I believe that the best approach to planning an event with a client is to turn the event up a notch or two compared to how the event would turn out without my help. It’s definitely important to tailor the feel of the event to keep the client and guests comfortable.
For example, I recently organized my father's 50th birthday celebration. It's highly unlikely that any type of legitimate invitation would have been sent out had I not been involved. My mom would have sent an email or made some phone calls and that would have been the invitation. Instead, as you can see below, I layered pre-cut cardstock, printed my design on, fastened it together with a scrapbooking brad, and found envelopes the same color as one of my card stocks at local office store. I also coordinated the RSVP's since I knew my parents wouldn't have time to handle them by starting a new email address just for that purpose.
We still held my father's 50th in my parents’ shed as we probably would have regardless. We considered other venues but really, growing up in the middle of nowhere, a shed party is a real tradition for the Stallman clan. I choose to focus on bringing the decor up a notch because that is where it was going to make the most impact. Most likely my mother would have thought about the tables last, understandably being more concerned with cooking enough food for everyone. My mom works full time and could barely keep her eyes open to listen to my list of questions after she got off work so I could continue my process. Bless her for her patience with me, she just wanted to read and cuddle with the dog.
I was surprised to find there weren't as many ideas or available decorations for a golf theme on Pinterest or at party stores as I would have liked. I found nothing that worked with both my colors and my theme, so I ended up making almost everything myself. I made a birthday banner and signs that utilized the remaining brads from the invitations, white globe lanterns that I turned into giant golf balls, and centerpiece “putting greens” of grass I spent weeks growing. I had fun, quirky little spaces, such as the water hazard, which was a wheelbarrow full of bottled water and the dessert bunker with a cake and cupcakes from a local bakery. I attempted to get my dad to wear a shirt that said "I'm not over the hill, I'm just on the back nine" but he wasn't having it so I hung it on display. One of my favorite things, though, was the party favor. I had personalized tees made and used them instead of confetti on the table. Super inexpensive and fun option! Even the men commented on it because they never think to get tees until they need them at the golf course, so I extended their supply a few rounds.
The total for decorations and invitations was less than $200. Quite honestly, we are a family where it is more important to have good food and drink than to have an extravagant tablescape, and our guests would have never forgiven us if we ran out of beer. I could have done so much more: adding draping, rentals, and fresh flowers for centerpieces to give an extra boost. That’s just not our family unless it's an extra special occasion, such as a wedding. It would not have been worth the money for this situation, and honestly, more would have been less.
Moral of the story: special events such as weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries should be a reflection of the guest(s) of honor, whether it be a style, hobby, or general feel of the event. My goal was to make sure there was a big smile on the guest of honor's face, and I definitely got it.