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Even before you begin planning your event, you have to decide what kind of style your soirée will have. Deciding on the feel and style of your event will get your creative juices flowing and help ignite the planning process. Take these factors into consideration when choosing your party’s style:

Your estimated guest count. Before you decide anything, you should at least estimate the number of guests that will attend your event. A 20-person gathering is going to feel much different than a 200-person party. Guest numbers are crucial when choosing the venue, which can lend a lot to the style of the event. Some venues might not be big enough to hold your party, while others might feel too big for a smaller group.

Casual vs. formal. After you’ve gotten a general guest count, try to decide whether you want your event to be casual or formal. Remember, just because you decide to go more casual doesn’t make the event any less special. The most important thing is that you decide on a direction. Certain decorating and food choices are going to complement a formal gathering much better than a casual get-together, and vice versa.

Choose a style that reflects your personality. When picking a style, go with your instincts. If you are planning your wedding and you are a casual, relaxed individual, don’t stress about making it a formal event unless absolutely necessary. Create an event that is unique to your tastes and style, and don’t worry about conforming to expectations. Your event will feel more natural, not forced, if you stick with what’s really “you.”

Outdoor vs. indoor venues. If you choose to use an outdoor venue, your event might take on a breezy, garden party feel. Your decor may involve natural elements like fresh flowers and the surrounding vegetation. Also, remember that an all-outdoor event will need a back-up destination for rain. When considering indoor venues, keep in mind the existing design and feel of the space.

Complement the season. If you are planning an event in the middle of December, it’s probably best to stick to an indoor venue. If you are having a summer event, try to book a venue that is either all indoors, or an indoor-outdoor combination. Don’t force your guests to sweat through your party. Once you’ve considered comfort, look to the season for inspiration! Hosting a November social allows you to serve mini pumpkin pie tarts and hot apple ciders. A June wedding could feature cocktails in simple mason jars and sandwich slider appetizers.

The most important thing to do as you think about the style of your event is to have fun. This is one of the best parts of the event-planning process!