Wow – we just passed the 6 month mark with our beautiful baby girl Madison, and there is so much to reflect on. For some reason, the 6 month mark was a really big deal to me. I almost wanted to throw a party! {I refrained for the big “One”} 6moAlthough there are million things to reflect on, one thing that has been troubling me, is how to prioritize and give the best of me to each section in my current life. Not only am I a new momma, but I’m now a working-outside the home-full-time-momma. And then there is that whole being a wife thing – kinda important. And then the house? And pets?? I start to spiral…

How do you give 100% to everyone? How do you divvy up your time and energy in a way that is the most healthy and productive for all? I haven’t been able to figure this out, and as time FLIES by, I am left reeling going “oh my gosh I haven’t figured anything out!”

Now I know, nobody is perfect. I’m not striving for perfection here, I know that it is not attainable and I’m OK with being imperfect. It’s honest, reality and just what needs to be done. But how do I go about organizing my time to benefit everyone {including little ‘ol me?!}

I never give myself enough, I never give my daughter enough, I never give my husband enough, I never give our pets enough, I never give our house enough, I never give GOD enough {a small prayer before dinner and before bed – WAY too little}. What is the best remedy? I need to give myself more {I would love to find time to exercise!}, I need to give my husband more, and before all things, I really need to give God more.

 

Location – the perfect setting, the great view of the mountains, the sea-breeze and epic sunset, the farm in the background…whatever setting you are envisioning to make your event perfect, there are going to be a few key things to consider before you book your dream location.

event1p

Since at this point, you should have already narrowed down your total number of guests, you should have a rough total estimate of the amount of people that you want to invite. This is essential when picking a location. You don’t want to have invites out to 100 people, if you have picked a location that only holds 50 people comfortably!

It’s good to think of a few key factors to ask or research about a location:

  1. How many people can the location hold?
  2. Do they allow outside catering and alcohol?
  3. Are you able to come in early to decorate?
  4. What are the time or noise restraints?
  5. What are the busiest seasons, blocked dates, or no availability?
  6. Do they offer cheaper rates for a Friday event, vs a Saturday event?
  7. Do they include tables, chairs, linens, anything else?

These questions will get you started in the right direction to narrow down your results for picking a location. It is a great idea to visit the location, if you are able to, so that you can see details that weren’t captured in pictures. This will also help you in planning your decor, figuring out the layout of tables and chairs, and other visual details that you need to plan.

The location sets the stage to give you and your guests the most memorable time, and wherever you choose will always have a special place in your heart.

 

guestlist

When you are at the beginning phases of planning an event, the first thing to figure out is the guest count. Whether the event is big or small will play a huge factor in how easy this major step can be. If you are planning a small birthday party or a bachelorette party, for example, this step will be easier than planning a wedding guest list.

But whatever the size of the event, this step is the most important because it effects every other part of your planning. When you determine how many guests will be invited to your event, that will secure where you can have it, what you need to plan in your budget, and how many gift bags, favors, party hats, food & catering, etc. you will need.

It is best to start big here and then get more defined. Think of everyone that you would want to come, from each side of the family or friends circles (if you need to include multiple groups of people). Once you have this list down, you can either choose to keep the list as-is (if your budget and location have space for this) or choose to start going through this list with a more conservative number of people in mind.

It can be really hard to take people off of your guest list, but if you must, you can break the list apart into the immediate family, extended family, closest friends, close friends, colleagues, etc. so that it can be easier to cut the list down, knowing you are protecting your closest guests.

Try not get too concerned and overwhelmed about hurting people’s feelings {my most difficult thing!} because in the end, you need to worry most about the meaning of the event and those that are the closest to you {and your family if applicable} to be there to cherish this special time.

As I had mentioned in my Meet Melissa section, I am a mother to 1, but 4 if you count all the pets. I looooove pets. I used to want to be a veterinarian until one {lovely} woman tried to give a bunch of 11-year-olds “the real-world picture of being a veterinarian” and decided to show us slide after slide of dead puppies. Is that really what it’s all about, crazy lady lovely woman? That quickly turned me off from my childhood dream of getting to play with said puppies all day as a career, but it didn’t take me away from my general love for animals.

When I was living out of my sorority my Senior year of college, I decided that it was time to be an adult and get my “first child” – an orange tabby cat. I had always wanted an orange tabby cat; {I had an obsession with Garfield – like “I made a Garfield and Odie etch-a-sketch masterpiece that I refused to erase” – kind of love}. We picked the cat up from a city a bit out of my college town, from a crazy cat woman fellow cat lover. She had about 10 adult cats and many random kittens crawling around her “house”. We also got to meet her two grandchildren, adorned with their own personal haircuts, who informed us that there were a few dead cats under the “house”. Instead of saying, “thanks but no thanks”, I scooped up one of the kittens, thinking how heroic I was for saving at least one, and we left. Insert Tito:tito3

Tito, teets-mageets, devil-cat, that thing, terror, tito-bandito – he is a special breed. No, literally, we found out that he is part Ocelot. Like part wild animal. No wonder he is nutso so special.

Tito, as crazy as he is, I love him to pieces. He is very unpredictable, which we are watching closely with the new {human} child, but so far he wants nothing to do with her. I think our newest {fur} baby Gunner is giving him enough torture, that he has learned to seclude himself away from us all {must be nice to be a cat}.

When you have a big, or even small, event looming in front of you, it all looks extremely overwhelming when you are staring at the big picture. The best way to tackle this event so that it is a success, is to break it out in to these {5} categories and complete the planning for each category before moving onto the next one.

Break the event out into these five categories:

5catevent

Each category is numbered in the order of priority. Try not to stress about all of the other details and plans until you’ve confirmed and are set on the previous one. Some category topics may be mixed in when you are trying to work through a prior one, which is of course perfectly fine {and helps to get some future planning done!} but try not to change categories until each one is completed.

BUDGET is obviously a huge factor in planning an event, and I didn’t put it as one of the main categories because once you have established these 5 categories, this will help you fine-tune your budget. You should already have a relative number in mind before diving in completely, but these categories will help you think about the major parts of the event when you do need to crunch numbers.

Another important factor, is if you plan to hire a photographer and/or videographer for your event. You can find companies and individuals that have a large range of prices and packages to offer. Shop around, ask around, and read reviews! Sometimes finding a photographer that has a style you like, but is newer to the business can be a risk — but also a great find! They are usually offering their services for less and will be so thankful that you are trusting them and letting them get more exposure {pun totally intended} that you may be surprised with the detail and care they take!

Planning any event {250 attendee wedding or 25 attendee birthday party} can be very stressful, but focusing on individual milestones will be the best bet for pulling off a successful event!

Have questions about planning your next event? Email me by hitting the email icon to the right, or leave a comment below!