Thursday, June 20, 2013

Party 101, Part 1 - Where To Start?

 I'm currently in the throws of planning Addison's 7th Birthday party, so I thought, Why not use this time (while its all fresh) to write a Party 101 Series? 

As a mom of two who works full time, I know that parties can be stressful and can overwhelm your already busy schedule (and wallet).  Believe it or not, it can be fun, and relatively easy if you follow some key steps.  Whether its a birthday party, shower, engagement party or graduation party - the planning and execution process is pretty much the same across the board. Using Addison's party as my example, I will take you with me, step by step on how to plan a party that's put together, will keep you sane, and leave your guests wondering how you did it all!  Ready to get started?  Let's Go!

Where To Start

Before you begin, the number one thing you need to determine is how much you want to spend - in terms of both time and money.  A piece of advice from personal experience - don't wait until the last minute!  Whether you hire someone to design your whole party, or do it completely yourself, waiting until the last minute only makes it way more expensive.  There are great resources out there for everyone, whether you want to DIY or not -  as long as you start planning early.  For the lucky few, cost may not be an issue, but for moms like me - being budget conscious is important. As we go, I'll discuss tips on how to save some of that dough. 


Addison starts thinking about her next birthday party as soon as the current one is over, and as the year goes on she changes her mind about a million times.  I try to get her focused about two months out, and at that time, whatever idea she has in her head is what we go with.  No more changing her mind.  If your kids are too young to tell you what kind of party they want, or they can't decide, think about what they enjoy - it could be as simple as a favorite color, place, toy, TV show or activity.

Having a theme in mind is the most important piece in pulling everything cohesively together.  From here, you can start looking for inspiration and ideas (more on that later), and can pull a color scheme together.  In Addison's case this year, we attended a family graduation party that had a Luau theme.  She liked it so much, she decided that she wanted to do that for her birthday - done and done.


Once the theme was decided on, I started thinking about where we could have it.  We could spend a small fee and do it at a park, our neighborhood clubhouse or pool, or at a nearby marina.  I knew I wanted to spend a little extra on the party entertainment, so this is one place where I decided to save.  Why not do it at home, for free?  Two years ago, however, Addison had a movie star themed party.  Our neighborhood clubhouse has a small theater so I rented it out for a few hours - you get the idea.

Another thing to consider when choosing a venue is time of year and weather concerns.  An outside Luau in the middle of winter - probably not the best idea.  Even for Addie's party this year, I have a backup plan to bring it inside if need be.  You never know when a freak thunderstorm might come rolling through in the middle of July!  Because of the backup, I have also limited the number of guests she can invite - only as many as can fit inside!

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of my Party 101 series.  Next time I will talk about inspiration, invitations and party decor!  Get ready to see some great eye candy!!


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