Today I’m going to share day 8-14 of how to plan a fabulous party! Here are today’s topics:
* Menu planning
* Don’t be tacky
* Making your party unique
* Purchasing prizes
* Getting your guest excited
Food at a party is very important so start planning your menu at least three weeks in advance. Because food is such an important part of a party it can also cause the host/hostess a lot of stress and anxiety. Planning ahead will help you avoid unwanted stress and anxiety. Here are some of the questions to ask yourself when planning the menu:
• What time of day is the party?
• Depending on the time of day should we serve snacks, hors d’oeuvres, a meal?
• What type of meal will we provide? Sit down dinner or buffet?
• Will we serve alcohol?
• Will alcohol be served at the table or will we have a bar?
• What will we serve for dessert, if any?
These are just a few of the questions I ask myself, and your answers to them will determine what you will be serving and how it will be served.
Make sure when you’re planning your menu that you consider your budget. I’ll be honest I don’t put a lot of time into my menus but I always make sure the food is delicious, easy to make and fits the theme of the party! Want to know my secrets for a quick and delicious menus? My first secret weapon is Costco! Costco has so many super easy and really delicious appetizer type foods. Most of the food I buy from there can be kept frozen until the day before and then prepped the morning of the party. My other secret weapon is a friend that’s a caterer. I have no problem paying a little money for someone else to make incredibly delicious food for my parties because I know that good food is important at a fabulous party! When I have hired my friend in the past, I have had her make a few select items and then I fill in the rest of the menu with delicious appetizers from Costco.
Don’t be tacky
I know this might seem like a strange topic to cover, when it comes to party planning, but this is important. As I have mentioned in previous posts, when you make decisions about your party you must always consider your budget. If you are planning the party it is your responsibility to provide everything for that party, including the food.
Don’t ask your guests to bring food!
This is one of my biggest pet peeves because it’s insulting to get invited to a party and then asked to bring all my own food. If you are inviting guests to a party they should feel like a guest. When you ask your guests to bring food to your party it turns them from feeling like a guest into feeling like they are serving you. For example, if you are throwing a BBQ don’t ask your guests to bring their own meat, a side dish, and a drink, it’s tacky. If you are hosting a BBQ then you provide the meat, a few side dishes and the drinks, only then is it okay to ask your guests to bring a side dish to share. If you want to ask people to bring a couple side dishes that’s okay but don’t expect them to bring all of their own food.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally don’t mind bringing a side dish to an event, I just don’t want to bring all my own food. If you are planning a fabulous party then you need to be a fabulous host/hostess and provide the majority of the food.
Make your party unique
I know this seems like it would be obvious but this is important. Throwing a unique party is what will make it memorable and talked about! I’ve talked, in previous posts about making your party you, and ultimately this is what will make it YOU-nique! Here are the steps I take to accomplish this:
* Start dreaming. What does my BEST party look like? Dream up your ideal party and then get creative for how to make it affordable (making decorations, party favors, etc.).
* Get inspired by parties that others have thrown. There are lots of great party ideas on Pinterest. Get inspired by someone elses idea and then make it your own.
* Go all out with your theme. An example of this would be my 1920’s party. For this party I went all-out 20’s, I had a gun check station, a 20’s bar menu and I even printed out 20’s slang cards so my guests could speak the party of a 1920’s party guest!
Start purchasing decorations at least three weeks ahead of time, especially if you will be ordering them from online. Devote an entire day to shop hopping to purchase all the decorations needed. Personally I don’t really like to shop so getting it all out of the way in one day feels like a huge accomplishment and then it can be checked off of my “To Do” list and I don’t have to think about the decorations anymore. Make sure when you get home from shopping that you lay everything out and think through the party in your mind, to make sure that you purchased everything you need. If you forgot something write it down right away and pick it up next time you are in town.
Store all of the decorations together in one location. Pack items in clear plastic bins and store them somewhere that is easily accessible.
If you will be making decorations for the party you should get started on this no later than three weeks before the party. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete all handmade decorations by no later than two weeks before the party. You will have a lot of things to think about as the party approaches and you don’t want to have to think about decorations that still need to be made.
Other inexpensive decoration ideas would be to borrow decorations from friends or search Craigslist for used items. If you go this route, make sure to get all the items from them at least 2-3 weeks in advance. You never know what will happen, sometimes what they have turns out to be different then you remembered it, sometimes they won’t have enough. Play it safe and borrow/purchase decorations at least a few weeks before the party! These are both great ways to save money but still have fabulous decorations!
Lighting is an important part of every party. It will set the ambiance for your party so you don’t want too much or too little.
Lighting is something you need to think about in the early stages of planning because often times you will need to purchase your means of lighting. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine what type of lighting you will need:
* What time of ambiance do I want to set? Bright and playful, candlelit and romantic or something in between?
* What time of day is your party? Will you be providing all of the lighting or will you have some natural sunlight?
Here are a few ideas for types of lighting:
* Candles: tea lights, pillar candles, etc
* White Christmas lights
* Table lamps
You don’t have to spend a lot to have perfect lighting at your party. IKEA is a great place to buy candles, they have every different size possible, they are affordable and they burn very nicely. The Dollar store is a great place to also buy candles or purchase Christmas lights without spending a lot. If you want to light your party with lamps borrow them from other rooms in your house, friends or purchase inexpensive lamps at your local thrift stores.
While you’re out shopping for decorations is also a good time to look for prizes for your game winners. Not all parties will have games, but if you are having games, purchase prizes a few weeks in advance and who knows, maybe you’ll even find a few good sales!
Getting your guest excited
I think getting your guest excited about your party is an important part to making it fabulous! Parties are always better, and more exciting, when they’re anticipated. By now your guests should already know the theme of the party but start dropping hints about what you’re going to be doing at the party. Ask them about what they’re going to wear, tell them how excited you are about your outfit, or go shopping with them and look for your outfits together!
Dropping hints about your party will peek their interest and get them excited but make sure not to give too much info away, you still want most of it to be a surprise!
I was nominated as one of the Top 25 Home Management Moms of 2012! If I have helped you with your home management this year, I would love it if you would please take a moment to vote for me (you can vote once per day until October 26th). Thank you so much!