If you know me, then you already know I am not a party planner. In fact, the last party I planned was Hayden’s first birthday nearly six years ago. But it seems now that I am older and have actually embraced the realm of domesticity, party planning has become much more appealing. After casually researching etiquette, the art of hosting, and planning the perfect party I think I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of how this whole thing works. Lucky for me, Holland’s first birthday is just around the corner which is the perfect occasion to embrace my inner hostess.

Most people know that any great event is planned months in advance. With less than two weeks from D-Day, I technically should have everything pretty much ready to go. But since Holland’s birthday falls just mere weeks after the end of the holidays, I’ve committed the ultimate party planning sin and just recently started planning and prepping. Suicide, I know. Time-crunch aside, I am here to assure you that you can plan the perfect party within a few weeks. In this “Mommy Must Haves” post, I have narrowed down the essentials of party planning to help you plan the last minute event of your dreams. So let’s get started!

Venue: Whether you are planning to hold your event at home or renting a space, choosing the proper venue is a key element when throwing a party. But when time is in short supply sometimes finding a proper venue can be difficult. Depending on the size of your party, try hosting it at home. Not only is it free, which allows you to spend money on other necessities, but it’s convenient. If want to rent a space try booking it on less popular days and times. Also, keep in mind when choosing a venue if it suits all your needs. Will your guests have enough space to mingle? Does the venue fit the event? If you are serving food, does it have a dining area? Does the venue have enough tables or will you need to bring in your own? Asking these types of questions will help narrow down your options and aid in creating the best atmosphere for your party.

Invitations: Once you have chosen the venue and narrowed down the date/time, the next thing to do is create and send out the invitations. Especially if started planning last minute, getting the invitations out as soon as possible is extremely important. Thankfully, sending out invitations can be done instantaneously through texting and emails. But just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean it the invitation shouldn’t be warm and personal. Luckily for you, I have found the perfect app for that. Canva not only allows for the creation personalized invitations but allows you to do so easily and free of cost!  All you have to do is create an account and let your imagination run wild. Whether you chose a pre-designed layout or decide to create your own, Canva can help you create a beautiful invitation within a matter minutes.  

Game Plan: This is hands-down the most important part of the entire process. Without it, chances are you’ll fail. After your first two tasks are completed sit down and write up a detailed game plan. By “game plan” I mean write out your vision for this party. List everything from what type of food and drinks you will be serving to the type of decorations/theme you envision. You could even go as far as creating a time schedule you wish to follow the day of the party. By creating these types of checklists you will get a better sense of everything that should be done and about how much time and money should be set aside to successfully plan the event. 

Time Management: Speaking of time, since it won’t be on your side, I suggest putting yourself on a strict party planning schedule. Whether you work or not, setting aside a specific time of day that you can focus on planning is the only way you will be able to succeed with such a time-crunch. It also helps if you plan out your days and give yourself deadlines. If you know you won’t be busy on a certain day and time dedicate that to planning. When you’re planning a party in a short period of time every free moment needs to be utilized. 

Pinterest: This is a tool I’m sure everyone out there has utilized at one point or another. When it comes to party planning all I have to say is THANK GOODNESS for Pinterest! Not only will it give you tons of ideas on theme/scheme, decor, DIY, and recipes but it is a great place to help you visually create your party. Pinterest will not only get you excited about planning but will inspire you to add those personal touches that most parties are usually lacking. So whether you decide to craft some DIY decorations or whip up the perfect cake, Pinterest is a great place to get inspired. 

Food and Activities: Whether you admit it or not food is usually the focal point of every party. So it is critical that you make a detailed plan on what everyone will be eating at your event. Catering is always an option and will give you one less thing to worry about but it will cost you. If you can’t fit catering into the budget then you will need to figure out the next best option. Should you just serve appetizers and light snacks? Could barbecuing be an option? Whatever it may be, make sure it is something you can handle. You do not want to be stuck in the kitchen slaving over the stove unable to enjoy the party. Which brings me to the next necessity, an activity. Most people think that a party is an activity within itself. Although it is for the host or hostess, guests can only eat and mingle for so long before getting bored. This is especially true if you are bringing together people that aren’t acquainted. So in order to avoid people leaving early incorporate some type of activity to keep your party guests engaged. Whether its music and dancing or even a game having an activity at your party will not only keep your guests entertained but allows for a more fun and lively atmosphere.

Help: Rome was not built in a day, or by one person. The same goes for your party.  So do not be afraid to ask for help. In fact, you are going to need all the help you can get if you plan to pull this off. Ask friends, family, or whoever you trust for a helping hand. Whether you need help with the little things, like picking up the cake, or more extensive help having a few pairs of extra hands is going to be necessary. So grab your phone and make a few calls, you’ll be surprised how eager everyone will be to lend a helping hand. 

There you have it, my “Mommy Must Haves” of party planning. I hope this will help in anyway the next time you are planning an event. Oh yeah, and one last thing…make sure you enjoy the fruits of your labor! You just planned a great party, so make sure to live in the moment and enjoy it!!


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