How-To Plan An Intimate Event, Part One: Organize Your Ideas

Something I love to do is plan an event. I love the amount of organization and attention to detail it takes to make something special happen. I got the chance to help plan my sister’s baby shower, and I thought I’d share some tips on planning an intimate event. Before we get into it, I want to share that Baby J was born in August 2021, and both mom and baby are well. 

Tip #1: Brainstorm

When you know you want to host an event, it helps to have a brainstorming session. In this session just jot down all the ideas that immediately come to mind. Don’t worry about making sense of everything in the moment, just get your immediate thoughts onto paper. Write down anything from color schemes to location, to foods. You don’t need to be specific at this moment. If you must be specific on one thing, then let it be the budget, but leave room for maneuvering within the budget. Once you get into specific details, you will be able to decide if those things fit into your budget or not. Everything else should just be your immediate ideas without refinement.

Tip #2: Organize the Storm 

After your brainstorming session you can begin to pull together concepts, themes, etc. To do so, start organizing the ideas you wrote down during your brainstorming session. Create different categories, and put your ideas into those categories, such as themes, food, entertainment, logistics, etc. Once you categorize your ideas, then you can work on being specific. Instead of finger foods, name the actual foods such as tea sandwiches, bread-bites, or chips and dip. Under entertainment, branch out to different types, such as music, games, dancefloor, etc. Then list specific needs under each subcategory. 

Tip #3: Choose A Theme 

Now that you have organized and categorized your ideas, you can pull together a theme. Do you notice a pattern with your ideas? Is there one prevailing concept that overpowers the others? Some people like to start with a theme, and plan around it, but I like to work in reverse. Sometimes, you have so many ideas that they don’t all fit the theme, and when you organize them you will find multiple themes. It’s easier to choose the right theme, instead of planning around the one theme you think you have in mind. It also helps not to fixate on one theme from the start because you might become stuck with trying to make things work based solely on that theme. 

Tip #4: Spreadsheets Are Your Friends 

So you’ve written down your ideas, you’ve organized them, put them into categories, and started choosing specific details, but they all need to go somewhere. A spreadsheet is very useful for holding your ideas and keeping track of the event details. I like to use color-coded spreadsheets that are sectioned off by categories, and then everything pertaining to that category is listed. To take it a step, or two, further, I use conditional formatting for setting the status, priority, etc. This is also the time to include the costs of everything on your spreadsheet and to decide what will take up most of your budget. For example, anything outsourced, such as the location, entertainment, and vendors will generally cost more. 

These four tips are just the beginning when planning an intimate event. The first stages are all about recognizing, organizing, and bringing your ideas front and center. While planning my sister’s baby shower, organization was key to making things happen. Once the organizing started, we were able to see the bigger picture and to formulate an answer to the many questions we had. We thought about the logistics. Below is a list of questions you might have when planning an event. Just a few of the logistics that will need to be handled. 

  • What type of event is this? Formal, informal, casual
  • When will the event take place? Dates, time frame 
  • Where will the event be held? Location, capacity 
  • What is the budget? 
  • What is the theme? 
  • What party needs fall under the selected theme? 
  • What vendors are needed? 
  • Who will set up the event and break it down? 
  • How many guests are being invited? 
  • What type of invitations will be used. When will they be delivered?
  • What special accommodations will need to be made? Food allergies/preferences, alcoholic drinks, rain dates, mask requirements (in a pandemic!), etc. 
  • What type of decor is needed? 
  • Who will provide the tables, chairs, place settings, serveware, etc? Vendors? 
  • Will tenting be needed?

*Disclaimer: All photographs on this post were taken by vendors and downloaded from gotpicz.net, and edited for this post*

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