This post was written in cooperation with Paperless Post. Opinions are my own. To learn more, please see my disclosure policy.
I love to entertain! I especially enjoy smaller gatherings, dinner parties, having a small group of friends over to watch a sporting event, or even a fun girls night in with wine, cheese, and yummy dessert.
So right now, you may be thinking: “I’m a busy on the go person; I don’t have time to plan a party!” Sure, party planning can be daunting and if not done correctly incredibly stressful. The good news is, with a little organization and a plan, a party can be as easy to plan as Tuesday Night’s Taco Dinner. I have found with 10 simple steps, party planning can be stress-free. From choosing your invitations, to washing the last glass, your party can be the one everyone reminisces as being one of the best!
A word on invitations: Recently, I have relied on text messages or event invites sent through Facebook to invite my guests. However, first impressions are important, and the invitation is the first impression for your party. Sure, there are plenty of ways to inform your guest of the details of your party, I have used the ever popular event setting on Facebook more than once, then had the audacity to get upset when my guests did not click a button committing or regretting, and have felt the frustration that comes with the maybe option. Fortunately, I recently found Paperless Post. Paperless Post offers beautiful, customizable, and personalized invitations delivered straight to the recipients e-mail inbox. Meticulously designed electronic invitations, set the tone for your party. You have the ability to include a map to the party location, or add a background; you can even choose to have a discussion wall for your guests to chat and coordinate pre-party. Paperless post offers digital and printed Birthday Party, Wedding, Baby Shower, and Special Occasion invitations.
10 Tips For Stress-Free Party Planning
- Determine your budget and reason for your party. A party does not need to be a huge event, or have a huge budget. Potluck is an option to keep food costs down. It has also become common to make a request of BYOB so the alcohol expense does not fall entirely on the host. I do recommend having a couple of bottles of wine (one white, and one red) and beer on hand for those who may not BYO. As the host, you will supply all paper products, glassware, eating utensils, and plates, bowls, etc…
- Choose a theme, if you would rather not use a particular theme, think about a color scheme of 2 or 3
colors. Coordinate your color scheme with your invitations. Paperless Post has some excellent color options. If you elect to go the themed route, choose complementary colors, and nothing too garish that may take away from your gathering. (Neon has a place in the world but unless your party includes a black light and rave music, or is an 80’s theme stay away!!)
- Set a menu, wine, cheese, and dessert; dinner; potluck; heavy appetizers or finger foods? Really it is up to you, just keep in mind if alcohol will be served it is your responsibility to make sure your guests have something in their tummies, and no one drives intoxicated. Additionally, as the host of any party but especially one where alcohol is served you should provide non-alcoholic beverages. Water is fine, and you can jazz it up with some orange, lemon, and lime slices. For added fun, freeze berries or watermelon and add to water in place of ice.
- Decide who you are going to invite. While parties are a great way to introduce different groups of friends, you want to make sure there are enough guests who have common interests and can mingle comfortably. Do your best to avoid awkward matches, you don’t want any of your guests hoping for a rescue text soon after they arrive.
- Send out your invitations. No longer do you need to rely on garish ad filled emails or cluttered Facebook event pages. Paperless Post has everything from fun to exquisite designs. For most parties, an electronic invitation is completely acceptable, for more formal events a traditional paper invitation should be sent. Visit this link and check out all of the options Paperless Post has for your invitation needs, if you are going the paper invitation route, not to worry – Paperless Post has you covered there too!
- Select your decorations. This could be anything from colored plates and napkins, a few festive balloons, or an all out tiki bar. Going for simple? A few strings of festive lights can add an elegant touch.
- Determine where you will serve food and drinks. If you are planning on a more formal dinner, set your table beforehand. More casual? Make sure you have tables clear and available for setting down food and drink. It is always a disappointment when guests have to juggle plates of finger foods and a beverage glass – this almost always leads to spills. Trust me, a week after your party, you don’t want to be on Pinterest hack #12 to remove stains from your carpet.
- Set up the night before if possible. This allows you to take a good look to make sure the flow will work and you have everything you need. Last minute store runs when your realize you forgot to buy plastic forks are super stressful.
- Allow yourself time to get ready for your party. It’s not a good look if you are out of breath and sweaty because you were running around getting dressed just before your guests are due to arrive
- Enjoy! Yes, you are the party host but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. There will likely be a glitch or two, after all this is life – but it is a party, and everyone (even the host) is meant to enjoy!
Finally, I find it helpful to have a dedicated folder or notebook with all the details for the party, and my party to-do list. I also like to write-up a little synopsis of my event the day after, making special note of anything I would do again, or anything I would try to avoid. This way, when I am planning my next party, I can refer back to my notes to know what worked and what did not.
With a little organization and advance planning any party from a small gathering to a huge blowout can be stress-free!
So, how do you plan a party? Do you have any tips to add to my list?