In exactly 17 days, I will celebrate my twenty first birthday. That’s right – the big two-one. Turning twenty one is considered a significant milestone in an individual’s life. In America, it’s seen as a celebration of officially becoming an adult – there’s no drinking, smoking, gambling or clubbing in the states under 21, so reaching this age is a big deal for youths. But in Australia, a person is considered a legal adult at age 18, so the intense emphasis on turning 21 seems a tad futile. Yet, here I am, two and a half weeks out from having my very own twenty first – trying not to stress about the copious amount of arrangements, deadlines and decisions awaiting me. Below is a set of essential tips which are needed when planning any sort of function.
Planning is everything. This may seem obvious, but basic planning is overlooked more often than not. People who believe events can be organised last minute are living in a fairyland. Disorganisation leads to stress and panic – which of course is not ideal. I’ve been planning my 21st for over a year now – which I feel was sufficient considering the popularity of the function centre I selected, and the set up I chose (semi-formal, sit down dinner followed by drinks). So how does one avoid unforeseeable panic attacks before their function? Consider an ideas board detailing possible themes, layouts or decorations you might like at your event. Picture the atmosphere you want for the day/night. Do you need a DJ? How’s the lighting going to look? What type of food and drinks will you serve? What’s the dress code? Knowing the answer to these questions will ensure a smooth transition into the nitty-gritty details which unfortunately, will follow.
One factor I need to stress, is for hosts to consider their guests. While you need to be happy with the arrangements yourself, the people attending your function need to be looked after too. Think about the age demographic attending, for example. If you know there’ll be a number of older people attending, provide ample seating for them. Dietary requirements should always be negotiated as well, don’t forget this seemingly minor step. Make sure you book arrangements in advance and stay afloat of them – keep track of times, dates and payments in a diary or calendar. Maintain a budget, that way all the expenses of varying elements will be taken care of. Checklists are great, especially in the event’s upcoming weeks. It’s not being anal, it’s being smart – and there’s most certainly a difference between the two. Handy hint: if you’re having a sit down function, buy a cheap whiteboard from Officeworks and plot your seating plan on there with actual table spacing. It’s easy to change around and much more visual than writing a simple list.
What I’ve struggled with the most planning my 21st, is the fact that not everyone marches to the same beat of my drum. What I’m trying to say is, not everyone is as organised as you’d hope them to be. Take RSVPS, for example. I understand people are busy and have a million other things to remember in life, which is why I was lenient when a few of my guests forgot to message me prior to my cut off date. But, if you are someone who can’t stand the thought of waiting for numbers, sorry, it comes with the gig. You either take their lack of a response as an ‘unable to attend’ or chase them up, simple. For my birthday, I knew I had to message those who hadn’t notified me due to my format being a sit down dinner. I come from a large Italian family, I’m the youngest of 14 first cousins and (almost) have 20 second cousins. So it comes as no surprise that somewhere along the line, one cousin, aunt, or uncle isn’t speaking to another. This when paying attention to detail comes into the scenario. If there are a couple of uneasy situations or tricky family/friend dynamics lurking about, look over your seating plan, make sure the two parties aren’t on the same table – simple. Be patient during this process, good things take time.
As a host, it is absolutely crucial to have authority when planning your event. I’m not just talking about being decisive with the length of your dress, flavour of your cake, or the amount of Justin Bieber songs featured in your playlist – be diligent with everything and everyone. No Uncle Dion, you can’t bring your son’s girlfriend’s step sister’s pet cat to my birthday. No Dad, we’re not having lobster for everyone’s main course… you get the gist. This is what I meant before by you being happy with the arrangements made. After all, you are the host, and hosts need to confident in their decisions and ability to run a successful event.
Remember, while it’s always a necessity to plan ahead and be prepared, sometimes you need to just sit back and let the day/night pan out on its own accord. Have faith that the event will work out and don’t sweat the small stuff (this is coming from the girl who overthinks just about every decision in life, by the way). On one last note – enjoy yourself! Just because you’re the host it doesn’t mean you can’t relish in all your hard work.
I’ll be sure to update you all on how my twenty first birthday pans out. Thanks for reading,