ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Plan a Large Birthday Party or Any Type of Party for 50 or More Guests

Updated on June 25, 2012

Planning a party, whether it's an intimate gathering or a blowout bash, can be stressful. From choosing a venue, to planning/purchasing/cooking the food, to decorating, all while maintaining a budget, there's a lot to consider. Coordinating a party with a guest list totaling 50 or more can be especially overwhelming.

For anyone thinking about hosting a large party, here are a few tips to help reduce stress and stay sane during the process.

These simple centerpieces incorporate mason jars, candles, sand, mirror tiles and a few clear marbles and make an elegant but inexpensive decoration.
These simple centerpieces incorporate mason jars, candles, sand, mirror tiles and a few clear marbles and make an elegant but inexpensive decoration.

The Planning Phase

• Don't delay this stage. Waiting until the last minute to plan your celebration will only cause more stress later on. Start planning at least two to three months in advance. Make a list of the different elements - invitees, food, decorations, venue, etc. - and set a deadline to complete each one. The venue and time of the party will obviously need to be decided first, in order to include that information on the invitations. If there is a theme, go ahead and plan that out so you can notify guests in their invitations as far as what to expect, what to wear, etc.

• When selecting a venue, ask questions until you can think of no more to ask. How many hours will you have the room, does that include prep time and clean up, is cleaning service provided or will you be responsible for part or all of that, what items are provided (I had to bring my own trash bags for a recent party I hosted at the fellowship hall of a local church), if there is a kitchen, will you have full access, do all the appliances work and will the refrigerator be cleaned out before the party so you have ample room to store food. If reality doesn't measure up to what was promised, call the person in charge and let them know. I was told the refrigerator would be cleaned out prior to my party, but fortunately, I arrived at the venue for a second look about a week in advance, and the fridge was jam packed and reeked of leftovers. I contacted the person in charge and she had it cleaned out the next day, and we had plenty of space the day of the party.

• Brainstorm about creative ways to use supplies you already have on hand. For my mother's 70th surprise birthday party, we used mason jars as candle holders. We placed sand in the jar to hold the candle steady, tied sheer ribbon around the jar mouths and placed them on mirror tiles as table décor. Simple, cheap and beautiful!

• Clip coupons, hunt for bargains and figure out how to save money any way you can while still hosting a classy event. Know what you'll serve and how you'll decorate plenty of time in advance so you can be on the lookout for deals. We did a photo montage of my mother throughout her life for just the cost of poster board and wall putty. The 4X6 photos were offered free from CVS in exchange signing up as a member on the store's website. Two family members signed up and got a total of 50 photos for free. People loved laughing at my mom's 60s-era beehive and her bathing suit shots!

• Accept help if it's offered, and don't be afraid to ask if it's not. This is tough to do sometimes, but planning and executing a large party takes work, and it's more than one person can do. Once family and friends receive invites, at least a few are likely to offer to help plan, set up or bring food and drinks. Don't feel guilty about saying, 'Yes, thank you, I'd love to have your help.' If they didn't want to, they wouldn't ask!

• Set an ideal budget and an absolute maximum budget. Try to stay within the ideal and do not go over the maximum under any circumstances. If you're near to crossing that line, find areas you can cut back on or substitute cheaper alternatives.

• Don't forget your gift if you're giving one. This seems like a no-brainer, but it's very easy to get caught up in all the planning and forget the basic stuff.

For a birthday party, a photo montage of the guest of honor's life is a fun treat for everyone!
For a birthday party, a photo montage of the guest of honor's life is a fun treat for everyone!

The Big Day

• Get there early. Very early. Better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. When I arrived for my mom's party, two men were in the venue installing an electrical wire in the kitchen. That wasn't part of the plan. It turned out alright, but by arriving early I alerted them that they'd need to be out very quickly and assured that we'd have enough set up time.

• Take cleaning supplies, including dish rags and dish soap. It's easier and less messy to clean at the site than hauling dirty dishes home. Take glass cleaner and other generic cleaners as well, just in case you walk into a mess. Even if the venue manager has promised things will be in order, if it's just a room you're renting and there's no one on site that day - for example, at the fellowship hall of a church on a Saturday - you could get stuck with a messy room and no way to clean it. Be prepared and arrive early, so you'll have time to spruce things up.

• Take storage containers for leftover food. This is one step i forgot, and I wound up having to throw away a lot of perfectly good food. The guest of honor and those who helped host and set up the party should get first dibs on leftovers.

• Have a plan as to when to cut the cake, open gifts, play games, etc. It's easy for time to get away from you when you're chatting with everyone. if you're too busy as the hostess to keep track of the hour, designate a timekeeper to notify everyone when the next phase of the party is beginning.

• Don't give in to others' demands. If guests are rushing you to get the cake cut because they have somewhere to be, for example, politely inform them that it's not time to do that yet. They can set the schedule when they throw a party, but they have no right to dictate how you run things.

• Accept that things will not be perfect, whatever your version of perfect may be. Perfection does not exist in this world. Have an ideal and aim for it, but know that there will be mishaps and unexpected obstacles to overcome. Aim for an enjoyable day, and focus on how the day met that expectation, versus how it fell short of your fantasy.

• Finally, take time to breathe and absorb the atmosphere, even if only for a moment. Spend a few moments with the guest of honor. This is his or her day. It's easy to lose site of that, especially when you're focused on making sure everything is in order. Don't waste all that planning by missing out on the actual event!

© 2012 Crystal Tatum


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Crystal Tatum profile imageAUTHOR

      Crystal Tatum 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading Mommy Needs a Nap!

    • Mommy Needs a Nap profile image

      Michelle Clairday 

      7 years ago from Arkansas

      Very useful information. Thank you.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      8 years ago from Planet Earth

      Such good advice, to come prepared for little problems, and of course, to take time to enjoy it yourself! I'm really bad about not accepting help - I need to remember that pointer. Voted up and useful.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)