Event Planning & Management

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.

CERTIFICATE PROGRAM IN
EVENT MANAGEMENT

MODULE FOUR

SOCIAL EVENTS

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE
OF EVENT MANAGEMENT

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.

MODULE FOUR: SOCIAL EVENTS …………………………………………………….. 1

BIRTHDAY PLANNING …………………………………………………………………………………………… 1

ANNIVERSARY PARTIES …………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

FAMILY REUNIONS …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16

BABY SHOWERS …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23

MODULE FOUR: ASSIGNMENTS …………………………………………………………………………….. 32

MODULE FOUR: SOCIAL EVENTS

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
1

THOSE WHO LOOK ONLY TO THE PAST OR
PRESENT, ARE CERTAIN TO MISS THE FUTURE.
– John F. Kennedy

BIRTHDAY PLANNING

Birthday parties are amongst the most common events planned by event managers.

These are relatively easy to plan and since birthdays are not seasonal, these can be a

good source of secondary revenue. Event managers usually manage such parties when

there is brief downtime between larger events. Let your creativity shine in planning all

elements from invitations to party favors. Create a checklist so that you don’t miss any

of the basic components.

The theme of the party should reflect the personality of the person for whom the party is

organized. The basic components of a birthday party are:

 Invitations

 Decorations

 Cake

 Party favors

 Prizes

 Food

 Paper supplies

 Activities

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
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 Gift opening

 Thank-you notes

Most of today’s birthday parties are themed parties. Make sure that you involve the

birthday person while planning the party, and never be tempted to choose a theme that

does not appeal to that person. It is always a good idea to test games or activities

before the party to get an estimate of the things needed and the time required for each

activity.

Give yourself plenty of time to plan the party; a month or two is recommended. Convene

a kick-off meeting with your client and get answers to these questions:

 Is there a preferred theme for the party?

 Will the party be at an indoor or outdoor location?

 How many guests will be attending the party?

 Is there a preference for the kind of cake?

 Will there be meals served or just snacks?

 Are there any dietary restrictions?

 Will any family member participate in the planning process?

 Will they be giving out party favors?

 What is the budget for the event?

 Who is the final decision maker if there are differing opinions?

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
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Remember that the birthday-party business is a fast-growing industry and there are

limitless opportunities for an event manager to specialize in this field. In today’s busy

world, parents and families are always on the lookout for experienced event planners to

create a party that can give them memories for a lifetime.

ANNIVERSARY PARTIES

An anniversary party is a very special event and many people look forward to this

occasion. Whether it is a one year or a fifty year anniversary party, the party itself

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
4

should be very special for the couple celebrating

their anniversary. Therefore, the invitations used

for this event should also be very special and

inviting.

Over the years, planning for an anniversary party

was considered an easy task. The ever growing

varieties of anniversary party supplies and ideas

that are available have made the planning process

more complicated. Some anniversary parties are

planned and organized months or even years in

advance. Most often the planning begins very

early to give plenty of time and an abundance of

opportunities to choose anniversary party supplies. One of the most important

anniversary items for the party are the anniversary party invitations. More often than

not, anniversary party invitations are very special and personal.

Planning an anniversary party can sometimes be very challenging. One of the biggest

difficulties can be choosing a theme that reflects the tastes and preferences of both

partners in the marriage. Find out if the client wants a big party or an intimate gathering

of friends and family. Budget is another factor determining the size of the event. Many

couples wish to renew their vows and to hold a larger party resembling a wedding

reception, with appropriate catering, decor, music, flowers, speeches, cake, and

photography. Wedding albums and memorabilia from the couple’s lives are usually

displayed at the party.

CONSIDER
THIS..

Over the years, planning for

an anniversary party was

considered an easy task.

The ever growing varieties

of anniversary party

supplies and ideas that are

available have made the

planning process more

complicated.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
5

Before beginning to plan the party, make sure that its objectives are clear. Use the

following questions as a guideline to focus your discussion:

 What anniversary is being celebrated?

 How many guests are expected?

 What are the couple’s interests and hobbies?

 Will children be invited? How many?

 What are the clients’ preferences in decor, food, location, cake, entertainment,

and favors?

 Are there any other preferences to be considered? For example, do they plan to

renew their vows; do they wish to have a dance, etc.?

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
6

CELEBRATING THOSE MI LESTONES

FIFTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

Five years of togetherness, of companionship and of

a happy married life. A relationship is perhaps the

most important thing in our lives and if someone has

survived for 5 beautiful years, it sure calls for a

celebration. These five years have given them some

of the best moments of their life and at this wedding

party; you need to raise a toast to them.

Every party has three things in common, the food,

the guests and a celebration. The idea in these

options is to do something different, something

unique, and something you perhaps haven’t done

before.

Celebration at home

A party planned at home is always the first option in all the 5 year wedding anniversary

party celebrations. Not many couples look for a grand celebration on their 5th wedding

anniversary. The spouse can throw a surprise party for the other partner using your

help. Depending on the number of people, you can either order the food or you can

reach out to close friends and family to organize a potluck.

CONSIDER
THIS..

Every party has three

things in common, the food,

the guests and a

celebration. The idea in

these options is to do

something different,

something unique, and

something you perhaps

haven’t done before.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
7

Create a Theme

There are a number of themes to chose from for the fifth anniversary party, ranging from

a carnival theme, to retro to an interest shares by both. A themed party is always a lot

of fun for everyone. You can make the decorations and prepare the food in relevance to

the theme you decide. This way, even the guests can get involved in preparing for the

party and will surely look forward to it. Another option is to keep a ‘wooden’ theme.

Wood was one of the traditional five year anniversary gift. From the trays, to the plates

to even the glasses, you can arrange for and use wooden things for your party.

Cherish the memories

A well planned surprise will always be appreciated. You can make a movie, on the time

spent together over the past years, using photographs and videos of both of that they

have collected during occasions such as in parties, vacation and family get-togethers.

Ask among their friends and relatives for the photographs and the footage, if they have

any, to add more color to it. You can present this movie to the client before showing it at

the party. You can also request a few people, who are close to the couple, to give a

short speech on their life together.

TENTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

A tenth wedding anniversary is a special milestone for all couples. Traditionally, a tenth

anniversary is considered the anniversary of “tin or aluminum,” as these are the gifts

that are given traditionally. Nevertheless, a decade of marriage calls for a celebration.

Some couples prefer parties, whereas others enjoy a romantic evening with each other.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
8

The actual time of year when the anniversary is celebrated will have a lot to do with your

plans, as it’s certainly much easier to plan a picnic or outdoor adventure in warmer

weather, unless, of course, you’re planning to celebrate skiing down a mountain or

doing some other type of winter fun.

Theme

Daffodils could be easily incorporated into the theme of the party, and while you may

have trouble finding some that are reasonably priced if they’re out of season in your

area, craft stores are filled with realistic looking faux flowers and with a bit of

imagination and creativity, the possibilities are endless to create many beautiful

decorations. The colors silver and blue combine together wonderfully and represent the

gemstones associated with the ten year anniversary; diamonds and blue sapphires,

symbolizing durability and strength.

Gifts

Many couples choose to open a gift registry for their anniversary party. If you decide to

do this, mail that information with your invitation. Don’t worry, it’s not really

presumptuous. It’ll actually give your guests a better idea of what they may like to

receive as a gift. It saves them a worrisome hassle and it keeps them from receiving

duplicate gifts.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
9

TWENTY FIFTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

The silver 25th anniversary is a milestone wedding anniversary. And rightly so!

Spending a quarter of a century in love with one

person is to be celebrated. To throw a fete

worthy of the feat demands careful, thoughtful

planning.

The first thing is deciding what kind of party best

suits the occasion and your guests of honor. You

can always run a few 25th anniversary party

ideas by them and see what they would prefer. A

silver anniversary bash can be a blow out black

tie affair at some fancy hotel ballroom. At the

same time, an intimate cocktail party at home,

brunch at a favorite restaurant, a casual

backyard BBQ or a potluck at the church hall can

be just as memorable. Some people recreate the

original wedding reception, complete with the color scheme, bridesmaids and

groomsmen and music.

It is acceptable to choose a theme for a 25th anniversary party. The kind of 25th

anniversary party you plan really depends on the wishes of the couple and their budget.

Planning for this 25th anniversary party should begin early. The venue, caterers and the

CONSIDER
THIS..

A silver anniversary bash

can be a blow out black tie

affair at some fancy hotel

ballroom. At the same time,

an intimate cocktail party at

home, brunch at a favorite

restaurant, a casual

backyard BBQ or a potluck

at the church hall can be

just as memorable.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
10

guest list should be confirmed well in advance. Typically, give yourself three months to

plan such an occasion.

The guest list should include the couple’s close friends and family. Depending on the

relationships you may also want to expand the circle to include co-workers, spiritual

advisors or members of the couple’s original wedding party. The final headcount will

likely influence the location for this celebration. Their home would be a perfect location

for a small family affair. However, if the guest list is long, consider a restaurant or

banquet hall—the kind of facility that offers enough space, bathrooms and parking to

accommodate a crowd. If this is not a surprise party and is being planned by the couple

then your job gets more straight forward and easy. In case this is a surprise party for the

couple, consult the person who is responsible for throwing the party to get all the details

of organizing this event.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
11

Once the guest list is ready you will need to send out “save the date” e-mails or cards. If

the budget is tight and does not allow for a lavish celebration you can use some money

saving tips to create a grand affair. The cost of a traditional gathering at a restaurant,

can be shrunk considerably by keeping the party on a weeknight rather than a weekend.

If there is an option then select a cash bar or serve a selection of appetizers instead of a

full dinner or just cut down the guest list.

Once the couple has decided on the type of party, guest list and budget, it’s time to dive

into the details of the event itself. Location is one of the most important things. The

venue sets the tone for the evening. Once again, think of the couple. Did they get

married on a beach? If so, consider holding the party on a boat, or at a waterfront

venue. Consider their love for maybe wine, art or golf. A number of wineries, museums

and country clubs offer event spaces. There are plenty of private restaurant dining

rooms, banquet and church halls, community centers and outdoor gardens available for

rent. Just remember that not every space comes fully equipped with everything that you

may need. Many community centers, for instance, lack kitchens. Depending on your

choice of party venue, you may have to hire a vendor or two to provide food, tables and

chairs, glassware, linens, etc. Likewise, if you decide to host the wedding anniversary

party at home, you may want to supplement with extra tables, chairs, silverware,

glassware, etc. Depending on the season and size of the crowd, you may also consider

renting a tent and a port o potty or two.

Once again, the amount and type of food and drinks you provide depends on the style

of the party, the anniversary couple’s preferences and your budget. Food and

beverages are usually the biggest line item when it comes to an anniversary

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
12

celebration. Will it be finger food or a full dinner? Will you serve wine and beer or have a

full bar? Having your party at a restaurant, hotel or country club simplifies the food and

beverage process. If you’re using a hall or community center, be sure to take stock of

what they do and don’t accommodate and plan the anniversary party accordingly. You

might, for instance, want to hire a full-service caterer who can supply not only the food

and drink, but all the other accessories as well.

If the couple decides to host the party at home, there are several points to consider.

Bring in a caterer—even if it’s just one person to help prep and serve so that you can

enjoy the party. Hiring a cleaning person to come in the day before the party and the

day after is also money well spent. In the event of a tight budget, a buffet may be the

way to go. Buffets are usually cheaper than sit down dinners and the variety is a good

get around against picky eaters. You might consider ordering trays of food from a

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
13

favorite restaurant. Here are some guidelines on how to calculate how much food and

drink to have on hand. Always remember that it’s always better to err on the side of too

much when it comes to food and beverage.

Beer or wine: two glasses per guest

Hors d’oeuvres: two of each type per guest

Buffet dinner: order for 75% of the guest list

Lastly, no silver wedding anniversary party would be complete without champagne for a

toast, and some kind of dessert. Do not stock too much champagne; most guests will

take only a sip for the toast.

The traditional dessert is a cake, often some version of a wedding cake with a 25th

anniversary cake topper. But don’t be a slave to tradition. If the couple loves pies, then

pies it is!

This is a milestone wedding anniversary, so if the couple is planning a more formal

celebration, you could consider getting engraved invitations. A classy touch, engraved

25th wedding anniversary invitations also make nice mementos, especially if you

incorporate some elements from the couple’s original wedding invitation. Letterpress is

the gold standard for engraved invites. Whatever you choose, plan to send invitations 4-

6 weeks in advance—sooner for out-of-state guests. Also, make sure the invitation

translates the kind of event you’re planning so that guests will know what to expect and

what to wear. Is it a surprise party? Is there a theme? You don’t want the ladies showing

up in cocktail dresses if you’re hosting a square dance. For a surprise party make sure

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
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that whatever trick the friends use to get the couple to the 25th wedding anniversary

party is attire-appropriate. Don’t tell them you’re taking them to a Cowboys’ game if

you’re planning a formal sit-down dinner.

Decorating is where you can really let your creative side shine. Think outside the box

and have lots of fun with decorations. The color scheme for a traditional 25th wedding

anniversary celebration is silver. The occasion’s traditional flower is the iris. However,

unconventional ideas are welcome these days. Try and get the couple’s family or

friends to prepare a slideshow of the best moments of the couples’’ time together.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
15

INVITATIONS

Invitations for an anniversary party should be sent out at least 6 weeks in advance. The

invitations should be written using proper etiquette. All the phrasing should be in the

third person. Try to avoid using abbreviations and always spell out days and dates. In

case this is an adult only gathering do not write “kids are not invited”. Mention the dress

code at the very bottom of the invite if it is a black tie event.

Alternatively, consider using printed invitation cards or e-vites to send out invitations via

email. If the occasion is an informal occasion such as a Cook out/barbeque or, in the

case of a house party or Pitch-in dinner you want people to bring a item, make sure

you’ve included this information on the invite. To cover all bases try to co-ordinate the

dishes although refrain from making it prescriptive.

FOOD

No matter what kind of party you’re planning, there will most likely be some kind of food

involved. If the party is planned at a hotel or restaurant, the food can be provided by the

location, so be sure to get quotes for the food along with the room rental fee. If it is an

informal celebration, at an outdoor setting then use caterers for the food.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
16

Toasts, whether formal or informal, are a nice touch for

anniversary celebrations. Toasts are usually given by

the host or hosts (usually children or grandchildren),

and sometimes by the anniversary couple as well. It’s

fine to keep them short, simple and to the point.

It is often effective to focus on each partner as an

individual and to celebrate his or her qualities, which

will help set the direction and plan of the party. Consult

the clients on the type of anniversary cake desired. If

they wish to replicate their wedding cake, offer them illustrations of the different styles

available.

GIFTS

Instead of bringing individual gifts, guests may be asked to contribute to the cost of a

bigger gift, such as a vacation package, a spa retreat, or even a painted portrait of a

couple. Party favors are very common these days; check your local stores or online

options, and consider customizing favors for each guest.

FAMILY REUNIONS

More and more people are planning family reunions these days. We still long for the

simple social structure where the family members are found living within a few miles of

each other. A family reunion is a much needed contact that is slowly disappearing. A

CONSIDER
THIS..

It is often effective to focus

on each partner as an

individual and to celebrate

his or her qualities, which

will help set the direction

and plan of the party.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
17

family reunion is a way of capturing some of this warmth. It gives an individual a sense

of belonging in an extended family.

TYPES OF REUNIONS

Family reunions may be held annually or at longer intervals. There are various types:

 Casual: The simplest reunion is a casual backyard or outdoor picnic or barbecue.

Spring and summer are the best seasons for outdoor reunions. Choose a

location with plenty of trees and shade, and include activities that suit an outdoor

setting.

 Formal dinner: This is typically a sit-down meal at a good restaurant or in a

private home. This kind of reunion is relatively easy to plan, requiring only

choosing the venue, making reservations, sending out invitations, and planning

activities.

 Outdoor reunions in theme settings: These are held in more elaborate settings,

e.g., in a theme park or on an ocean cruise. They require more significant

planning, including a detailed budget and timeline.

Before you start planning the reunion, take time to understand the clients’ needs and

the personalities of family members. Ask these questions:

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
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 What is the most appropriate date for the event?

 How many guests are expected, and what are their ages?

 What are the accommodation arrangements for out-of-town guests?

 Do the clients have a theme in mind?

 What kinds of activities and games are preferred?

 Are there food preferences or dietary restrictions?

 Who will make the final decisions (budget, schedule, invitees, etc.)?

 Will the event be paid for by an individual or jointly?

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
19

IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF A REUNION

Selecting a date for a family reunion can be a daunting task. Allow adequate time for

planning, both for you and for the family members, especially if they have to travel long

distances and have other commitments. Try to avoid long holiday weekends, when

accommodations and traffic can be challenging and the invitees may already have

plans. It may be a good idea to plan a reunion around a milestone birthday or

anniversary.

Many families hold reunions during the summer because none of the kids would need to

miss school. But there are long school-holiday weekends throughout the year that can

open up your family’s options for location and expense. Poll potential participants to

gauge their interest in attending a reunion and also get a feel on the date and place.

You can do this informally by phone, by mail or even through email. Don’t ask open-

ended questions. Give a few specific choices to help build a consensus.

Once the date is set, the next task is to create the guest list. Ask the clients if they

would like to invite the extended or just the immediate family. Choice of venue is

determined partly by the number of people attending the reunion. It is a good idea to

create a mailer and send it out to the relatives to determine how many people will be

attending and what kind of reunion they would prefer. Include a preaddressed, stamped

return envelope in the mailing.

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
20

For small reunions, this ‘location’ can be at someone’s home in the backyard (having

grass would be nice). But for larger reunions, you may want to consider a park,

campground, a nice resort, or maybe even a theme park. Wherever you choose, make

sure there is adequate lodging.

Planning to feed everyone will be one of the

most challenging jobs to accomplish. For a one

or two day reunion, many families ask everyone

to bring along a few prepared dishes. If that’s

the case, the most important job you’ll have will

be making sure you don’t get ten of the same

dishes and nothing else. Assign each family a

category of food so that you’ll have a good

distribution among the courses. Many families

like to assemble a heritage cookbook. You can

ask everyone to bring the recipe for their dish to

the reunion and then have someone gather all

of the recipes to turn into a cookbook. However,

if no one in the family feels like cooking for this

party, you can feed your group at a restaurant,

or bring in a caterer to handle all of the meal

details.

CONSIDER
THIS..

Planning to feed everyone

will be one of the most

challenging jobs to

accomplish. For a one or

two day reunion, many

families ask everyone to

bring along a few prepared

dishes. If that’s the case,

the most important job

you’ll have will be making

sure you don’t get ten of

the same dishes and

nothing else

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
21

The season chosen for the event will naturally determine the sorts of activities planned.

Warm weather suggests a barbeque, camping, a picnic, and outdoor games. In the

winter, renting a condo or suites at a ski resort can provide excellent recreation and

ambiance. Some activities are suited to any season: you can organize a story-telling

session where each family member shares memories, or hire a photographer if the

family wants professional photos of the event or a family portrait. But be careful not to

over plan activities. Always allow for flexibility, remembering that the main purpose of

the reunion is simply to bring family members together. Too much structure may

Copyright © 2012 International Institute of Event Management (SM). All Rights Reserved.
22

interfere with this goal. Be alert for signs of this problem during the reunion, and

postpone or cancel activities if you feel that they are burdening the attendees.

Large family reunions, often involve many young children of varying ages. Things can

get pretty chaotic when the kids get warmed up, requiring more attention than the

grownups might want to give as they catch up with distant relatives. But with a little

advance planning, there are a variety of things you can do to keep the little ones busy

and everyone happy.

In order to accomplish this you can hire an entertainer or a magician to keep the kids

busy. A baby sitter can be hired to take care of very young napping babies. Also plan on

setting up some craft tables for older kids and arrange for some toys for them to play

with.

Whether your reunion is large or small, it’s nice to have a “Welcoming address” to kick it

off. It doesn’t have to be long, about five to ten minutes unless there is a really good

speaker in the family. A good welcome address, starts by welcoming everyone to the

reunion, thanking them for coming and gives a general outline of the day’s (or

weekend’s) festivities.

PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED

As the saying goes, “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” Make sure you have

backup plans as there should always be a contingency.

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