Choose what type of food to be served at the event.  Would a buffet be best, or is a sit down dinner preferred?  Again decisions may also be determined by your budget.  Obtain referrals from others, or shop on the internet or by phone.  Perhaps the family would like to cook the food to help contribute to the event.  Make sure the venue permits individuals who are not licensed to bring in food.
Be aware of everything that is or is not included such as tea or a beverage, ice cups, plates, utensils, napkins, salt & pepper, bread, etc.  Will anything be needed to keep food hot or cold until served?  Will there be tables or a room from which to serve from?  How long will they be permitted to serve, and what happens if there is food left over, will you be permitted to take it home?  Will you have to furnish containers in case there is an excess of food to take home?


Will you be contracting someone to create an ice sculpture or set up a chocolate or chamoy fountain with fruit?  Make sure ice sculpture has a draining tray with a hose that drains into a bucket of some sort.  A melting sculpture can be hazardous if the water has no where to drain to as the sculpture melts. 
Having someone attend to a chocolate or chamoy fountains is ideal to keep little hands out of chocolate or possibly having a huge mess .


Select and register with a store that offers formal wear for anyone needing formal attire.  Give everyone enough time to get fitted, order dresses that are not in stock, and for any alteration that may be needed.  For Debuts, one might just ask the court to wear a specific color dress, slacks, shirt and tie and avoid special ordering anything to keep it simple.  In making this choice, the court can always wear that outfit for any other occasion and would be more cost effective.


Shop around or seek referrals for baked goods for cake, cupcakes, cookies etc.  Visit locations and schedule for taste sampling.  Determine who will be on hand to cut and serve the cake.  Having cupcakes would eliminate the need for plates, forks, knife etc.  Cupcake stands can be built, purchased, or rented to hold the cupcakes


Jars filled with candy to have available for guest has gained popularity.  Guests can help themselves to candies displayed and can be fun.   A good rule of thumb is to have an adult supervise these goodie treats to assure that little ones do not spill the sweets onto the floor.


Select invitations from the internet, print shop, or create them on computer.  Many craft stores including Hobby Lobby, Target and Walmart sell invitations that come with instructions to print them from home.  Address them and send them out with plenty of time (6 weeks is typical) so your guests can save the date on their calendars and so that lodging accommodations can be made if necessary. 

Additional questions to ask:
1. What are the rental hours and can they be extended?
2.  Are securities included in rental fee?
3.  Is one able to bring in outside catering or can the family cater the food?
4.  Can a keg of beer be brought and served during reception?
5.  Can guests bring in their own hard  liquor?
6. Can one select their own decorators or does the venue include linen and decorations?
7.  Does venue include tables and chairs, and what is the quantity?
8.  Is the cleaning of venue part of the rental fee?
9.  Hours for decorating?
10. Are there any restrictions on decor?
11. Are there any additional fees involved?



Decide whether to have a DJ, live band or mariachis.  Check if either one will help make announcements such as when its time  to have the father/daughter dance, groom and brides first dance together, surprise dance, cutting of cake etc.  If selecting a DJ, will they help motivate guests to dance?  Will the DJ meet with you to obtain a play list of specific songs that are to be played for those special moments?  Is the sound system large enough for the venue, and will they have the volume at a level guests can still enjoy conversation during the dance.  Guests should not have to shout to one another during the dance.

It would be a good idea to visit a venue they are performing at to get a feel of how entertaining they are.  The last thing one wants is to have a non-exciting event, with minimal lighting, music no one wants to dance to, and no way to announce those special moments you want to share with your guests. 

Have the DJ help keep you on track for special dance, toast, cake cutting, etc.  time gets away very quickly and you don't want to miss any special moments.  Keep in mind that anyone can play music, it takes a professional entertainer to help create "FUN" at your event.


Make sure to keep contracts and receipts for all services contracted in a binder to keep track of everything.  It will help you to remember if there are any balances owed, and payments made for various services.  Keep phone numbers handy in case a contracted party needs to be contacted on the day of the event.  Having phone numbers handy can relieve stress if someone contracted does not arrive when expected.  


Pinterest on the internet, has some wonderful ideas for décor, color schemes, and DIY ideas.  Seek information there based on a preferred color or idea, and you are bound  to find a vast amount of inspiration.  It is a great site to save ideas and to share with those who may be helping to plan the event along with you.

Where to begin when planning a party

Event planning can be quite overwhelming especially if this is the first time you are planning a party, or social gathering.  Even a simple event can get out of hand without proper preparation.  Included on this page are tips on planning a successful event.  



Choose a specific date you plan to celebrate your event; keep in mind of any holidays that may occur during that day.  If you are planning an event with a religious ceremony, contact your church to see if target date is available, and to check church requirements.  An alternative to having a ceremony at church is to have a ceremony or blessing at a nice outdoor location, or speak with the pastor of a church, or an officiate about the possibility of performing the ceremony at the reception hall.   

  Will you be writing your own vows to one another, or thank you speech to your parents and sponsors?  Make sure to keep a copy of the vows or speech to keep as a memento.


Meet with your family to decide your budget for the event.  If family members offer to help as sponsors, keep in mind that sponsors do not always come through financially.  As well intended as they may have been when they offered or agreed to help financially, sponsors should not be solely relied upon to bring the event together.  It can be a awkward when trying to collect monies from them.  Have a backup plan in case sponsors fall short of help.  Know that you yourself are fore mostly  responsible in financing the event, having others help should be secondary. 

For those planning Quinceaneras, know what your budget is and explain to the Quinceanera what you have to work with.  Let her help seek out services based on the budget.  This will teach her what all can be afforded, and so that expectation will not be higher than one can afford.


Compile a list of friends and family members to be invited.  Knowing how many guests need to be accommodated will help you determine which venue is optimal.



Inquire on actual seating capacity as opposed to the capacity of the room.  Make sure there is plenty of parking.

Research magazines or internet to help you determine what traditions you want to incorporate into your ceremony or event.  Some ideas can help add those special touches that will help make your event personal and memorable.

EVENT CENTERS and ballrooms