Party Ideas and Tips

Dandiya Night for your Building or Society.

Folks, This is that time of the year, when everyone is gearing up for the festive season in India. Right now its Navaratri and I would like to share with you some party tips of how well can you plan a Dandiya Night for your building or society.
Here I am not providing you the step wise event planning instructions but want to share you the most important characteristics. Other aspects of the event like budgeting, Food menu etc I presume you would be doing any ways...
First of all find out 2-3 volunteers in the building who are enthusiastic enough for such an event. Quickly get together and plan out the following characteristics of the event....
1.Venue - Most likely venues could be Parking or Terrace or street in front of your society or building. If you have got a community hall or a society garden that would be an ideal one. I would suggest an open to sky venue.
2.Theme - Creating the energy with a theme can make the difference between the ordinary gathering and a spectacular event, a theme puts the people in the mood and helps to keep the guests involved. Your theme can involve asking people to dress in costumes geared to the theme. Any theme is a good theme as long as it fits your crowd.
3.Select a Day (night) - mostly it should be a Friday or Saturday night so that everyone can enjoy the party until late in the night. Also check likelihood of people fasting on that day, so that food arrangement should be made accordingly. Party ideally should start at around 8.30PM, which is good enough time for everyone to come from office/work get ready and join the party.
4.Find a good speaker / Anchor for your program - This is a key person, who will make your party a real happening and will make the right ambiance. You may have one such person in your neighborhood but if you do not find one, do not hesitate to call some one outsider whom any one of you may know as a professional and any other volunteer may join that professional as a co-anchor.
5.Seating arrangement - Always have fewer chairs than the guest (have just 25 to 50% of the guests). This keeps your guest moving and the energy flowing as they mingle and circulate.
6.Fun and interesting Activities during the event - Since this is a good time to know and interact with each one of your neighbors, i would suggest that first activity should be an "Ice Breaker". In this activity Anchor invites each family with all members (assuming that there are not too many :) ) and one family member (normally the head of the family) introduces the whole family. If you all already know your building members and families, then this activity can be used to know more about latest happy moments of each family like, new or planned marriages, new birth, new graduation, business or career progress etc....During this time Anchor should be a fun making one to keep the audience involved and happy with high energy... Besides, these there could be other number of activities or events that can be planned to make the party happening.
7.Guest Involvement - Give your guest opportunities to participate in the festivities. Have games, quizzes or give away prizes for the best costume or best dancer. It does not really matter as long as its fun and easy. Most people will get involved if you make games and activities available for them while others enjoy watching and cheering for the winners. Engaging Your guests help keep the energy of the party going....
8.Music - This is another key component of your party, each activity should have some sort of background music, so make a music track collection exclusively for this event. Besides, there should be number of dedicated tracks available which you will use for the "Dandiya Ras".
9.Dance Area - Get your guests dancing by creating a dance area. When you set aside an area specifically for dancing, people will use it. The dance area should not be so large that it intimidating. People will join the dancing if the dance floor is crowded. Don't worry - People will dance on the perimeter of the dance floor, whether its grass, carpet or concrete.
10.Awards in the middle of dancing- Every 15 or 30 minutes, have the Anchor call out a question that pertains to the guest at your party, such as : "Who's the youngest here?" "Who's got the Wife's photo in his pocket/purse?" etc etc...Have the Anchor award a prize to each winner.
11.Be considerate: While partying be considerate to your surroundings.
12.Post party : After a good party, all volunteers deserve to have a small dinner celebration, to pat your own back and yes share the photographs and party video with the guests.
Happy Partying!!
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How to arrange an effective "Corporate-team lunch" party

Many a times when it's a birthday celebration of a colleague or a successful completion of an assignment, we demand for a celebration! And 9 out of 10 times we end up going for a TEAM LUNCH. It indeed is a great fun to lunch together as a team as it opens up a lot of opportunities to know your colleagues better and in a way it adds to your team building efforts.

Today, I am writing about how to get fullest of this opportunity of team lunch and how to make it one of the best team gatherings!

Ensure close to 100% attendance:
The team lunch can be a great success if you as a host manage to get all 100% of your team's presence. If you notice few people may drop out of the party for various reasons some of them could be - -Don't like the venue. (due to ambiance, cost of food, location, long travel etc)
-Few verities of food you would prefer (few options of veg or non-veg food)
-Fasting on that day
-Overloaded due to project work and no extra time to spend for lunch
The reasons could be endless. But what if you consider their preference in advance? If you have got a team bigger than 15 members then I would strongly recommend you the use of "Corporate Party Planner" on partypotato.com. As this planner with the help of its voting tool, enables you to shortlist the place, which everyone (majority) in your team will love. It will also be able to find out the most preferred date for the team lunch (as few people may be fasting, absent etc). Besides this it will also enable you to find food preferences of the members as in how many vegetarians, non-vegetarians etc. By doing this, you would eliminate majority of the reasons to NOT join the party!
Ensure everyone enjoys the food and no surprises when you pay the bill:
I would suggest that using the "Explore" option of partypotato.com you can search for various venues listed on the web portal. This option enables you to see through the details of the venue like the Menu card, price list etc. So tentatively you can pre-decide the menu and you also know in advance how much would it cost?
Save Time:
Because you can see all the details of the shortlisted venue right from the office, you can decide the menu in advance and call the restaurant, place the order and book the table. This will save a LOT of your time which is equally important as it's during working hours.
Seating Arrangements:
It will be great to have a round table, but generally its difficult to get one during busy business hours. However, you as a host ensure that team members who interact the least in the working environment seat closer to each others while lunching as it will give them an easy opportunity to speak up and develop a bond. The host need not seat at the main chair of the table, I would rather recommend that host should take up a central position in the table so that you can communicate with everyone and also pay attention to the people while they lunch.
Create the Atmosphere:
The host of the team (generally the team lead) is suggested to occupy the central seating location, to help every team member speak-up and interact during the lunch. If the host decides in advance a handfuls (light) of subjects to discuss during the lunch it will also enable all members to interact. The subjects could be "next event or party of the team and taking team's suggestions (especially the ones who speak or interact the less", "good words about the current occasion why are you celebrating and asking what people feel about it", "It can be a great occasion to announce some thing new and interesting-a pleasant surprise". "talks about the place where you are dinning" etc.
Avoid following... 1] Any one of the team members being cornered more than required as "leg pulling" by others. 2] More than required comments about anyone's eating habits. 3] Team members attending too many mobile phone calls. 3] heated-up debates. 4] Discussion about a sports activity OR Sports Team, which only few members of your group would be interested in. etc. Basically try to make each one of them comfortable so that they love to go out as a team the next time. THE LEADER'S role is really important as a catalyst in making all above happen effortlessly.
Enjoy TEAM PARTIES!
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How to spend your money wisely while planning an event or party? - Selecting a Venue.

Here I would share with you how to spend your money "wisely" while planning any event or party for the friends and/or family, so that it has optimum impact to make your event the most successful. Having a fun filled party does not necessarily mean you need to spend a lot, but actually means you need to "Plan" wisely. This will be a series of articles in my blog, to start with I am writing about "Selecting venue". Read through and you will notice that these tips are simple to follow and can really work while planning a great program or a family function.

Venue :- If you are planning a small get together it would be always preferred to plan it at someone's or mostly host's residence. This has several advantages, the first being the venue is free of cost and it will be lot easier for you to arrange the required things for the party as most of them would be available in your house.

If you are expecting a considerable number of guests and do not want to host it at your residence then try to see if you can host the party in the parking area / Common Terrace of your building/society etc. In this case again, it will be free, but may involve some additional coordination, arrangements and approvals from others. However, this can turn out to be another good place as it will be free and big as well.

Many a times, if its an off-season for marriages then marriage halls can be another good option, as they can provide you a portion of their premises at a lower cost because their premises is any way not being utilized.

Some restaurants have party halls and if you opt for their food services, then they can provide you the party hall at no extra cost (complimentary). So, you may want to explore this option as well.

If the get-together or party does not have too many infrastructure related needs then you may also get-together in a public/country park or gardens. Such places again will be free of cost and plus close to natural beauty and thus can turn out to be great fun place.

Theme parties are a buzz these days, and there are number of theme restaurants or parks around the town. If you can cut a deal with them by negotiating a per head cost then these theme park/restaurants can take care of your food and fun and you will have no extra overheads of the party planning.

Also, its worth noting a point that if your event is not tied to a particular date, then you can consider conducting a gathering on a Weekday evening. Generally, if you plan the event on a weekend it would cost you more as most of the entertainment related service providers have higher service charges over weekend due to demand of service. This applies to the party-venues as well. Therefore wherever possible try to plan your events on working days during the evening time.

Beach or Lake side parties - These places can be superb fun places for parties. If its not a hot or sunny days of the year then head for the beach with your pals, plan a birthday, get-together, graduation parties - actually any kind of celebration fares well near an ocean or a lake. While planning such a party, you may want to check the regulations at your favorite lake or ocean side. Please take extra care because there is potential for water-related accidents in this case. A lake or ocean side parties can turn out to be a great fun because you really don't need to spend on decoration, the nature herself is at your service to fill your party with a great ambiance!

Happy Parting!!
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Managing Challenging Surprises at the Party - "Power (electricity) cuts"

This is common in India (presumably in many other developing nations as well), where there could be a sudden power/electricity cut and you have your music system, lights etc put off. This will have larger impact if the event is during the night. Imagine that your guests are really enjoying on the dance floor with a favorite dance number and suddenly music stops working due to power cut...Or, dinner being served and there is absolute darkness due to power outage...? To avoid any big hassles during the party, such situations should be planned well in advance. First thing you may want to do is to announce your guests to be seated or in their place to avoid any collisions (especially children if they are around) and then move on to arrange for a backup.  A simple (but costly, may be) thing to do is to rent out some generator set to back up the power. Alternatively, If its a small event then be ready with battery operated music systems and a few emergency lights. I would suggest you to avoid use of candles as this option is prone to accidents and if not handled carefully, can cause major chaos. It will be a good idea to keep the batteries and emergency lamps at an easily accessible area so that can be approached in the event of power cuts. (Remember, your cell phones can also act as first aid to reach to the emergency lamp)  Also, decide in advance where you would mount the emergency lights if there is no electricity in the party hall. If its an important event where electricity is really an important aspect of your party, then it may be worth calling up the electricity board (service provider) to check up their schedule of power outage. Happy Parting!
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