I was an event planner before I decided to stay at home with Hudson, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve done anything that you can’t do. Planning a party is about being organized. You may think that you’re not creative and you can’t do it, but anyone can be creative. It’s about being resourceful and looking for different ways to make a statement.
I’ve come up with what I think is a good list of things to keep in mind when planning a party.
1. Start early. You want to avoid stress. With a baby, you don’t want to be running around like crazy two weeks before the party because you’ve waited until the last minute.
2. Decide on a theme and/or colors. This will help you know what to do. If you have a theme, think of ways you can expand on the theme. If you just use colors, think of ways you can fill the space with those colors.
3. Keep your eyes open. When you’re at Target, look around for things that go with your colors. Start doing this months in advance. I found all of the green buckets back in January. I knew I’d need them and I’d use them. At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure how I’d use them, but the color was right and I snatched them up. Look in the dollar bins and the seasonal departments. If something fits the color then grab it. If you start doing this months in advance, you won’t have as much trouble finding something when it comes down to the last minute.
4. Make a list. Initially, you need a list broken up into categories: decorations, food, drinks, extras. Think of the fun ways you can use these categories to expand on your theme/colors. We chose to have only green and orange food. Then we had the bbq and ham, which obviously isn’t green or orange. But a vegetable platter of only green veggies and orange veggies. Green deviled eggs. Green and orange candy. Use anything to fit the theme.
Then make lists/timelines two weeks out from the party to outline your tasks. It helps to stay organized. Make a list of what you should do a week out. Make a list of what you should do the day before and the day of the party.
5. Be original. Use blogs and magazines for inspiration, but don’t take someone else’s party and just replicate it. Make your party your own. It’s more fun when you know you did something and it fits your personality and the personality of the guest of honor. Everyone has a creative bone in their body. Find yours.
6. Think of your guests. If you invite adults to a child’s party, make sure the party is also adult-friendly. Have some adult food and adult beverages. If it’s an adult’s party and you invite kids, make it kid-friendly. Have a table for kids and food for kids. Everyone wants to feel comfortable when they attend a party, so make sure you have something for all of your guests.
7. Get help! Delegate! It’s impossible to have a huge party without getting help. My mother-in-law makes amazing cake balls and deviled eggs, so I asked her to do those things. My mom has connections for buying candy in bulk and already owns all of the containers for the candy. She can also tie a mean bow, so she picked up all of the ribbon in the appropriate colors and got to tying!
8. Make an outline/diagram of your space. I made a list for each room in the house. Kitchen: deviled eggs, ham, beverage dispensers, Green Eggs and Ham sign. Breakfast room: barbecue, mac ‘n cheese, all heavy food, paper poms, drink buckets. Dining room: centerpieces, candy, cupcakes, smash cake.
If you do this in advance, then the day of the party and the day before, you’re ready. You know exactly where things need to go.
9. Start setting up early. Don’t wait until the day of the party to decorate. Do the decorating two nights before. The night before, set out all of your dishes and get the party “staged.” The day of you can just put out all of the food and put the finishing touches on everything. Also- if you’re using balloons, wait until the day of to blow up the balloons and put them out.
10. More is more! When you think you’re all finished decorating, take a look around add something else. If you’re trying to make a punch with color, then find as many ways as possible to use that color. Always add more! When we finished decorating we had a couple of unused buckets and poms that had to go in one of the closets, but we were prepared. We had lots of stuff and found creative ways to use everything.
Those are my best party-planning tips. Do you have anything that you would add to the list?