In the hustle and bustle that makes up our everyday lives, I find it’s important to plan time to be with my friends. As ladies, we often don’t have such defined hobbies, like fishing, so making time to hang out with the girls is really important. If you don’t pencil some dates into your calendar you can miss out altogether on some precious fun. I love meeting one to one with my girlfriends to catch up and find out all the latest news but there is nothing like the excitement of planning a proper party.
Knowing what an amazing job all the ladies in my life do of juggling everything and always looking stylish, never missing a birthday and being wonderful wives and girlfriends, I thought I would share a few of my top tips for planning the perfect girls’event. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is: Hen’s Night, Birthday celebration or just because, make it your own and hopefully my insights will save you a bit of time and make your party fabulous and something to remember.
Set the tone with a beautiful invitation.
My preference – and I am positive you would agree – is to send out a beautiful letter invite. Whether it’s one that is purchased or custom made, it’s always lovely to receive something in the post. One of my favorite New Zealand designers to use is The Fox and Swan for custom invitations. However, you may be a bit short of time, have a lot of people to invite or maybe some are overseas, then what to do? I suggest that you either design something pretty to send through email with the help of something like Picmonkey or use an e-vite service such as Paperless Post.
Photo Credit : The Fox and Swan
Choose a fabulous location.
Selecting the right place to gather the girls could make or break the whole affair. This might be using someone’s stunning home and garden, searching for a venue that has the right size space for hire, or you may even consider booking a holiday rental for the day.
When choosing the ideal setting, at the top of my checklist for ANY event are these three essentials:
- Are people fed and watered to the required standard?
- Are they warm or cool enough?
- Are there enough places to take a seat?
I have worked on a huge variety of events at all levels and if you ensure to cover these three essentials the rest will almost take care of itself.
If you get stuck you can always talk to me too, Mr. Edwards and I know of some amazing secret locations around New Zealand for any-sized event. Closer to home I love Boomrock in Wellington – imagine a Sunday afternoon in the country, everyone cosy around the fire as the sun goes down and looking out over the Cook Straight towards the South Island – it’s magic! There’s also Foxtail, a smaller part of Foxglove, on the Wellington Waterfront or The Roxy in Miramar which is a great spot for a larger party and you can ask everyone to dress up to the nines. If these don’t suit, you can always try Airbnb for a chic city rental. Internationally I have worked at some amazing private clubs and luxury hotels, it’s always worth pushing the boat on the location, the more ooh’s and ahh’s the better if you are chief in charge.
Photo Credit : Marcos Sanchez at Brody Club, Budapest
Creating the mood and ambiance for the event is something you will want to spend time working on. This could be booking live entertainment – such as Graeme James, a fabulous live musician from Wellington who works all over NZ. Live entertainment will be worth every penny and so much better than a playlist! Thinking it may be more of a dance party? Get a DJ for the night, like someone from Hype Entertainment. Andy and the team are full of energy and they have a sleek modern set up, with lights and all.
If you have a group of newly acquainted friends, then having a few planned activities up your sleeve is a good idea. A flower workshop, a baking session or a burlesque dance class, like the kind they host at Studio L’amour, all sound like fun to me! There are so many ideas out there that don’t involve embarrassing games, so make it personal and tailor it to your group.
Photo Credit : Izzy Austin at Boomrock, Wellington
Spend Money on the Catering
Whatever your budget is, spend a large proportion of it on the food and drink. If you haven’t got a lot of pennies to play with then keeping things simple is the way to go. A plentiful family style lunch or buffet will always be much nicer than a plated meal that you have squeezed into the budget. You can add a few nice touches like edible flowers in salads and even serving on nice platters will add so much to the experience. Be mindful that getting the professionals in will always be the easy option and they will take much of the stress out of things for you. Leaving you more time to get ready, dress the venue, and look after your guests. If you are looking for a fresh contemporary menu, top of my list are the super cool team at The Catering Studio, (they also run Egmont Street Eatery and Sterling). For your drinks choices, you can’t go wrong with champagne, and a blush pink cocktail, and try serving water with fruit slices and herbs or sparkling water to make even the necessary details pretty and thought out.
Photo Credit : Courtney Horwood – Location : Pilkingtons, Auckland – Jelly centerpiece : The Jellyologist – Floral Top : Trelise Cooper – Dress : Kelsey Genna – Jeweler : Partridge
Photo Credit : Julia Trotti – Location : Mantells, Wanaka and one of my favourite tipples to share with the girls from Aurum Wines
Decorate for the Occasion
Decorating and styling are a huge part of creating your atmosphere, so stock up on flowers and candles, gather your best tablecloths and let your creativity go wild! There are no rules with a party as you don’t have to agonise of over designs like you would for a wedding. Start with a mood board, see what others have done and curate a look you know you can achieve. Make sure you think about when you will do any setting up, as you might not have time and may need to get the professionals in (Feel Free To Call Me !). It’s always worth getting a quote from someone as they will most likely have lots of things you can add to your look in the way of props and other items for decorating, and you won’t have to buy them – which in the long run could save money and again it will leave you more time for having fun and drinking champagne.
Photo Credit : Courtney Horwood – Location : Pilkingtons, Auckland – Vase : Dawn Clayden – Tableware : Kartell
Extra Tip : For the Hen’s Party
If you are planning a Hen’s Party, it’s always a nice touch to make sure you include all the members of the Bride and Groom’s family. This might mean starting the day with a ladies brunch that everyone can attend before heading off to do something a little more racy. As a surprise, why not get in touch with the Groom and plan a gift with a handwritten card from him to be given to the Bride at the party or consider having him make a brief appearance at your event where he can share some romantic words and make his Bride blush, and most likely leave the rest of you in tears of happiness for your friend, of course.
It’s always fun to have a party and to plan it, but don’t let it get too difficult or overwhelming that it is no longer something you are looking forward to.
You’re marking a special occasion, so make sure you get to enjoy it as much as your guests will. All it takes is a little prep beforehand and getting the right people on board to ensure everything runs smoothly, DELEGATE and if you do have a few mishaps, laugh them off and at least you will have some good stories to tell and reminisce over later.
Right, I better check the calendar for my next party….I feel ready to go.