Planning a party does not need to be overwhelming, and it can be done very simply. Start small and work your way to something larger, like your parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary. Here I have listed a few tips on party planning, and what you need to remember before and after the party.
Start with inspiration
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Consider hosting a:
Playdate. Invite over a few friends with little ones,spread some blankets on the floor, throw a few pillows around, lay out a few toy bins, turn on some fun background music, and serve a few simple snacks and lemonade. The parents can chat while the little ones crawl around and play - contained fun, yay!
Coffee date. Invite a few of your besties over for coffee and/or tea. Add a few muffins or cupcakes displayed on a cute plate, place a few flowers in a pretty vase in the centre, throw in a few cute napkins, and the scene is set - enjoy!
Cocktails and appies. To throw a more adult-friendly party, invite over a few friends and offer a fun cocktail selection that you make up ahead of time and serve in Mason jars. How cute is that?! Shake, add cute straws, and sip away! Maybe just focus on two recipes to start. Or offer a juice bar and a bottle of gin or vodka, and let your guests have fun creating their own concoctions. Add some background music, set out a few appetizers/ finger foods, and have fun! Don’t forget the ice.
Don't forget to include when sending out your party invites
Date and time. Consider listing an end time, if there is a time limit. Maybe you rented a party room for two or three hours, so you need to let your guests know that information. That way, if someone can’t make it until later, they won’t show up as the party is shutting down (that would be a bummer!).
Location. Even if the party is at your house, include your home address so you don’t leave your guests wondering where to go! And if your guests are traveling from an unfamiliar location to your home, GPS will help them find you.
RSVP. Don’t forget to list the name, contact information, and date you need to know by. People tend to respond better to deadlines, so give them an RSVP date (otherwise, you might never hear back).
Theme/dress code. Depending on where your party is, or who your party is for, certain dress requirements or suggestions might be best. Maybe grandma wants everyone to wear her favorite color yellow to the party or maybe you plan on snapping a group picture, so color coordination would be perfect! Or if you are hosting a themed party, encourage guests to dress the part - now they are providing extra décor at no added cost to you - win!
Instructions. Sometimes this might not be applicable but if gifts are involved, add a registry or ‘in lieu of gifts, bring flowers’ kind of a thing to the invitation.
Catchy name. This is not needed - and perhaps better suited to experienced planners - but if you are feeling inspired, check out Pinterest for some great ideas, like an ‘I Do BBQ’!
Before your party
Plan ahead! Try to organize all of the food, drinks, and decorations ahead of time. This way, when the big day arrives, you can sit back and enjoy with all of your guests!
Food. If you plan your event over meal times, then you need to feed your attendees. Otherwise, they will leave in search of food elsewhere - and that would be a party disaster!
Snacks. If you plan your party in between meals (like from 2 to 4pm), it still is polite to offer a few finger foods. A plate of cheese and crackers, and/or fruits and veggies can be easily prepared ahead of time and will keep for a few hours while sitting out on the table.
Drinks. Keep the age of your guests and the atmosphere in mind. Hosting in your home with white carpet - make sure the kids are served clear liquids with lids and straws - fruit punch can make a mess! It is also helpful to mark any coolers ‘kid drinks’ and ‘adult drinks.’ This way, little Jr. isn’t digging through the beer to find an apple juice box.
After your party
Planning and hosting an event, no matter how big or small, can take time, creativity, and a lot of energy. Usually afterward, you are ready to be done and move on to the next thing... but wait! The last thing, and usually the most important thing, that you need and should do is send out thank-you cards! Often times they can get pushed down on the list, or even fall off of the list and that is a major party foul! Think of how excited you are when you receive a sincere thank-you note. Not just a generic one, but one that someone put time and effort into. One that was customized just for you! I bet it made you feel extra special. And I bet that extra good feeling made you appreciate that sweet sender even more.
Karissa is the co-owner of the parenting website, adorethem.com. Adore Them strives to share positive, practical advice and resources to help you find joy in your own parenting journey.
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