Life is full of milestones, big and small, that deserve celebration. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and graduations are all times when you want to pause for a moment and truly celebrate.

But anyone who has ever planned a big event knows that the organisation can get more than a little stressful. You start with a simple concept, but the guest list grows, dietary requirements make your menus more complex, and you start to wonder where everyone is going to sit. Instead of celebrating your milestone, it can become incredibly stressful and before you know it, you start to just wish it was all over.

Delegating these tasks to an experience event planner is one way to relieve the stress, but if you’re keen to do it solo, make sure you take the following into account early on in the planning process.


Food can be one of the most stressful parts of planning an event. The right cuisine choice sets the tone for your event. If everyone brings a plate, the event tends to feel less formal; a home cooked meal feels very familial and inviting; a catered meal or nibbles can suit anything from casual to posh.

Start by deciding what you and your guests will eat, and let that inform the rest of your plans.

Picking the Venue

Will you have your event at home, or are you looking to locate it in a different space? Finding event venues that fit into your budget can be a struggle (consider the cost an event planner can save you here), but they are one of the most important parts of your celebration. Make sure you visit a few to get a guide of price and be prepared to negotiate to get what you want. Community Centres, Scout Halls, Church Halls and Golf Clubs make for fabulous cost-effective options and often mean you can take your pick from other vendors like florists and catering companies. Check out for lots of options.


If you're having your event outside of your home, find out what the venue does for decorations, to make sure anything you bring will fit in. If you're planning an event in your home, look online for inexpensive decoration ideas, but be realistic about your time and budget. It's easy to see gorgeous images on Pinterest and feel like your party is a failure without origami name tags, for example, but your guests are coming to celebrate your milestone event, not your stationary.

To get great inspiration for your upcoming event, check out these milestone celebrations organised by some of Australia’s leading party experts, including yours truly: 'How to Make Life's Milestone Celebrations Special​'.