March 16, 2011

How To Plan a Large Event: The Pink Party for Breast Cancer Awareness

Raising awareness and funds for Breast Cancer is something very near and dear to my heart. Breasts are the defining physical feature of a woman and we must find any way to rid cancer from destroying them.

One day I sat on my couch and thought, "It's October and it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I want to raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer". From that moment I started brainstorming any of my friends who would likely love to help me plan an event to spread awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Research. I then solicited one of my greatest friends, Ali Matthews, co-owner of SOROYALTY, a glam greek gear clothing line that makes fabulous apparel for sorority girls around the nation. It was from there that the Pink Party emerged.


This step is very important because it is always important to cater to the right audience. In this case our audience would be women; young girls, moms, daughters, aunts. Etc. Since we knew our biggest target audience would be young women we decided to direct most of our attention to sorority girls.


When working with other people on an event, it is important to first collectively go to the chopping block to make sure everyone involved knows where each other is coming from and can further assign major roles for each person. The best way to collaborate is to create a Googledoc. A Googledoc enables all persons to input their ideas to get everyone involved. But, there is nothing like face-to-face communication, so meeting together and mapping out your vision on a whiteboard can be a great way to collaborate as well.


This step can often be overlooked if you are a dreamer and want to have everything that comes to mind at your event. But, you must stay grounded and choose an affordable budget that will not burn a hole in your pocket but at the same time be a valuable, memorable experience for your guests.


So you have identified your target audience, you have mapped out your vision for the event, and you have decided on a budget. Now, it is time to choose a venue for the event. For Ali and I, we wanted a place that was conveniently located to the University in Tempe, AZ, affordable, and trendy. That is why we chose W Scottsdale.

When negotiating prices on a venue make sure that you address the following things:

Does the price include food?
Can outside food be brought in?
What would the cost be for AV and a sound system set-up?
Do you provide security for the event?
Is there a deposit that is needed prior to the event?
Does your company have an insurance policy?
What is the earliest we can come in to set-up?


No event is a successful event without entertainment! While playing Pandora at a small private get-together is nice, affordable and convenient, that is not the route to take for a large event. In your budget you should include a DJ who is willing to cater to your music preference.
(Pictured: DJ Circle)

On top of a DJ, depending on the nature of your event, it is nice to have guest speakers at major events. For our party we wanted to have a Breast Cancer survivor speak and also a Breast Cancer doctor so we made sure to include them in our agenda. Ali had a great connection so she invited Belinda Barclay-White (President of Breast Net)and Sabrina A. Douglas, a 3-time Breast cancer survivor.


You always want to keep memories of your event so be sure to invite a photographer to snap photos and a trusted, popular, local magazine who will be sure to cover the story. Ali and I chose to have photographer Brian Kelly (CEO & Founder of Encore 24) and popular magazine, 944, follow our event.


There is nothing like sponsors to make an event that much livelier. Since the nature of our event was catered to women, we solicited sponsorship from women who held businesses catered to…WOMEN. What we did is we allowed them to have a table at the event where they could sell their items. Each table personally decided to donate a portion of their earnings to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

PINK by Victoria's Secret


Gold Canyon Candles

C.Newman jewelry

Maycie & Me


If you are hosting a large event, be sure to charge each sponsor to have a table-you can decide what you would like them to pay as it is your event.

*Note: Encourage each sponsor to donate a gift basket from their company to be raffled off. Guests at check-in can buy raffle tickets and to encourage them to stay till the end, the winners can be announced at the end of the event.

**Don’t be shy to pick up the phone and ask for sponsorship from your local grocery stores or bakeries. The earlier you solicit sponsorship from vendors the more likely you are to get them to agree. Creating a simple letter outlining the reason for your request with specific dates and times of your event will also increase your chances of obtaining sponsorship.


It is important to solidify a date, time, and location for your event before you make any advertisements/collateral about your event. Keep in mind; if you are going to use another company’s logo on any collateral you personally create/design you MUST get their approval before distribution. To spread the news fast about our event we went straight to our target audience; sorority girls. Hitting the campus we visited each sorority, passing out flyers and getting them excited through social media outlets about the event. Pick up the phone and call your local radio and news stations…THEY ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR A GOOD STORY!


Remember in my last blog when I said balloons and streamers can add to a party? Well, they definitely can make a large room look ten times more intimate so we took advantage and bought as many streamers and balloons as we could from Party City. We stuck to certain shades of pink and used white as our accent color. Below I will show you some great creative ideas to make your event look amazing!

Short-stem PINK roses center piece

Flowers can always make an event look classy and inviting and make for cute center pieces. To make the above center piece simply order pink flowers from your local florist. To buy cheap ones, order from Costco! From there, go to the Dollar Tree and buy short, square glass vases. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of water into the vase, cut the roses to fit in the vase and your center piece is complete! To make it stand out even more, buy clear gems from your nearest Michael's and sprinkle them across the table.

Chinese take-out box center pieces

Talk about the easiest way to make your tables look cute! Chinese take-out boxes, Styrofoam, and tissue paper are all you need to make this masterpiece, all of which can be found at Hobby Lobby or Michael's . The Chinese take-out boxes and tissue paper come in assorted colors so of course I stuck with pink patterns and white as my accent color for our event. Inside the Chinese take-out box press your tissue paper inside. To keep it upright, place a ball of Styrofoam and add more tissue paper to cover the ball....WALLA!

Cardboard cut-out Table Name plates

Using the same Chinese take-out box centerpieces you can construct super cute Name plates for your sponsors tables.

You will need the following items: Construction paper, cardboard pizza circles, Popsicle sticks, tape or glue, creative letters (all of which you can find at Michael's ).

Step 1: Trace the cardboard pizza circle on your choice of construction paper making sure you make it about an inch wider than the actual cardboard pizza circle.

Step 2: Glue the construction paper onto the cardboard pizza circle and tape or glue a Popsicle stick to the bottom, back portion of the cardboard.

Step 3: Take your letters and write out whatever you want the front of the cardboard to say-glue accordingly.

Step 4: Take the Popsicle stick end and dig it into the Chinese take-out box referenced above (dig into the Styrofoam).

...there you go, you now have a cute name plate for your sponsors!

You have now read how we planned the perfect large event! REMEMBER,send "Thank-You" notes to all people who helped in the success of your event. ALSO, post-brainstorming after you've just finished an event is crucial as it helps you figure out what went well and what can be fixed for the next time.

Thanks for reading! Now start planning your first large event ;-)


  1. LOVE your ideas! I am in the process of planning a Spa Event next month and this blog just gave me a boost! Thank you!

  2. I am so glad to hear that! I hope the Spa Event was tons of fun! xoxo