In the US, we often leave event planning to the professionals. Event planners are those people who don’t overlook a single detail, are able to hound countless vendors to get the best price and invitations delivered on time, and make sure all the ducks are in a row when the church bells chime. They make your dreams come true.
Well, many Paraguayan women should consider work in event planning if they move to they States. These women are experts. (I’m going to use birthday parties as an example, but there are many events from weddings to funerals that Paraguayan women organized without hiccup.)
Paraguayan women start planning by discussing the menu, decorations, and party favors months in advance. They’ll think about their budget and take countless trips to different towns and cities to scout out the best prices. They will discuss options and prices with all their friends and female relations until they develop the perfect plan. The planning drills down to what each member of the family hosting the event will wear. By the hour of the event, not a corner of the house will have cobwebs and not a wrinkle can be found on the t-shirts of the children.
Birthday parties are a big deal in Paraguay. We’re talking parties that cost a couple months salary for one-year-old birthdays and perhaps as much as a year’s salary for quinceñearas. The guest list for these birthdays can range from thirty people to hundreds.
Birthdays in Paraguay have a list of essential elements:
- Invitations, addressed to each invitee, printed, and hand delivered by the hostess.
- Theme, it might be princess or Winnie the Pooh, but all parties have a theme.
- Agenda, depending on the age of the birthday person, there is a set order of events.
- Sound system, to blast music, of course.
- Tables with tablecloths and chairs, rented because no one has that many tables and chairs.
- Food, you can’t have a party without food.
- Cake, it’s a birthday after all.
- Party gifts and treats, if it’s a kid’s party every kid gets a toy and some candy and every mother gets a trinket and candy. If it’s an adult party everyone gets at least a pocket full of candy.
- Table centerpieces, every table needs a centerpiece that the people at the table will take home with them.
- Display for the cake and photos, this usually takes the form of a backdrop stylized for the party theme and a table with decorations and the cake.
- Gift receptacle, a decorated basket set up near the cake table.
- Photographer, who takes posed photos, films key events during the party, and also takes action photos.
- Other things that set ambiance, for a kid’s birthday there is always a bouncy house. There might also be face painting and the Paraguayan version of a piñata. For other birthdays it might be a decorated, large frame to take photos or fabric garlands (in theme colors) to decorate the event space.