No matter which family celebration, whether a birthday party, a holiday party, or an anniversary bash, listed below are several party planning tips to help make your families celebrations a wonderful success!
Start with the basic questions:
Do you have a budget?
How many invitations will you need to sent out?
When and where do you plan to schedule this party?
Do you have a party theme picked out?
Will your party include a meal or just refreshments?
Ok, you have the basics down now it’s time to move on to the fun stuff.
General Party Planning Tips
Focusing on the details can make all the difference. By planning ahead your allowing for sufficient time to organize and plan for your next family celebration. Creating a planning list will help to keep you organized and can save you from a frantic shopping trip later.
Here are some extra tips for making your family celebration a success.
- Having your guest sign a party guestbook as they arrive makes for a memorable party keepsake later.
- How well do your party-goers know each other? When you have lots of people who do not know one another having nametags ready is a smart idea. Be creative by adding party themed stickers, quotes, or maybe even facts about each person such as “First One Dead in the Zombie Apocalypse“. You could also be creative with your guest names. For example: Having a Zombie Party, you could write “Walker” Wendy. Be prepared to hand out the tags at the front door as guest arrive. Having them displayed in alphabetical order will make this much quicker. And don’t forget to have a few extras on hand.
During Holiday parties especially, you can generate a festive party environment with music, scents, and lighting.
Music can be an essential element of many parties. If you’ve chosen to include music in your plans, think about the musical choices of your friends when choosing your selections. Start by queuing up a few of your favorite holiday tunes and have them playing as your guests arrive. But remember you have options, besides breaking out the CDs you could hire a DJ or a band. You could also just simply set out a good CD player with a selection of CDs for your party-goers to choose the tunes. Use scented soy candles or simmering water with citrus fruit and cinnamon to give your house a pleasant aroma. Decorative lighting can significantly add to a fun party environment. Try changing out some light bulbs with lower wattage bulbs, holiday lights, or even colored light bulbs. Occasionally dark black lights and strobe lights can be fun (be careful when using strobe lights they have been known to cause people with epilepsy to have seizures).
Visit the discount store for cheap tablecloths or if your more the DIY, do it yourself, type visit the fabric store. But first ensure that you know exactly how many yards of material you’ll need to cover your table(s). Add a special touch by using pinking shears to cut the edges or use color tape on the hems. Having a children’s party? Cover your kids table with a large piece of paper then let the kids decorate it with washable crayons or markers to create a unique table covering. To ensure your guest can see over the table do not use extra large or tall table centerpieces. For an extra bit of fun collect the guest nametags and draw one to raffle off the table centerpiece before the party end time. Don’t forget to decorate your buffet table as well. While shopping for party supplies be sure to check out your local thrift stores because you would be amazed at the items you can find to enhance your table decorations.
Use candles very sparingly and safely! Make sure candle holders are secure, using floating candles in water is even better still. Never use candles at costume parties nor parties where children may be present. Instead use battery operated or electric candles. There are many DIY candle tutorials for making these types of candles more party themed. Flowers are a great addition to any party. Ask your local florist about themed arrangements or visit your craft supply store and make your own using dry, paper, or silk flowers arrangements. Check out these Pinterest ideas for more DIY party decoration ideas.
You may or may not have a lot of food at your party or family celebration but the rule of thumb here is “too much” is never too much. If your planning a full meal be sure to include vegetarian selections. Have several drink selections available colas, punch, tea, coffee, or water. Be sure to have hot drinks available for late in the evening hours. Try placing a creative label on each table or food IE: “The Walking Dead Carol’s Cookies” at a Zombie Party. Plan for 4 – 6 appetizers per person but be careful what foods you choose to make available. You don’t want to offer gooey treats or drippy sauces near furniture or costly rugs. Have a good spot cleaner available just in case of accidental spills.
Party Games & Activities
Games are not required for every party or celebration however if children are the intended guest you will want to have something planned. And of course the game prizes must obviously be theme related. Party prizes do not need to be costly just fun and creative. Just a suggestion but having a photo booth available can be quite fun for everyone!
First impressions really do count for something. So when choosing which invitations to use be sure they are creative enough to not only capture your guests attention but to entice them into being creative. Handwritten invitations are more personal but certainly not required just try to make them fun and different. If your using an odd shape or sized invitation seek advice from the local post office as to postage cost. Mailing a test invitation to yourself can ensure it stands up to the mailing process. Use “RSVP” to get a real guest count and prevent “regrets” later. Don’t forget to include your email address as a means of RSVPing as well.
If your planning a party that includes a meal be sure to include the menu in your invitation. For an extra special touch print the menu on decorative paper and then shape it to fit inside your invitation. Be sure to include written directions or a map to the party. It doesn’t hurt to put a sign or something (balloons) outside to let guest know they have arrived. Specify the exact time the party starts in hours and when it ends ahead of time to prevent any confusion later. And be sure to include what type of attire or costume is appropriate for your party.
Party Hosting Tip #1 – Before the party begins.
Remove any fragile or breakable items from the party area, you know accidents do happen. Either safely secure any rugs that can be slipped on, or temporarily remove them, you don’t want anyone falling and breaking a hip or an arm. Consider removing or unplugging your TV especially if it’s in the party area. Nothing kills your mingling guests moods faster than several people huddled around a TV. Depending on the party theme and space available you may want to consider either adding or eliminating all of the seating available in the party area. This can produce more space for individuals to mingle or dance.
Plan for guest who have had to much to drink to stay over if necessary. Don’t ever let a guest who has had too much to drink drive, it could save a life and it could save YOU from a lawsuit. As the host, you are responsible for the safety of your guests. Plan for parking beforehand. Don’t wait till the last day only to realize some guest will need to walk a distance to retrieve their parked cars. If you’ll be allowing visitors to park in a designated area such as the backyard, be sure to include that information on the invitation. If parking is going to be an issue some suggestions would be to inquire with your neighbors if they have space to allow for parking, asking some guest to carpool, or in some situations possibly hiring valet parking services.
A small detail but an important one, leave an additional roll of toilet tissue easily accessible in the bathroom area. For a nice touch you might want to add a scented candle. If your party includes children maybe set out a scented spray instead. Also having a roll of paper towels on the bathroom counter to be used moist or dry is much appreciated as well as having plenty of liquid soap. If anyone ask if they may bring something to the party – always say yes: cheese, crackers, pop everything helps.
Your job is nearly done, relax. Join your guest and enjoy the party. With everything you’ve planned in place, good cheer, great food, and friends your party will be a hit!
Party Hosting Tip #2 – When the party starts.
If your busy with the food or last minute party prep (which there hopefully will not be anything left for the last minute if your following these tips) recruit a friend to greet guest as they arrive, take their jackets, and direct them to the refreshments table. Prearrange for someone else to be in charge of taking pictures. This is a good task for that normally shy or quiet friend who usually needs a little push to mingle or interact with others. Pass out the party favors if you have them as they are often a great touch to any party. Favors do not need to be costly just fun and creative. Be prepared, accidents are often a part of the party life. Don’t let an accident or spill ruin the party. Keep some cleaner available just in case.
Should the unthinkable happen and your party be crashed or worse get a visit by the police always be respectful. Chances are they we’re invited or called in by a friend (you maybe forgot to invite to the party) or a neighbor. Stay calm and attempt to answer law enforcement officer’s issues outside your front door. The best thing to do is agree to all reasonable request (turning down loud music, moving cars from blocked drives, ect.) and if you should be drunk, do NOT make an effort to discuss anything with the authorities. Instead send your partner or a reliable friend to the door. An intoxicated party host provides the police with a valid reason for concern and perhaps justification for further action. As a party host the biggest lesson to learn is to never let yourself lose control, particularly at your own parties!
Party Hosting Tip #3 – After the party ends.
Pat yourself on the back for another success event. Either enlist some friends to help with the clean up and returning of rentals or save it for the day after if the party ran into the late evening hours. Send out thank you cards about one week after the party and be sure to include a party photo.
Remember it doesn’t matter if it’s a big bash or a small gathering, planning is the key to a successful party. A little pre party planning goes a long way when it comes to guest remembering your parties and family celebrations for years to come.
Photo Credit: sandandorsnow