We always focus on the planning part of throwing a party or event ? Everything that is before the party, but rarely do we focus on what happens while the party is going on.

The truth is, we can plan everything down to the detail, but the party is actually about what happens at the party ? not the planning you have put into it. If you spend all of your time planning decorations, invitations, arranging food and following up on RSVPs, when it actually comes party time, we as hosts can be disorganized and (gasp!) look bad to our guests or attendees.

One of the best ways to control the flow of your party before the party is to set out a party agenda ? what is going to happen and when. Having a schedule for your party really brings purpose to your party or event, and keeps everything on track and organized, so your guests don’t feel as though you are ?winging it? or disorganized, leaving them standing around waiting for the next thing to happen.

This is actually trickier than it sounds. It’s hard enough to stick to a schedule when you are just one person ? but as a party or event planner, you are trying to keep everyone on your schedule. When I facilitate a murder mystery event with a large group, I keep a very close eye on the clock, and set everyone’s expectations accordingly).

To help set out your party schedule, you first need to know what is the ?main event?. This is the apex of your party or event. When I host a mystery party, the apex of the party is, of course, the Big Reveal, when the murderer is revealed, those who guessed correctly high five, those who didn’t insist they knew the killer, and then we give away prizes (because prizes is how I roll). Knowing ahead of time that I want the Big Reveal to happen around 9:00 pm allows me to work backwards and set the time for everything else: 30 minutes to cast accusations and The Big Reveal, 1 hour for investigations, 30 minutes for the Announcement of murder and suspect introductions ? this means that the mystery begins at 7pm so….. doors open at 6pm. Voila!

Not only will your party agenda help your party to flow properly from start to finish, it will also aid in all of your other planning. For example, now that I have worked backwards from my party pinnacle, I know that the food should come out between 6:00 and 6:15pm so people can mingle and eat, that the bartender needs to arrive before six to set up, and that, for my public events, the start time on the tickets should read ?Doors open at 6pm, mystery begins at 7:00pm sharp?. I also know that the food should be refreshed or dessert trays brought out around 7:45 or 8pm.

Working backwards from this apex, or pinnacle of your party is key, and it’s as easy as deciding what time you want the apex of the party to occur. Not sure when your pinnacle should occur? Try to plan the apex of your party around 3/4 of the way through.

Setting a party agenda as part of your planning can be easy to do, and keep you on track when the guests finally arrive and the party is in full swing, but can also make the rest of your planning fall into place. Put a bit of time into getting your party schedule clear in your head, to keep your party on track and, of course, ensure you come out as the glittering, flawless host!

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