Not a professional event planner? No problem! Whether you’re throwing a birthday party, a holiday fête, or a spring soirée, your ultimate goal as a “hostess with the mostess” is to throw a party to remember without emptying your wallet or exhausting yourself before the party even begins! Having a few party planning tricks up your sleeve can help make your party run as smoothly as possible, while also lessening the burden on you and your bank account.
Clone an event
New is not always better! Do you throw an annual St. Patrick’s Day party? Why make it drastically different every year? Stop spending all of your time looking for new themed food ideas and new decorations. Your guests might actually be looking forward to the traditional green punch or the themed apps that you had last year. Did you make something that was a bust? Fix mistakes or eliminate items that weren’t a hit, but don’t stray from what worked! Repeating an event can take some work off of your plate and because you’ve done it before, the planning will be less work on you.
Don’t throw that away!
The morning after, it may seem easier to throw everything in the trash, in one fatal swoop, but save your future self some time by storing those decorations and leftover napkins for your next party! Even if you can’t imagine an occasion where you would reuse a particular decoration, you never know what might come up, and it’s easier (and cheaper) to go through your party decorations in storage than go to the store and buy everything brand new (again!). Now, if things are stained, broken, or didn’t quite stand up to the wrath of your party, they can hit the trash, but don’t get rid of those future treasures!
Let guests serve themselves
Take some of the weight off of your shoulders during the party by letting guests serve themselves. You’ve got a lot to keep an eye on once the party begins… making sure everyone is talking to someone, that their drinks are full, and that the temperature and music stay at a good level. Adding an extra element to your hosting duties may be overwhelming! A family style dinner where guests serve themselves from the middle of the table, or a set up buffet area where they go down the line, will save you time and make the logistics a little bit easier to manage, especially if you’re the only hostess! Guests get exactly what they want… you just sit back and make sure that the food doesn’t run out.
Look around the room
You may not know it, but you already have a lot of useful items for your party right at your fingertips! Instead of buying a bunch of new things for a one-night event, repurpose items that you already have! Find hidden uses for household items that won’t require you to open your wallet or make a trip to the store. Use a watering can from the garden for a floral centerpiece or bring those string lights inside for a romantic-feeling winter dinner. The options are endless, you just need to take a step back, look around, and let your creativity soar!
Play up your strengths
If you’re known to burn things in the kitchen, don’t plan a home-cooked meal for a large group… it’s called catering! Is mixing drinks your secret skill from college? Focus on creating some killer cocktails and let the professionals handle the food. We’ve all got strengths, so let’s highlight what we do great and hire out the rest (calling all chef husbands!). Do you have an eye for detail and always receive compliments on your home design? Focus on creating an atmosphere that your guests will ooo and ahh over and let the professionals handle the rest. No shame in that!
Decorate a focal point
There is no need for decorations in every corner of your home! It’s unnecessary… and expensive! Pick a focal point such as the bar area, dinner table, or deck space, and make sure it wows your guests when they first see it. When you have a purposeful focal point where the theme can shine, there isn’t any use for glitz and glam all over the place. In fact, placing decorations in every room can be overwhelming and can actually deflate the theme because it’s just too much. When choosing a focal point for décor, consider where your guests will enter and where they will spend the majority of their time at the party.
Spice up store-bought
Hosting faux pas? No way! Guests won’t have more fun or enjoy the wine more because all of the food was homemade. Put your special touch on store-bought goodies, such as a little extra attention to presentation and detail, and your guests will never know the difference or just not even care! Replate your store-bought hummus, create an exquisite presentation with the swirl of a spoon, top with olive oil and paprika, and you’ve got a whole new look without having to start from scratch. Buy pre-made deviled eggs, and simply add some fun and unique toppings such as black olives! Make the main course from scratch and buy the rest; there’s nothing wrong with that!
Let go of perfection
I get it, we all have that perfectionist in us that wants every part of the party to go just the way we imagined, but what guests remember is the most important. If your guests walk away remembering the conversations they had, the feel and vibe of the party, and how welcomed they felt, then consider it well-done. If you experience a small mishap, chances are that guests won’t even notice or remember it. We’ve all been there, so if anything, we’ll relate to it! So relax, enjoy yourself, and focus on the experience of your guests, and if something goes wrong, just shake it off and grab another glass of wine!
Don’t wear yourself out before the guests even arrive! Save energy (and money!) by taking a few party planning shortcuts when it comes to your next hosting gig. What do you envision for your next party? How can you cut back so that things aren’t as strenuous? If you need any décor items or invitations, head into RSVP in the Village for all of your party planning needs!