The 5 W’s of Event Planning: Thanksgiving Edition

The 5 W’s of Event Planning: Thanksgiving Edition

It is that time of year again! The time for turkeys, parties, family and friends. We cannot get enough of it! Turkey season brings us the opportunity to spend time with our loved ones, and share all the things we are thankful for. Throwing a Thanksgiving party can be easy as pumpkin pie. Utilizing the 5 W’s is a quick guide to creating the outline of a successful event. While you can use this to plan any type of event, we are focusing on helping you plan your perfect thanksgiving party.

WHAT kind of event are you holding?

Choosing the style of event will help you with the future finer planning details. Keep in mind what your end goal is and what you hope to achieve. No matter what the reason is, there is an event type for everyone.

  • Live music: You can host a live band in your backyard or at a major venue. Having a live band can create memories that stay with your guests and can effortlessly power your next party. 
  • Sports: Football is widely known to be a popular sport around this time. Utilize that and throw a football tournament for you and your friends to take part in together. This will bring memories and lots of laughs.
  • Family/friend gathering: The holidays are all about spending time together. Take this time to have everyone you love around you and have a delicious meal.  
  • Dance: Everyone loves a good old-fashioned dance!
  • Charity/Fundraiser: The holidays are all about making a difference. Try changing things up this year and hosting a fundraiser or charity event for a special cause or non-for-profit. 

While these are not all the event types, these are all great Thanksgiving-type parties to hold to celebrate the holiday. No matter what style you chose, all these steps will help you make the perfect one. For now, let’s focus on a family and friends gathering.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that many celebrate but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it unique to you. Try different color palettes, decorations, and food that matches your home or venue’s vibe and is something that defines you.

WHO are your guests and WHEN is the event taking place?

We all know that guests are a very important part of the planning process as well as the overall success of the event. Knowing who your guests will determine how much food you will need, how big of a venue, and who may need additional arrangements or compensations. Thanksgiving is the main celebration and many others will be hosting their parties and events for the holiday. Make sure to send out invitations in advance. Keeping this in mind, decide if you want to host on Thanksgiving day or around the holiday, maybe on the weekend. This way you can give friends the chance to spend the holiday with their family but also make it to yours.

Once you have selected your guests and set a number of people who are attending. You can prepare your grocery list and determine the size of turkey you need to prepare (that is, if you are having Turkey). Make sure to order in advance, as turkeys often sell out very quickly. Knowing the day of your party will also help you plan the perfect time to thaw the turkey in time to be cooked for the meal.

WHERE are you holding the event? 

Hosting in your home is a common and great place. But depending on how many people you want or if you want to remove the time of decorating, setting up and taking down, choosing a venue might be a smart idea. A venue doesn’t mean a large stadium or hall, you can rent out the basement of your local church or a room at the community center. This is helping out your community but also giving you a chance to have more room for your guests. Keep in mind the venue should appeal to your guests and your event’s theme. 

  • Is it easy to find or access? 
  • Where are guests going to park?
  • Do accommodations need to be made for those drinking alcohol?
  • Will attendees need parking directions? 
  • Will transport need to be provided? 

HOW much are you willing to spend? 

When purchasing items for your event such as groceries, decorations, and so forth, you need to make sure that you are setting a budget of how much you want to spend on the evening. Creating a set budget will help you to stay on track and find ways to save money during the setup. Food can be a very expensive addition to the night and can be time-consuming too. Cooking for everyone is a nice gesture but there are alternative ways to provide food for guests but to also save you a dime. Try hosting a potluck instead. This guarantees that everyone has something they like or can eat and saves you the time and money from having to prepare all that food. 

For whatever you do need to buy, make a grocery list ahead of time to make sure you have all the items you need. Additionally, lists help to eliminate the stress of dealing with holiday shoppers and racked-up prices. If you need to purchase new or more decorations, try checking out your local thrift shop or discount store to find cute and unique pieces that are more affordable.

WHY are you holding this event? 

Often this question is associated with the purpose and goals from the success of the event. For a family gathering on Thanksgiving, your goal is to have a great time and celebrate this amazing holiday. Make sure to not let the stress of planning and running an event take over. Take time to be thankful for all your loved ones and the amazing night you made for them.

When you begin planning an event, taking a look at the five w’s is always a great first step. It gives you the chance to really dig into your event and creates an easy dive into the planning process.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? Comment below!