Tuesday, August 01, 2006

10 Party Tips I Couldn't Do Without

In light of our DD's 5th birthday bash over the weekend, I thought I'd share some of tips most crucial to my partying. These really are mostly meant for the large gatherings, not for, let's say, a small dinner party.

#1: Make lists.

I think this significantly contributes to a well put together party and ultimately reduces the stress of forgetting anything. I make lists for everything, starting with theme ideas/date/time/place, to list of invitees, to the menu, grocery lists, and to-do lists for the days leading up to the big event.

#2: Choose time of day carefully.

Depending on your budget, you may or may not wish to serve an entire meal. If you will not be serving lunch or dinner, be sure to plan your event with this in mind. Also, when planning my daughter's party, I knew the backyard would be the main scene for the childrens' activities which is why I chose a later time of day (4 pm). This way the shade would be beginning to cover the back and it would not be during the hottest part of the day.

#3: Serve a make-ahead menu.

When planning what to serve, I try to keep in mind how many dishes will need last minute preparations. (I keep this in mind for small dinner parties & holiday gatherings as well.) Serve as many dishes that can be made ahead as possible to reduce the stress level of your entertaining. (Crockpots & prepping/reheating are good options as well!)

#4: Ask others for contributions.

Not only would these items be one less thing to worry about, but one less thing to purchase as well (great for the tight budget!). For this most recent bash, not only did my dear mother purchase plates, but also cases of pop & water. Not only that, but she brought a tub of water balloons and a large fresh fruit salad. Bless her heart! My mother-in-law provided the CareBear pinata filled with candies and my grandma brought folding chairs and bags of chips.

#5: Have someone watch the little ones before the party.

My mom (there's that wonderful word again) watch my little one overnight the evening before the party & then brought her to the party. This was wonderful! I cleaned, cleaned, decorated, and spent some one-on-one time with the birthday girl without my toddler underfoot. This is a highly recommended strategy for BIG parties where a lot of work is involved.

#6: Make sure the bathrooms have extra toilet paper.

This is one small, but important detail that I think many people tend to overlook.

#7: Set the mood. Nothing like arriving at a party to find a quiet house.

This happened to me once. I wondered if I had the day or time wrong. Play some music, add some festive decorations & be prepared to greet your guests as they arrive.

#8: Eat before the guests arrive.

I have my husband to thank for this suggestion. It seems like the role of hostess is often a tireless one & I frequently find myself with little time to fix a plate and enjoy the meal.

#9: Save what you can.

In an effort to be frugal I try to reuse whatever I can, including party decorations. I've had the same girly "Happy Birthday" banner since Tatiana had her first birthday party & I just used it as she turned 5. I also save confetti for sprinkling around the tables, gift bags & tablecloths (even the plastic ones can be wiped off & refolded).

#10: Try to relax & enjoy.

After all, it is a party. Sure everything won't be perfect (hard for this first-born, type A, perfectionist to accept at times), but really, who will notice?

1 comment:

Alicia said...

I have to say the kids had A TON of fun!! My sister in law once suggested that you can sell your birthday stuff on Ebay!! As you know people will by anything ;0)