School years always have so many exciting things happening from start to finish. Even after the year is completed, special plans are in the works for fabulous upcoming ideas for the next school year to come.
Today, let’s focus on your school’s year end banquet impressions. Planning ahead is half the fun of creating a spectacular year end banquet celebration. To help you gather your thoughts, we have provided 10 or more helpful tips to get your school’s banquet off to a great start.
1. ESTABLISH A BUDGET
Every party needs a reasonable budget to work with. Each budget is as individual as the day is long.
There are many ways to increase budget amounts during the year, long before end-of-year parties begin. One way is the less-is-more approach. Recycling and reusing as many materials as possible saves recurring and replacement expenses.
Check with local Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs to inquire about donations, volunteer work, landscaping needs and more. Don’t be afraid to ask surrounding communities if they have any themed or decorative items that could be borrowed to save money and complement your theme.
2. DECIDE ON ATTENDEE’S
Knowing ahead of time who will be attending the end-of-year banquet is a definite decision to be made first. Will you include the entire school? Is this affordable? Will you have guest speakers or other guest visitors? Are family members included? The head count of attendee’s is one of the largest certain impacts overall.
3. SELECT THE DATE
End-of-year commitment dates need to be made early in the academic year for assured availability. Try to commit to a date and time as early as the month of October before the gala to avoid late-planning panic and over-priced last minute planning. Announcing this date as early as possible will help families and friends plan accordingly, too.
4. SELECT THE VENUE
If your facility is large enough to hold a crowd in its gymnasium, cafeteria or outdoor area, this can save big bucks. If another venue is desired, think community parks, local restaurants or someone’s home. Keep in mind, setting up, tearing down, serving guests and live entertainment play a part in budget and convenience factors.
5. SELECT THE MENU
Selecting the best menu for the buck is another important part of budgeting. What style of meal-planning works best? Formal? Buffet? Picnic? Foods that are easy to serve, easy to handle and easy to eat work best. Keep messy dishes to a minimum. Smaller gatherings enjoy main staples such as sliders or BBQ sausage links with chips, salads and light desserts. Larger gatherings may desire a selection of several quality meats and sides. Classic but plentiful options can provide a lovely presentation while satisfying taste buds.
Decorations don’t have to be over the top to impress. Setting tables with attractive and inexpensive floral arrangements and balloons can do the trick. If more elaborate decorating is desired, ask parents, friends and local businesses to help create inexpensive decor ideas or items. Online sites such as Pinterest and YouTube have very creative ideas on a budget.
7. AWARDS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Acknowledging students, teachers and volunteers with personalized mementos can be inexpensively made out of tiles, dollar store picture frames, collectibles and other household decor items. For more customized and personal forms of recognition, think trophies, plaques, and medals.
8. SIGN UP VOLUNTEERS
It takes a village to raise kids and throw a fantastic party. Any special banquet or party needs all the man power it can get. Sign up everyone you trust to pull this special day together. Kids of all ages love to get involved. Have classrooms work together on colorful handcrafted decorations or after-party cleaning assignments.
Divide groups up into shifts, categorical jobs, phone calls and thank you gifts. Don’t forget to implement a Plan B group of volunteers in case schedule changes, weather interruptions or other last-minute jobs arise.
RELAX. RELAX. RELAX.
After all of the planning has been completed, after everything is in its place to the best of your ability, it’s time to soak up the fruits of your labors. Hard work, productivity and friendships are to be enjoyed. This memory is about community and every blessing bestowed because of it. Remember, it’s not the destination that deems reward, it is the journey created for all to enjoy.