informs the type of food catering decision, and entertainment.  A kids’ 2-hour party is fine with just one entertainer, however any longer and you might want to consider some other fun ways to keep the kids entertained. This notion also applies to adult parties such as baby showers and bridal parties.

3. Theme!

Your party should have a theme because it’s fun, and makes the planning more exciting!  Colour themed parties where a particular colour is chosen as the point of coalition of all colour touches is simple to plan yet elegant. You may also have a character theme party, Disney theme, Unicorns, Dinosaurs, Super Heroes, the list is endless. All these are a good way to set the tone of the party and adds to the fun in the planning process. Remember, if not using a planner choose a simple theme, but with Dara & Joy we love the challenge and will get to work creatively whatever theme you choose.

4. The Cake

Yay, finally the cake! Deciding on what the size of the cake will be dependent on the number of expected guests. You should also decide what kind of cake you want- whether it’s going to be a vanilla, chocolate, red velvet,  gluten free, etc.

Having the perfect cake for your party can be overwhelming sometimes – Dara & Joy however takes pride in helping you select the perfect baker that will deliver your vision.  Remember whatever you decide the cake is the final show stopper!

5. Food and Drinks

To a large extent, the expected number of invitees will determine the preparation for the foods and drinks. The timing of the party is indeed very important as well in deciding refreshment options. You should first decide on what type of refreshments you’d like to give your guests and what serving method will be employed (buffet, finger foods etc). Also, you should know if you’ll be making the food yourself or you’ll prefer to outsource the whole process so you can focus on other things. The point is, make the best cost-effective decision with quality and time in mind. If you are not outsourcing the food be true to yourself, can I really combine making that gluten free, no egg and bacon sandwiches in one hour.

7. Decoration

Fixing the decoration by yourself will help cut costs especially if you can get creative with it, but remember the decoration takes up significant amount of time. But if you can’t or the timing won’t allow you, Dara & Joy can professionally transform your location to any theme that fits your party even while making sure that the budget is light. Your decoration should be a combination of glam and being budget friendly.  The major work here is transforming the venue into a magical setting.

You should decide if you just want balloons or cake backdrops, sweet cart or any other design/party setup.  All these physical party props bring the party alive and kids will want to move around and get engaged in everything around them.

8. “Thanks for Coming” Gift

Giving after party gifts is a sure way of keeping the party memories alive. Decide on the best gift that your guest will appreciate. For kids’ parties, I personally prefer to give items that are fun and engaging, I often spend weeks thinking about the perfect gifts even for my clients. I am not a big fan of sugar high products in my thank you gifts, of course the occasional Haribo sweeties is fine, we all need a treat!

This checklist, however, is simply a guide.  Organising and planning a party should be fun, exciting and stress-free. However, sometimes life happens and we find ourselves in need of help, which is where I come in, the super hero unicorn party planner.

Heralding Imminent Changes

With the change of season comes Back to School and a perfect season for parties

My favourite number 1 Son is starting reception in September. He will be going to one of the most reputed infant schools in our area. I’m excited for my little man, but I’m also terribly nervous all at once. I am nervous about the changes that are to come, how will he cope with school? How will I cope with the new arrangement? I honestly have no idea. I’m yet to join the WhatsApp group for parents who have kids in same year. I know I will join eventually but I keep putting it off, it probably isn’t helping that I just finished S1 of Big Little Lies.

Planning parties has always been exciting for me, it’s one of the few things I do effortlessly. Hence with all the changes going on I am super excited about my first little lady party coming up end of September.

I guess you can say that September is a month of change for everyone. Of course, amidst all these changes happening in September, the seasons will also be changing. The Summer’s hot and harsh heatwave will give way to cool and breezy Autumn. 

Since I’m in the party planning business I must tell you that Autumn is a great time for parties. September affords us the possibility of switching things up a bit party wise. 

Depending on the weather, garden parties are still going to be an option this month. One of the most important things to consider when planning a party is the venue. One of the biggest things to consider is indoors or outdoors? Seeing as Autumn is fast approaching, outdoor parties will be relying very heavily on the weather.

However, even if the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor parties, indoor parties can also be had. In fact, I believe the theme comes alive even better when using an indoor venue. There are a couple of things that can really make a party come alive in an indoors venue. Some of the things I’m excited about include balloon garlands and giant size balloons. These offer you the chance to change a venue by creating multiple types of indoor experiences for your party. The balloons can be hung overhead in different exciting patterns and draw people’s attention upwards. They can also be used to create patterns on the ground, like creating a garden out of balloons.

Also, when considering indoor venues cost needs to be taken into account. Not everyone can afford to pay for the very glamorous, Kardashian-type party venues. However, that should not deter you from throwing a truly fabulous party. If a mega venue is not within your budget we can more than spice up where you’re using. Regardless of your venue, we can make it look extremely stunning for your party. Also, not only are we able to make your venue look truly glamorous, we do it all within your budget.  

The ways of brightening up and changing your party’s venue are really endless. From a balloon garland feature, to giant balloons dotted all around in unique patterns. A beautifully patterned dessert table, tastefully decorated chairs and tables with themed props. Brilliantly done lighting, cake table backdrop, bouquets of fresh flowers tastefully arranged. Any number of cost-effective ways can change any party and party venue into something worthy of Hollywood glam. You don’t have to feature all in your party, it’s about focusing on one or more and making it look absolutely spectacular. Budgets should not be allowed to rain on your parade. And we’re here to make sure you have a truly awesome party despite your budget.

So, don’t be afraid if you’ve got a party coming up and your budget seems a bit limited. We’re just a call away. And we can get about the business of helping you throw the most awesome party ever. 

September is a month of changes, and changes are usually greeted with fear. However, do not be afraid, September is just a month like any other month. And to get to September you’ve had to go through eight months already, you’ll go through this one just as successfully.

So smile! And ride into the month of September on the wings of past victories. Live! Love! Laugh!