What should you pack in your party planner toolkit?
When I started my business as a party planner, one of the first questions I had was, apart from the party supplies, what else should I bring? I knew I needed some sort of toolkit to help me assemble the party and to deal with last minute emergencies, but as I was brand new to this, I didn’t really know what those emergencies might be.
I had a bit of a look around on the internet, but didn’t really find a sufficient party planner toolkit list. It did give me some ideas, so I assembled what I thought I’d need in a plastic fishing tackle box, and set forth. Fortunately, nothing disastrous happened (actually I lie, a marquee blew over at my first party), and over time, I added things to my kit as the need arose.
It’s a bit of a balancing act trying to be prepared for any eventuality, without having to cart around a suitcase. Every now and again, I clean out my toolbox, eliminating things that I don’t need for every party. The following list are things that I pretty much use at every party.
What’s Inside My Party Planner Toolkit
- Blue tack
- Double sided foam tape
- Sticky tape with small dispenser
- Scissors – large heavy duty; standard; kids
- String; thin ribbon
- Safety pins
- Standard and extra long dress pins
- Tablecloth clips
- 3M reusable sticky hooks & Velcro strips
- Apron with pocket
- Name badges
- Business cards & holder; small sign that says ‘this party brought to you by Easy Breezy Parties’
- Booking contract
- Ziplock bags, small and large
- Sharpie permanent textas; pens
- Baby wipes
- Whistle on lanyard
- Headache tablets
- Water bottle
- Flat-bed trolley
Blue tack, double sided foam tape, sticky tape, string and dress pins are all handy for affixing or repairing decorations.
I use extra long dress pins to hold table cloths in place on my buffet tables. Standard sewing pins are also useful for pinning a string of bunting along the front of the table.
Tablecloth clips are invaluable for holding all cloths in place, especially on the kids’ tables where they like to push everything out of place. And they are absolutely essential when setting up outside on a windy day! I’ll also bring along a few balloon weights to help hold things down if I know it’s going to be windy.
I hang backboards on the wall behind all of my buffet tables, using 3M removable sticky velcro hooks. They can be peeled off the wall without removing paint. After having an incident where my unsecured backboard toppled forward onto the candy jars, I now always secure my backboards in this way!
I wear an apron with a pocket to set up. It’s handy for holding scissors, etc while I work, and my apron also has my business logo. I also always place business cards in a holder in a few places around the house, and pop them in each lolly bag.I want to make sure everyone knows who I am, and that my cards are on hand when parents see my party setup and get excited!
I always bring my booking contract to the party. It includes contact details, a list of exactly what I’ll be providing, plus amounts paid & owing. Earlier, I will have sent a copy to the client. So if there’s any confusion or issues with payment or inclusions, I can whip out the contract and clear it up without argument.
Other Handy Stuff
Ziplock bags are always useful for bagging up leftover lollies and for storing leftover party supplies.
Sharpie pens are handy for writing kids’ names on drink bottles and party bags.
Baby wipes are handy for wiping smudge marks off candy jars and tables, cleaning up spills and wiping my hands.
I carry a whistle when I’m also doing the party entertaining. It’s the easiest way to get a wild bunch of kids to stop running and pay attention, and saves me a lot of yelling!
Balloons are handy in case the parents forget to tie some to the letterbox; a lighter helps when they can’t find one to light the candles. Balloons also make for instant entertainment if you run out of games to play.
I also usually bring a flat-bed trolley, to save my back when carrying all those heavy boxes of supplies. My trolley folds up, but is still heavy and sturdy. I have also tried a lean-to trolley, but it is just too hard trying to keep supplies from falling off.
What I No Longer Carry
Some of the things I have used in the past, but now only bring if I have a specific need, are:
- Double sided tape (except the foam tape)
- Fishing line
- Glue gun
- Craft glue
- Sewing kit
- Birthday candles
- Hand sanitizer
Everyone has a different way of ‘crafting’ and ‘fixing’ things, so you may find those items more useful to you. It’s a matter of taking note of what you do and don’t use over time.
My Party Planner Bag
When I started party planning, I wanted my toolkit to be pink and sparkly and ‘party-ish’. However, I haven’t found a bag that fits that requirement that is actually useful. So now I use a very tradesman-looking Sidchrome 19” open mouth tote bag, which I absolutely love. Function beats form any day! My tote is made of heavy canvas over a sturdy frame. It has lots of interior and exterior pockets plus a large central space. I like that a fabric bag as it can be stuffed with odd-shaped objects, and squished into the last remaining space in my car. The large open mouth is also great for easy access.
Other bag options include plastic or metal tool boxes or a fishing tackle box. From experience, a cheap plastic box won’t survive being thrown in the car boot too many times, so I’d suggest going with something sturdy.
Wheel along craft trolleys are also a good choice, particularly as you don’t have to carry them. However, you do need to ensure you can fit them in your car alongside all your supplies, as they are quite large.
So what’s in your party planner’s bag? Is there anything you consider essential that I’ve left out?