Archive for October, 2011

Bright lights, perfectly blended music with a beat that even the rhythimless can’t help taping their foot to, good food, and amazing conversation happening all around you. The perfect party.

Now here’s what you don’t see. The person whose been in the scene, planning invitations, seating charts, agonizing over fish or chicken, open bar or cash (the answer is always open, by the way), green or mint green (never mint green), white or egg white, live band or live DJ, and the ultimate question, why oh why did they ever think of doing this in the first place?

As I have recently gone through this myself I would like to help all of you future party planners with some advice of my own.  I will try to make this as painless as possible.

Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. You are a party planning Guru. You can do this because you are amazing. It is all in you. Listen to a little Whitney Houston to pump up your confidence.

First Step

Take inventory. This is very important. You need to know how many people are coming to this event. The amount of people don’t necessarily change what has to be done to make your party perfect, so this article will apply to people planning a 6 person gathering to a 200 person affair.

Helpful Hints

–  Consider why or who you are throwing this party for.

–  Know your limitations. If you have two weeks don’t plan a party with over 20 people. It will be overwhelming if you have a life to live, a job to go to, a family/significant other/or even friends who may want your attention in the next couple of weeks.

Step Two

Chose a theme. Is this going to be a circus or a ball? Is it a masquerade or a cook out with a spit in the middle of the room? Again, choose a theme that makes you smile (but also take into consideration the person you are planning for, if it is not just for you).

Helpful Hints

–  I cannot emphasize enough that the theme should be something you, the party master, are excited about. If you’re not excited about it, it will turn out flat and no one else will be excited about it. No point in doing all this work if it’s just going to flop.

–  Make it reasonable. If you live in the middle of nowhere and have absolutely no Asian decor within a couple hours of your residence, don’t make it an Asian themed party. If you hate Jamaican food, do not make it a Jamaican themed party. Make it something that is not too difficult – and if you’re watching your budget, too expensive to work with.

Step Three

Budget, budget, budget. I am going to put extra emphasis on this one. There are some people out there who do not need to budget, who have an unlimited income with which to go crazy with. The majority of us, however, need to put a cap on our spending. It is all too easy to walk into stores and grab items that are unnecessary because they kinda, sorta work with your chosen theme and just look at how CUTE it is! Sure your theme is Hawaii Luau but furry penguins are universal and you’re positive you can find a way to fit it in! Let me help you: The furry penguins do NOT fit in to your theme and you do NOT need them.

Helpful Hints

–  Think about

  • How many people are planning to attend.
  • How long do you have to plan/save for this? A week or six months will make a big difference in your budget.
  • What are your biggest expenses going to be? A DJ, a band, a giant ice sculpture of Michael Angelo’s David? What can you not live without at this party and what will cost the most. This will help you later on to decide if the fuzzy penguins are worth it.

Step Four

Get the big stuff finished. Invitations, location, entertainment, food, drinks, and a general idea of the deco. Everything else will fall into place once you have your location, your guests invited, and your food and entertainment ordered and paid for.

Helpful Hints

–  Many people rate how successful a party is based on the food and the music. If you are going to have either, make sure you don’t pick the first cheap option you see. If you have a DJ who just plays country, sad 80s pop, or soca music there’s a good chance that unless your entire guest list consists of cowboys, they won’t be too happy. Consider making your own music list or putting in songs you know are big hits. Have an idea of the food you’d like, possibly based on your theme. Make sure you sample your caterer before putting a down payment on them.

–  Cheap invitations are not hard to come by in our online world. Vistaprint.ca has great options for invitations from postcards to more formal invitations. Make sure you don’t wait too long to send them out, most people like to have up to a month’s notice for a large, possibly formal event. If it is a more casual event, a week and a half to two weeks is acceptable. Longer than that and you run the risk of most people being booked up.

Step Five

Now that you have the big stuff finished, start purchasing your Decorations. This is where many go a little overboard. But not you, you are a master at work. You know better than to go out and buy every shiny, sparkly ornament and anything that lights up.


– Most people want to create an ambiance for their gatherings. Being over the top extravagant isn’t necessary and usually ends up looking gaudy. Some well placed candles around the apartment or some cheap, clear Christmas tree lights intertwined with tool can make a beautiful glow to any room while remaining classy and rather inexpensive.


–  If you have tables, centerpieces can be a beautiful touch for your perfect party.
Whether you want something eye catching and extravagant or something simple and fun, remember to keep your theme in mind and try not to go too crazy. Keep the colors within the theme and keep in mind centerpieces are meant to flatter the room, not to be the only thing people can look at.

Step Six

Get ‘er Done.  It’s time for all your sweat, blood, and tears to come together in a beautiful night of laughter and joy. Set up your decorations, get dressed up and get ready to party. Around this time it can also be good to do a quick review that everything is in order and anyone helping knows what their job is. Good job Party Guru! I knew you could do it!

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