When it comes to life hacks, I have noticed that there are a lot of posts that give tips on how to make an autism friendly party or how to prepare to attend events and parties. Even I have made posts on the subject- one on how you can make an autism friendly party, another on how to survive social events, and going more specific, one on how to prepare and to attend a wedding. However, I do not see a lot being said on how autistics or high functioning people can plan and throw a successful party or event. Interestingly enough, I’m the type of person that really loves throwing events and parties from time to time, and I have also planned several family related parties in the past. Because of this, I decided to compile a list of my own tips and tricks that I have been using over the years on how I plan events and parties.
To be honest, I do love planning things, from my blog editorial calendars, to outings, all the way to little events at home. Also, I have found that even though it may cause me a lot of stress sometimes, it is all worth it when I see the people around me having a great time, no matter what the size of the event is.
So, without any further ado, here are my top tips and tricks on how High Functioning Autistics can plan and throw a great party or event.
1.Small Event, Start Planning At Least Three Months Ahead; Big Event, Start Planning A Year Beforehand
Nothing will get you more stressed than planning things at the last minute, so make sure that you have plenty of time to mitigate situations just in case things go wrong, because if there’s anything that I learned during my time as a theater stage manager, it’s that sometimes, everything can go wrong, even during the event itself. When you plan, also make sure that you also make contingency plans, just in case. Also, this will give you enough time to breathe and fulfill each task needed for the event.
2.Have A Party/Event Planning Checklist & Calendar
High Functioning Autistics and those on the spectrum have poor executive functioning skills, and that is a fact that we have to accept. So, when planning a party or event, it is a good idea to make a checklist of everything that needs to be done and its sub-tasks. Once you’ve figured that out, you can start assigning deadline dates to fulfill those tasks, which you later can input in your planner, calendar or whatever you use on a daily basis to help remind you of the tasks that you need to do for the party or event.
3.Get Someone To Help You Out
Having someone to be your event/party co-planner will help you keep on task, and things will be a lot easier if there is someone you can share the load with. Plus, it is a great way to bond with that friend or sibling who is helping you out. Make sure that you divide the tasks evenly between each other, and also, assign roles for the day of the event itself. In my experience, when I hold parties or events at home, I’m usually the one greeting the guests and talking to them when they arrive, while my sister is the one helping inside the kitchen. As I do have a hard time multi-tasking or doing two roles at the same time, I have found that it’s easier to stick to my own designated role.
Figure out where you will be having your event or party. Make sure that it is a place that is accessible to your guests. Also, it is a good idea to take a look at the venue itself, so that you’ll know how to get there yourself, and so that you can figure out how you want the place to look like. If you are throwing the event or party in your house, figure out where the buffet table is, where people will eat, and what sort of decorations you’ll be putting up. When you figure out your set-up, make sure to make things so that it will be friendly to you as well as any other people you might invite who are also high functioning.
5.Have A Theme for Your Event or Party
Having a theme for your event or party will make things both fun and easier for you. It can help you narrow down your guest list, help you come up with fun and creative activities during the event, allow you to narrow down your selection of food and drink, and can also help you narrow down what kind of attire your guests and yourself will be wearing. This, for me, lessens the stress and ups the creativity and fun; and also, it will cause less stress for picking out your own attire for the party. This will also help you when it comes to socialization, as you’ll have ready conversation or small talk topics ready.
6. Practice and Come Up With Small Talk Topics and Conversation Starters Beforehand
Having a theme for your event or party will actually help you narrow down some conversation starter topics and small talk topics beforehand. However, make sure that you also have other and more general small talk topics as well, so that your guests will not get bored with you going on and on about a particular topic or the theme of the event itself. If you want, you can also practice with someone beforehand, or practice in front of your mirror.
7.Invite More Than You’ll Expect To Attend
Usually, people invite more than you’ll expect to attend because you know that a handful of them will not be able to come. Also, this will help you manage your own expectations as well.
8.Spread the Word at Least Three Months Beforehand
Put your event on Facebook, and start inviting people there at least three months beforehand. This will allow for people to be aware of the event already, and it will also help you see how many people have actually said that they are going. This will also help you manage expectations as well.
9.Buy Your Groceries At Least Two Days Before or Order Everything At Least Two Weeks Before & Start Cooking The Day Before the Event
It’s better to buy your groceries at least two days before the event so that just in case you forgot something, you don’t need to panic at the last minute. If you are having the event catered, research at least two to three months beforehand, and order your food at least two weeks or more before the event. If you are going to cook, start prepping things the day beforehand, and if you can, start cooking the day before so that you’ll have ample time to prepare yourself as well before your guests arrive the following day.
10.Relax and Enjoy!
And finally, relax and enjoy the event and party. After all, you have just as much right to enjoy as much as your guests are, and you should also give yourself and your co-planner a pat on the back for a job well done!
Hopefully these tips will help you plan and host a stress free party or event.
Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!