So you want to plan a party…
Who doesn’t like a good party? I know I am always looking for a reason to celebrate SOMETHING! You don’t necessarily need a birthday or anniversary to plan a get together- all you need are some friends or family that like to celebrate anything! It doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive, you just need to have a plan to determine what you need to buy, and create a timeline for executing your vision.
Step 1: What is the Occasion?
What are you celebrating? Is it a Birthday party, bridal shower, baby shower or just an excuse to get together with your friends?
Step 2: Who is on the guest list?
Do you have a specific group of people that you are planning to invite to your get together? If it is a Bridal shower/baby shower or party for someone else: you need to find out who that person would like to have at their party, and you may need to find their address if an invite needs to be mailed. Is it a girl’s party or are guys welcome? Are people allowed to bring friends or a guest? It is also important to find out numbers so you know how many people you need to provide food/seats for.
Step 3: What is the budget?
You need to be mindful that when you plan a party it WILL cost you money. It all depends on what you will be providing along the lines of food and drink and will there be décor? Everything adds up even if you don’t realize it at first when you set your budget. Give your self a buffer to allow for things that come up that you wouldn't expect.
Step 4: What is there a theme?
Lets be serious, there ALWAYS needs to be a theme! Even if your theme is “Lace and Gold” it is nice to set some guidelines so that everything flows well. You don’t need to come up with something like “Christmas in July” to consider it a theme. It helps when buying decorations or coming up with your menu to have somewhat of a theme. Also if there are multiple people buying décor or food, you are all on the same page.
Step 5: What is your timeline?
How long do you have to plan this event, and when is the best time to buy or rent props, décor, flowers etc. You don’t want to be stuck doing everything last minute, so if there are things you can prepare in advance, it will help you in the long run. ALSO you need to think of the timeline for your event. When will you be serving appetizers, is there an activity involved in your event, if it is a shower, when will there be speeches or gifts? Even if you don’t have a solid plan on the party, you can write up a rough draft with an idea of when everything is supposed to happen.
Step 6: Where is your venue?
This also depends on your guest list. If it is a larger party, it may not be possible to have it in your home. You may need to rent a hall or party room. If you are having it catered you may not need a venue with a kitchen but if you are cooking or baking at the same time as the party, you will need an available stove and fridge. If it isn’t at your home: is it easy for your guests to get to? If there is alcohol at the party, will there be cabs available for people to get home?
Step 7: What is on the menu?
After you determine how many people are coming and what type of party you are having, you can decide what you will be serving. Is it a sit down meal, or just drinks and appetizers? You also need to decide if you want people to bring anything, so you can mention it before hand. When you are deciding on your menu, it is also important to take a look at the event and see what an appropriate menu might look like.
For example: We had a brunch bridal shower for a friend at a golf course and we served: Mimosas with strawberries, Fresh fruit platters, Light salads and soups, fancy sandwiches and an omelet bar. There was also a sweets table with a cake.
Step 8: What is the décor?
This is a big one for me, because I always seem to break the bank when it comes to décor. It becomes easy when you find your theme and you have a color pallet you are working with. You don’t want to choose too many colors or patterns to avoid you party becoming cluttered. Less is more. What I like to do is chose one focal piece, whether is it a table cloth, napkin, plates, flowers etc. and expand my theme/color palate around that.
For example: I had a Secret Garden Party theme for a girls summer lunch on my families orchard this summer, and I based my colour palate around a cream, pink and green vintage looking table cloth I found at home sense. I pulled the colours from the cloth for my flowers, candle holders and bought cream vases and gold plate chargers. I wanted it to have a whimsical theme so I based it around this tall tree in my back yard and suspended a chandelier from the middle branch to hang in the centre of the table. I even bought copies of the secret garden book as part of my centre piece.
Step 9: Dress code
There is nothing worse then being over dressed or under dressed to a party, except if there is a theme and you’re the only one not dressed up. I like to always include the dress code on my invites so that everyone is on the same page (and so everyone compliments each other in photos!)
Step 10: Send out the invites!
Now that you have decided on who is coming, where you are having it and what the theme is, you can either send out invites (matching your theme and color scheme, of course) or verbally tell your friends/family.
It’s the day of the party and you are stressing out- there is SO much to do and so little time! How do you get it all done?
1. I am a list maker. I feel as though if I write down everything that needs to be done, I can manage it better. It is also easier to delegate tasks to other people if they are in need of a job.
2. Hire your most reliable family and friends. Obviously the payment would be in wine and hugs! The more help you can get, the better so you don’t overload your self with so much work that you don’t even enjoy the party yourself.
3. If there is food involved: buy the food the day before and if possible, make food in advance and freeze it. That way all you have to do is pop it in the oven or let it de-frost.
4. Set time aside to get ready. There is nothing worse then working away all day to make sure everything is perfect, then you run out of time to shower! You don’t want to ruin your own photos, do you?
Now you are ready to start planning! Just follow these 10 steps and you will be set up for success!