Party Planning 101

May is here! Spring is here! Summer is coming! With these come opportunities and reasons to celebrate. Graduation, school getting out, It’s lovely weather and you want a barbeque, etc, etc.

I recently just threw a party with my mom. It was a pampered chef party (love those!) and it got me thinking of all the things that go into planning an event that is just a couple hours long! There should be a handbook on Party Planning 101.

Okay, there probably are tons of handbooks, but let’s condense that into just a few hundred words for the sake of all our time. I researched a few ideas, added a few of my own opinions, and came up with a possible party planning guide that can help give you a some tips on your own parties (if you want to throw one).


Do not be afraid of lists. Lists are our friends. A few weeks in advance, start making a list of who you could invite. You’ll probably think of more to add as it goes by. Make sure you think of everyone you want to invite (or who may have a boost of happiness by being invited). Also make lists of possible food items, supplies needed, etc.

Allergy foods

When thinking of what foods to make, be aware of people’s dietary needs. Although we may not know everything people can or can’t eat, have a variety and make it obvious what you’re serving. If you have a coconut pie, sprinkle some flaked coconut on top. If you have peanut butter cookies, sprinkle peanuts on the plate. It’ll do double duty as a pretty garnish and as a warning to those with allergies. Have sweet and savory items for those on low-sugar diets or diabetes.

Plan Numbers

Remember that not everyone you will invite can come. Don’t let yourself get worried or hurt by this. People have things in there own lives, sometimes things we don’t know about. Just reach out and be a friend, and who can come will come. If you’re throwing a party like a pampered chef or jewelry party, count on less that ½ of the people coming, (maybe 30 percent). Other parties plan on 50 percent to 70 percent of the people coming.

Food Planning

Plan food for the highest possible number. You want more food than not enough. You can send leftovers home with people or take it to someone who needs a cheering up.

Also, try to plan food that won’t go bad after sitting out for a few hours. (or watch the clock carefully as to when it needs to go back in the fridge). Things with refried beans, meats, mayonnaise and other such foods are what to think about. You don’t want to get 40 people sick (or even one). One last thing to think about when planning food: can it be made in advance? Don’t do things that you have to do last minute. This will stress you out. You want it to be calm as your guests arrive. Chop food the night before, assemble what you can the night before. (See Creamy Caramel Dip article for a great and tasty recipe that is made in advance!)

Send Invitations

These to not have to be too cutsey or too fancy, but a personal invitation is more meaningful than a mass text or mass email, and will probably get more people out. When they get a personal invite, people will feel more inclined to go. That, and they’ll have a reminder.

Ask for an RSVP

This will help you in planning for numbers. Remember, though, that some who don’t RSVP might still come, and out of those who said yes, some might not be able to. (things come up such as sickness or last-minute obligations). But, if you have a basic number you’ll feel more secure.

You Don't Have To Be Fancy

I think people often feel undue pressure when planning a party. They care too much about how it looks. If you have fun with this, go for it. But don’t let it stress you out. Paper plates are great, simple décor is great, it’s not even necessary.

Be a Host, Not a Ghost

Get things ready before so you can greet. Relax at the party. Be kind, be friendly, smile, have fun. If you are inviting someone who wouldn’t know others, make it comfortable for them, especially. Don’t be afraid to ask for help beforehand if you need help preparing food or cleaning. Don’t worry about cleaning during the party. Be there for your guests.

Kids Table

This is a great idea if you have a party where kids will be present. Kid friendly parties are great, too! Have a table set up with kid friendly activities, paper plates, butcher paper tablecloth to color on, and clear liquid drinks. This way the kids can have fun, too!

Have fun with any parties you might have. Whether you host or go. Smile and see the good side of life. If you don’t have any parties planned, create one, even if you only invite one person. Make it a wholesome, good party where you can have fun and be safe.


    Sydney Hill
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2012
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