A big party can be a festive occasion or the trigger for a nervous breakdown. If you lead a busy life already and find yourself saddled with hosting a major event -- or even a series of ongoing major events -- you may wonder how in the world you can handle all the big and little details that make each event run smoothly and entertainingly. The good news is that many of these details can be standardized and automated, enabling you to focus on your guests instead of your tasks. Here are a few tips for putting various aspects of your party management on "autopilot."
Use Email Invitation Services
The guest invitation/confirmation stage can be one of the most confusing, frustrating and time-consuming logistical bottlenecks when planning a party or other event. You may spend lots of money on stationery and postage only to find your response count is depressingly low, or you may spend hours making phone calls and leaving voice messages, which may or may not give you an accurate picture of who's coming. Email invitation services can make both the invitation process and the RSVP results much easier while giving you clearer data on which of your guests is a "Yes," "No" or Maybe," as well as how many people they're bringing with them and what food items or other goodies they'll be contributing.
There are still occasions where formal paper invitations are considered proper etiquette -- but these tend to be once-in-a-lifetime events such as weddings and major anniversaries. If you're hosting more frequent, less earthshaking affairs, email invitations are not only perfectly acceptable but can actually be highly welcome. Your invitees can reply right away from their mobile devices without even buying a stamp or dialing a phone number-- and you can plan your party accordingly after investing minimal invitation time, effort and expense.
Pre-schedule Regular Party Supply Purchases
Keeping your larder stocked for a recurring party can force you to give up much of your home to storage, with larders, freezers and refrigerators crammed with extra food and drink from the previous event or in anticipation of the next one. But the other extreme -- desperately scrambling to restock your resources in whatever spare moments you may have -- can be even more of a hassle. Fortunately, you can automate this aspect of party preparation to a great extent, ensuring that regular amounts of staple party supplies show up at your doorstep on an as-needed basis.
Online retail platforms have made it extremely simple to schedule regular orders of food, drink and other party necessities. While you may not always be able to predict the exact quantities needed at any individual event, you can look at previous consumption patterns to make a pretty close guess. Specific types of events may make the ordering requirements obvious. If you host a monthly wine tasting, for instance, you can assume that you'll want to buy Pinot Noir online from a company like Pinots Only on a regular basis. If you need supplies that are only available from your favorite local grocery store, you can also engage a grocery shopping or personal concierge service to make those regular shopping trips for you.
Automate Your Electronics
In the modern home, electronics inevitably play a role in conveying both ambiance and entertainment, from mood lighting and music to home theater presentations. But if you're busy playing host and interacting with your guests while making sure the main course isn't overdone or underdone, you may find yourself short-handed when it comes to adjusting lighting, audio or video controls -- especially in a large home or a complex transition from one phase of the party to another.
Automated home electronics can take much of this burden off of your shoulders. These systems let you adjust several electronic controls at once from a wall panel, remote control unit or even as a pre-programmed command. Examples of such a system in action might include:
- The lights in one part of a room dimming while a stronger light comes up over a scheduled presenter
- Pre-programmed music lists, including changes in volume level over the course of the event
- Automated dimming of overhead lights in sync with activation of your home theater system for movie nights
Running regular parties takes a lot of work no matter how you go about it, but there's no reason to make it any harder than necessary. Give these tips some careful consideration so you can put some of the most onerous tasks on "autopilot."