Anniversary Planning Checklist

Anniversary Planning Checklist

First you must decide whether you are planning a large or formal anniversary party at a venue or more of an informal party at home.

Before Planning much more after your initial decision, you must decide the following:

  • Your budget
  • The number of people you think might attend
  • The date of the party

Large or Formal Anniversary Party

8 Months Ahead

  • Pick a date.  You may want to have some flexibility if you are hoping for a certain venue.
  • Determine your budget and who else may be contributing to help put on the party.
  • Gather names for your invite list.  If you are planning this party for you parents or other loved ones, remember to invite family, current friends, old friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  This will help you determine the number of guests.  Most groups have about a 75%-85% attendance rate of those invited.  A significant number of years or a large amount of out of town guests may make this percentage fluctuate up or down.
  • If you budget allows it and you could use the additional help, be sure you contact a local event planning professional to help you with planning all of your details.  The professionals make all the difference and can relieve you from a great deal of the planning pressures and day-of stresses.  Remember this person has a great deal of experience working with everyone in the area and will have helpful recommendations you should take advantage of.
  • Reserve room blocks for guests at a hotel if you are planning for a large number of out of town guests. 
  • Choose your location by checking out recommendations and visiting those locations once you have narrowed down your options.

When visiting those locations you may want to investigate the following:

  • Menu options and costs
  • Beverage options and costs
  • Gratuity and staffing costs
  • Does the venue supply the cake or can you get it from a bakery
  • Room Options and cost
  • Equipment and Linen cost
  • Set up or breakdown cost
  • Items or services included
  • Decorations included by venue and decorations allowed to be brought in
  • Entertainment/music restrictions
  • Dance floor, size, type
  • Time restrictions for room use
  • Convenient restrooms
  • Adequate parking
  • Deposit and final payment
  • Load in time for vendors (entertainment – florist – bakery)

Finalizing the Venue

  • Book the venue you decide on quickly as many places book up in advance.  If you need more time, ask your top two venues if they wouldn’t mind tentatively holding your date while you take a couple days to make a final decision.
  • If you choose a venue that does not supply food or beverage, you will need to obtain a caterer.  When doing so use the investigating questions above as they apply.

Important Vendors and Entertainment

  • Choose either a band, DJ, or other musician such as a pianist, guitarist, harpist, other strings, or saxophonist.
  • If you are not planning to hire an entertainment professional, make sure the venue has the capability to play back ground music or your own that you may have on your Ipod or CD player.
  • Once choosing your entertainment double check to be sure their contract fits all of your needs.
  • Choose your photographer.  Remember that you only have one chance to capture these wonderful moments and that if your budget allows it, a hiring a professional photographer is a must!  When doing so, be sure to ask to see samples of their work and inquire about pricing.
  • Choose your florist.  Floral arrangements always add the perfect touch.  When choosing your florist, talk to them about recommendations that they have as they are very well versed in their craft and will most likely have a lot of great ideas!
  • Choose your bakery.  Don’t forget the saying, “Wow them with dessert”.

5 Months Ahead

  • Order your invitations – be sure to have appropriate travel and location information
  • Confirm your bookings with venue and all vendors – see if they need anything from you

3 Months Ahead

  • Mail your invitations between 9-12 weeks before your event.  Make sure your RSVP date is at least 3 weeks before the event so that you can give your venue and other vendors your counts 2 weeks in advance.  Remember to update the venue and appropriate vendors if your count increases or decreases leading up to the event.
  • Decide whether you want an MC for the evening or if the band or DJ is going to take care of everything for you.  Either way, be sure you provide them with an itinerary and who will be speaking and when.  If you are going to have toasts be sure you limit them to a certain amount of time, if you know they are going to be abnormally long, make sure those doing the dinner are aware.  This will help make your transition to dinner.  We recommend you do your toasts before dinner not during dinner as you don’t want your guests food to sit in front of them and get cold.
  • Pick out decorations and other items you may need for the day of the anniversary party.  If you are planning far enough ahead, you can save yourself time and money by doing this online.
  • If it is a very formal event, be sure you have your dress or tuxedo ordered and taken care of.
  • Plan your menu and finalize details for room set up and all food and beverage service with your venue or caterers.

1 Month Ahead

  • Confirm your detail and reservations with everyone helping you.

2 Weeks Ahead

  • Call your counts into your venue and other vendors in need of this information.
  • If you are working with an event planner, check in with them to see what they need from you so that they can help you and so you can help them by providing them with everything they need in a timely manner.
  • If you have things to drop off to the venue, see when an appropriate time to do so would be.
  • If you are doing assigned seating make sure you have the room diagram from the venue.
  • Begin assigning your guests to tables.  Remember when doing your name cards with the assigned table to make sure you include a food indicator when doing entrée choices.  This will remind your guest of what they ordered and is a tremendous help to the service staff and those preparing the food.  If someone else will be putting your name cards on a name card table, make sure they are in alphabetical order.

1 Week Ahead

  • Update your counts with your venue and other vendors if your counts have changed.
  • Run last minute errands and double check your anniversary planning check list to be sure you have not forgotten anything.

Day before and Day of Event

  • Enjoy taking care of the finishing touches as you have planned everything well and in advance.  Enjoy the party!

 

Small Anniversary Party at Home

Before Planning much more after your initial decision, you must decide the following:

  • Your budget
  • The number of people you think might attend
  • The date of the party

6 Months Ahead

  • Pick a date.  Make sure important family members can make it.
  • Determine your budget and who else may be contributing to help put on the party.
  • Gather names for your invite list.  If you are planning this party for you parents or other loved ones, remember to invite family, current friends, old friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  This will help you determine the number of guests.  Most groups have about a 75%-85% attendance rate of those invited.  A significant number of years or a large amount of out of town guests may make this percentage fluctuate up or down.
  • If you budget allows it and you could use the additional help, be sure you contact a local event planning professional to help you with planning all of your details.  The professionals make all the difference and can relieve you from a great deal of the planning pressures and day-of stresses.  Remember this person has a great deal of experience and will have helpful recommendations you should take advantage of.
  • Reserve room blocks for guests at a hotel if you are planning for a large number of out of town guests. 
  • See what types of rentals may be involved with holding the party in your home (tent, tables, chairs, china, linen)
  • If you plan to have entertainment, be sure to get in booked as many entertainers book far in advance.  If you don’t plan to have outside entertainment, make sure you have the equipment to provide some sort of music.  Music really enhances the atmosphere of a party or gathering no matter how big or small.
  • If you are electing to have the food catered, contact them to find out what their abilities are and the type of menu they would recommend for you based on the type of food you would like served.  By doing this, it will allow you to focus on all of the other details involved with the party and will also allow you to really enjoy the party.

5 Months Ahead

  • Order your invitations – be sure to have appropriate travel and location information

3 Months Ahead

  • Mail your invitations between 9-12 weeks before your event.  Make sure your RSVP date is at least 3 weeks before the event so that you can give your venue and other vendors your counts 2 weeks in advance.  Remember to update the venue and appropriate vendors if your count increases or decreases leading up to the event.
  • When preparing food on your own, begin to plan your menu strategically.  Try to plan it so that you incorporate dishes that can be made in advance, frozen, and can be refrigerated for several days.  Try to plan on only a few dishes that require last minute preparation (except for cooking of course).
  • Pick out decorations and other items you may need for the day of the anniversary party.  If you are planning far enough ahead, you can save yourself time and money by doing this online.
  • Finalize details with your event planner, rental facility, or entertainment as they apply.
  • Designate someone to take pictures for the event or if you budget allows and you would like more formal pictures, call a local professional photographers they also do smaller less formal gatherings.
  • Choose your florist.  Floral arrangements always add the perfect touch.  When choosing your florist, talk to them about recommendations that they have as they are very well versed in their craft and will most likely have a lot of great ideas!
  • Choose a bakery if you are not making the cake or desserts.

1 Month Ahead

  • Confirm your detail and reservations with everyone helping you.

2 Weeks Ahead

  • Call your counts into vendors in need of this information.
  • If you are working with an event planner, check in with them to see what they need from you so that they can help you and so you can help them by providing them with everything they need in a timely manner.

1 Week Ahead

  • Update your counts with vendors if your counts have changed.
  • Run last minute errands and double check your anniversary planning check list to be sure you have not forgotten anything.

Day before and Day of Event

  • Enjoy taking care of the finishing touches as you have planned everything well and in advance.  Enjoy the party!

 

Anniversary Planning Checklist  (click to download)


Saturday, November 6th, 2010. Filed under: Tools