Are wedding invitations giving you migraines? Does the idea of putting on your child's seventh birthday party fill you with fear?
Does the very mention of themes, catering and budget make you want to pick up the phone and call a professional party organiser?
Before you decide it's all too much there could be a solution.
Kathryn Porritt, the woman behind popular online party shop pinkfrosting.com.au and the author of The Party Book, shares her tips for creating a stylish, budget-friendly occasion for every celebration.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS ON DECIDING ON THE RIGHT VENUE?
A. The first one really comes down to budget. I think that's got to be a number one priority because there's no point thinking that you're going to have a baby shower at the Opera House.
You need to be realistic about what you can afford to do and you need to look at how many people are coming and how many people the venue can serve, what the catering's like there, what the drink menu's like and how affordable that is for you.
A lot of historical venues won't allow you to have red wine and a lot of churches won't allow fresh petals so there's a lot of rules and regulations.
There's a lot of things you need to take into consideration but really the number one priority is "does it fit your budget?"
Q. DO YOU THINK SOME PEOPLE FORGET ABOUT A BUDGET?
A. I think so. I think for all types of parties people can forget just how much is involved in it.
The biggest celebration of most people's lives is their wedding and I think people are just blown away that the average Aussie wedding is somewhere in the vicinity of $35,000 now ... but there's so many elements involved in it.
Even for smaller celebrations you really need to sit down and plan out the food, the decorations, the invitations, the venue costs, the drink costs.
If you've got a larger party you might even need to look into security.
Q. SOME PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH A THEME; DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR THEM?
A. I think the big thing to do is to sit down and really think about what you want the celebration to feel like.
Imagine yourself being a guest arriving at the venue - whether it's a baby shower, a christening, a child's birthday party, or a wedding - think about what you want the guests to be feeling as they arrive and then you can take that theme right through.
I love themes for weddings and kids' parties and all sorts of celebrations ... but I also don't think it's necessary.
If you're not driven by a particular feel or theme you can certainly think about colour schemes for example.
Q. IS THERE ANY WAY WE CAN KEEP GUEST NUMBERS DOWN AND NOT OFFEND ANYONE?
A. It's probably the trickiest part of organising any sort of celebration because I think you need to accept that there's a limit to what you can do and that it's likely that you're going to offend someone, or have someone miss out, but I think most people understand budget restraints and venue restraints.
My big tip with the guest list is try and keep it as low as you possibly can unless you've got an unlimited budget.
Start with the people that you absolutely must have there. Also think about people who are the life of the party ... because they're really going to help with the atmosphere and feeling of the party and the celebration.
Q. WHEN CHOOSING TRADITIONAL OR DIGITAL INVITATIONS, IS THERE ONE THAT WORKS BETTER?
A. I'm not a fan of digital invitations. If you're going to take the time to put on a celebration (the invitation) sets the scene for the party and you should invest even just a couple of dollars in a handwritten invitation.
It doesn't have to be expensive but the delight that it gives the guest is worth its weight in gold.
Q. HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO RSVP ON TIME?
A. I don't know the answer to that. I'm absolutely horrified that brides and grooms take the time to send out not only an invitation but a response card with a stamped self-addressed envelope included and people still don't send them back.
I just think it's the height of rudeness and I can't understand it.
But I think you just generally have to accept that for whatever reason ... if you're putting on any sort of party you are going to inevitably have to call people to see whether they're coming or not.
Q. CATERING CAN BE DIFFICULT; DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR CHOOSING FOOD THAT WILL KEEP EVERYONE HAPPY?
A. The first thing is try and understand from your guest list if there's anyone with allergies or intolerances to food. I think that's number one priority.
Again, it's an inevitable part of hosting a celebration that you're going to have to cater for people who are vegetarian, who can't eat wheat, dairy, nuts, all of those sorts of things.My second big tip with catering, particularly if you're going to do it yourself, is do as much preparation work as you possibly can beforehand. Don't try anything new, weird and wonderful and test it out on the people at your party.
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