Guest Post: Party Planning Tips

Hi there rivernorthLovers! I’m Mindy and I blog about photography, party planning, DIY projects and recipes over at a {day} with lil mama stuart. Just like Praveen, I’m a lover of every beautiful little detail that goes into events. Today I’m sharing 10 party planning tips (and details from my daughter's 2nd birthday party) to get your event looking fabulous without breaking the bank or running around like a crazy person.
  1. Start early! Give yourself plenty of time to come up with a plan, shop and craft. If you spread your tasks out over a good amount of time, you will be less stressed throughout the process.
  2. Find some inspiration that gets you really excited and carry the element(s) throughout the party. If you find something you really love, (an invitation, activity, character, colors, fabric, quote, etc) the ideas will start flowing.
{I liked this design from Social Butterfly Ink and Mia loves her stuffed animals! So that's what we based the invite, cake and party off of.}
  1. Paper/printable designs easily tie events together (starting with the invite) because they can be scattered throughout (food, desserts, drinks, giveaways, signs, etc). You could make your own with basic programs like MS Word, MS Powerpoint, Photoshop, etc. Or surf etsy/the web. There’s a TON of printables for free or for purchase (Sprik Space, Chickabug, Hostess with the Mostess, The TomKat Studio, etc)      
{I used the same striped pattern for the juice box covers, soda bottle labels, water bottle labels, food tents, popcorn cones, thank you tags and centerpieces.}
  1. Visit the venue beforehand. Take measurements of walls, windows, doorways, tables, etc so you can make decorations without guessing dimensions. Ask questions about what restrictions you have when setting up (What can’t you use? Can you hang from the ceiling? What time can you come to set up? What adhesives can you use on the walls? Etc.) 
  2. Before going to buy things, shop around your house (and your friends/family!) for plates, vases, trays, glasses, containers, decorations, etc that you can use for the party. Think outside of the box (you can use things for a purpose other than what it's meant for, or something you forgot you had, etc). You'll be surprised at what you come up with!
{I wrapped phone books to add height to my sweets/food table and a bed sheet as a table cloth.}
  1. Shop at stores/online weeks before your event and use a coupon! Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby all have similar 40% coupons every week (in the paper or on their websites). Don’t forget to hit up Target (especially the dollar bins!), the Dollar Store, Home Goods, Marshalls/TJ Maxx, IKEA, Party City, etc. You might need party supplies online that you can’t get at stores, so account for shipping time. Try Shop Sweet Lulu, Polka-dot Market, Bake It Pretty, Save on Crafts and etsy 
  2. You WILL make multiple trips to stores. You often get the best deals that way.  Always keep your eyes open and don’t overlook the clearance section! You won’t magically find all the right things the first time around. Some of my best party finds are by accident. And you WILL return items that you didn’t end up using – not until AFTER the party though. You might change your mind and use something you thought you wouldn’t.
  3.  A week or two before the event, stick to your plan! Don't brainstorm ideas up to the last minute when there is no more time to execute! Stop browsing/shopping and spend more time DOING.
  4. Make  detailed checklists of what to-do and what to pack. All shopping, calling vendors, and crafting that needs to be done and what to pack the night before (not the day of!). I’ve had a mom forget a memory card before. Make your lists detailed!
  5. Enlist help. If you are limited on time to setup right before the event, accept all the help you can get from friends and family. You can easily direct them on where to place items.
Ok three more quick tips!

  1. Showoff your pictures! I’m sure we’re all guilty of having pictures trapped on our computers. Now’s your chance to show them off with all your friends and family together! Mount them on foam core, make a banner, or frame them and place throughout the venue.
  2. Bring flat shoes to prep and clean up.
  3. Get some rest the night before the party. You don’t want the party to look great but you look like crap!

And there you have it! With these basic tips, I think you can pull off any event full of special details.

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