20th Anniversary Party Design

by Nathanael

It was such a pleasure to design this party, and I had an opportunity to put my aesthetic hand in many aspects of the production and organization process. Jennifer’s favorite color is pink and she loves Victorian themed design, so we made a neo-spring-Victorian design for the whole party. Turned out a great success!

What I learned:

• Visit the space at least once, if not multiple times before the actual set-up day.

• Keep a detailed journal, including lists, measurements, quotes, prices and contact info. That way if you forget how big the round tables are or how many they have, you will know exactly where to look.

• In many halls, the dance floor works better in the center of the space, with all the tables around it. That way everyone is close to the action, no matter where their table is situated. Also, that way the people sitting in front won’t have to squeeze their way through twenty tables to get to the food or bathroom.

• Investigate renting a helium tank instead of buying a disposable one. Our options eventually dictated the most logical purchase: Buy a disposable helium tank at $35 for 50 balloons, or rent one at $49 for 125 balloons. Easy decision. Oh, and keeping all the balloons in the same color palate or hue is usually a good way to go.

• When vendors mess up, DON’T SETTLE. Even if it’s the last minute. When the cake arrived, the design was all wrong, and we were about to just use it to avoid more hassle. But we decided to call anyway, and they immediately sent a new cake with the correct design and gave us our money back. Long story short – two sheet cakes for free. Win!

• Use as many disposable items as possible (paper doilies, disposable table cloths, etc). That way the clean up will be easier and you’ll be packing up much less than you brought.

• For the day-of set up, organize your helpers and give each person their assignment beforehand. Our set up crew included an eight-and-a-half-week pregnant woman, one other girl and myself. Many people bailed, probably because they thought we’d have enough help. People will appreciate the seriousness if they are given assignments ahead of time. Also on the subject of setting up, dedicate some time the night before to drawing up a time line. Obviously the cloths/centerpieces can’t be arranged before the tables are set up. The band can’t come in with equipment until you know where the dance floor is going to be. The food can’t arrive until you know where you’re going to put it and the tables are arranged. Knowing these things ahead of time will help determine in what order you set things up.

And lastly,

• Save all your boxes and plastic bags. You’ll need them to pack everything up.

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