Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Party 101, Part 2 - Get Inspired!

I hope you enjoyed Party 101, Where to Start!  Now that you've got your budget set, theme picked out and you know where you want to have this shindig - what's next?  For me, this is where I start getting inspired.  The first place I turn is Pinterest.  No matter what theme you choose, you can pretty much bet on finding loads of ideas - from color schemes to diy projects. 


I knew for the luau, I wanted to stick with a bright color scheme - pink, blue, yellow, green and orange.  This theme has been done many times over, so I knew there would be some great eye candy out there.  It can get overwhelming, so try to only pin the ones that have specific elements that you think you would like to incorporate in your party.  For me, it was bright colors, hibiscus flowers and natural grass. 

I loved this thatch umbrella.

This banner inspired my color scheme, and gave me ideas on how to design my own!
Luau Party Banner via Plaid
This classroom luau gave me loads of ideas for printable design files.
Classroom Luau via Schoolgirl Style
The bright colors and dessert table here were so adorable!

Aloha Summer via Amy Atlas
Once you have a bunch of ideas pinned, you can look back through them and start to get a clear picture for what you want, and what you'll need.  Consider the location (backyard for me), and layout of the party venue.  Will you have a food/dessert table?  Is there somewhere to hang a banner?  Get your wheels turning!


With the theme and color scheme decided on, now you can start working on invitations.  I cannot stress enough how important invitations are - an actual invitation that you can hold in your hand.  In the land of emails, it's so nice to get something special in the good ole' mailbox. Not gonna lie to you - I'm not a big fan of the evite.  I know they're convenient, but to me, they're very impersonal.  Take the time to show your guests that you went out of your way to invite them to something special.  Not to mention - the invitation is the first impression they will have of your event - make it a good one! 

There are so many resources out there - from detailed and expensive, to DIY.  You can find invites that coordinate with your theme and won't break the bank.  Head over to Etsy - I promise you that there are a million printable invitations in every theme imaginable.  As a designer with my own stationery & printables shop - I can also tell you that most Etsy sellers will be more than willing to work with you if you find something you love, but need to customize it to another color, etc.  Printables are a snap - you get the file, customized with your party information, slip some cardstock in your printer, cut and go!  No time?  There are also shops, like mine, who will print them for you - even stuff them and design mailing labels that coordinate with your theme!


Depending on your budget - there are a million different ways to go about decor.  You can hire someone to do it for you, wipe your hands clean and sit back and watch it come together before your eyes (sounds nice, huh?).  If you're the DIY type, printables may be the way to go - you can probably even find some in the shop where you ordered your invitations that match your theme! 

Just think about your space - it gets very easy (and expensive) to run to the local party store and buy more than you can use and still not have a pulled together look.  For Addison's party, I knew I wanted to hang a banner over the back door (like the one pictured above).  There was going to be a food table on the patio, and I wanted to set up a luau table in the yard for the kids to sit. This was my party framework.  I went back to my pinterest board and was really able to narrow down what I needed. 

The best way to avoid making your party look like it came entirely from a party store, is to incorporate items that you may already have.  Baskets, serving dishes, etc. - use what you can.  Using solid color paper plates, cups and utensils from the dollar store (all in the same color/shade) is a great tip for keeping with your theme, but not paying a premium for themed paper products.  To me, it looks better anyway.  As for the rest - since you're starting early - you can head online to price out everything and find the most cost efficient options. 

 I'll be back soon with my final tips.  Next time I'll talk about food, entertainment, and will share some resources on where to find some really cute stuff!


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