In a Hiring Mood
Let others do the work while you focus your attention on guests
If the amount of planning, preparation, execution and cleanup involved is holding you back from hosting a party, perhaps you just need to consider what duties you can farm out. Sure, it will cost you more to hire people to perform various services, but you’ll save yourself time and potential stress and will be able to concentrate on enjoying the company of your guests. You can hire someone to oversee every detail or hire people to perform specific tasks.
If you are inviting 50 or more guests, you should start thinking about hiring a professional event planner, says Dee Gaubert, owner of No Worries Event Planning in Tarzana and an Event Planning Association member who offers workshops for aspiring planners. Ask people who have recently had an event if they had a professional planner and, if so, whether they were happy with that individual or company. Or search online; many professional planners have websites describing the range of services they provide.
“Interview two or three. Ask them questions about logistics and their experience. Look at their portfolio. Ask them their strategies about how to implement successful events,” Dee recommends. “Once you go through the questions, it’s really about making sure they have good references and that they have a personality you like.”
You also can hire individual service providers yourself.
“With caterers, you want to find out what they’re going to serve. It’s nice to see how creative they are with your ideas. Interview two or three,” Dee says. “Before you book them, it’s best to see if they provide a tasting. That way you know for sure what you’re getting.” Caterers often provide bartenders and servers; but if they don’t, you can ask them for recommendations. If you are providing your own food but want bar service, call a
local staffing company.
“Typically, it’s way less ex-pensive to provide your own alcohol products, but you have to make sure you have the mixes, garnishes, stirrers, etc.,” Dee says, “so you may just want to pay more for complete bar service.”
As much as you want to greet guests individually, you don’t want to spend your party posted at the front door. If you hire an event planner or caterer, they may be able to provide someone to answer the door and accept host gifts. If not, secure an individual through a staffing company.
Another common service is a parking valet, especially for homeowners hosting a fundraising event, which typically involves a larger crowd.
“I would recommend a valet for a guest count of 50 or higher or if it’s a challenging location such as a hilly street or a neighborhood with limited street parking,” Dee says. She suggests asking valet providers if they have worked in your neighborhood before. More importantly, find out about their overall experience and be sure they have adequate insurance.
“It’s important that vendors you hire add you as an additional insured on their certificate of liability,” Dee says. “And call your insurance agent to secure your own one-day rider on your homeowners policy.”
If you’re hosting a wedding, there’s little doubt you’ll hire a photographer — and possibly even a videographer. Photographs of fundraising events prove valuable for acknowledging supporters and, when they occur on an annual basis, promoting the fundraiser the following year. But you may just want to capture a party with family and friends for posterity, especially if your event is celebrating a momentous occasion like your auntie’s 90th birthday.
You could take photos yourself. But in the midst of goings-on, the responsibility of memorializing your soirée will draw your attention away from being totally vested in the scene. As with other service providers, ask for referrals to find a professional you can trust. Look at their coverage
of a complete event. Then, Dee says, “it’s a matter of making sure you like their personality and their pricing makes sense for your budget.”
When the party’s over, especially if it’s a large event, the last thing you want to do is pick up trash, wrap leftovers and wash sink load after sink load of glasses and dishes. Caterers will do their portion of cleaning up, but a cleaning service can come in the next day and make short order of whatever needs to be done to return your home to its pre-event state. In fact, why not include pre-event cleaning as part of the services you hire? Then you’ll have time for a morning round of golf or a spa visit to make you relaxed and ready for company.