Plan the Perfect Party While Avoiding Being Overwhelmed
Does the idea of throwing a party start an avalanche of ideas that make you want to run and hide? Party planning overwhelm is a real struggle.
But you don’t have to lose the fun of the party to overwhelm.
Here are my top tips to keep you from having party planning overwhelm.
Tip #1 Remember Parties are About Fun
First things first, let’s get your mindset right.
Parties are about having fun. Being picture-perfect is just a bonus.
Anytime you feel that overwhelm monster creeping up your back and tensing up your shoulders, remember the party is about fun, even for the host.
If you don’t get this right, any small thing that doesn’t go according to plan will steal your joy and fun from the party.
Accept that you will have to roll with the punches because life is not perfect, and your party doesn’t have to be perfect to be fun. The Beginners Guide To Party Planning, tips to help plan the perfect party.
Tip #2 Accept Help
You are worthy of help! And there are people in your life who are dying to help you and make things easier on you. If someone asks, “What can I do?” then take them up on the offer.
Anything that does not physically have to be done by you can be done by someone else. You are the mastermind, and your friends and family can be your team.
Here is a quick list of ideas that people can help with before, during, and after the party:
- Pick up snacks, the cake, or drinks for the party
- Ice down drinks
- Clean up anything that needs to be used for the party
- Help put up decorations
- Set out party favor bags
- Entertain early guests
- Remind you to take deep breaths
- Help clean up
- Do Dishes
- Take the trash out
Letting people help you allows people to show you how much they care about you.
Quick note on getting people to help:
When they offer, or you ask, make sure you give them a specific job.
Don’t say, “Oh can you help me clean up?” Instead, you can say, “Can you please help me get all the dishes to the kitchen.”
Being specific can help you from being frustrated at not getting the help you actually need, and it will help your helpers know exactly what you need from them.
Tip #3 Make a Budget
It can be so easy to spend so much money making the perfect party. Making a budget is absolutely necessary. But you have two budgets you need to think about: money and time.
How much money do you actually want to spend on the party? Remember to include things like venue, cakes, catered food, drinks, party favors, and food all go in this budget.
Make it doable for you. If the venue you are booking will be pretty expensive, you may need to pare down on decorations or serve appetizers instead of a meal.
Another side of budgeting is your time. We are all super busy, and sometimes we let Pinterest or Instagram show us these beautiful parties, that in reality, had a huge financial budget and a team of people putting them together.
In reality, we don’t have a ton of extra time to dedicate to a party. Write down how much time you have to spend on the party, including making decorations, food, reservations, and setting up and taking down.
Tip# 4 Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
This is one so many people struggle with. Do not wait until the last minute, thinking it will be easy to pull together. You can start doing some things weeks ahead of the party so that on party day, all you have to worry about is decorating, celebrating, and cleaning up.
Do not look at this list and think, “OMG, I have to do all of that?!?!” This is just a list of common things that people forget.
You customize it for your party. And except for the day of the party list, you can just choose one item a day and get it done.
Things to Do One Month Before the Party:
- Decide what type of party you are throwing. So much of your party will revolve around what type of party it is. A dinner party will be different from a kid’s birthday party, which is different from an adult costume party.
- Choose and book a venue. Are you having it at home? You can skip this step.
- Send out invites. Whether you choose e-vites or mail traditional invites, people need to make room in their schedule for your party.
- Order the cake and any food that you won’t be making yourself. Many places won’t have space for you if you wait until the last minute.
- Purchase any shelf-stable food and drink items that you will need for the party.
- Purchase or start making decorations.
Things to Do One Week Before the Party:
- Check-in with your venue
- Check-in with any caterers or bakers to make sure everything is still going according to plan
- Finish up any decorations and put together your party favor bags
- Organize your decorations and things you are taking to the party. Rubbermaid totes are great to put your decorations in. I also include candles, cake serving utensils, and a lighter. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten something to light candles. Having these in totes will make it super easy to carry in and box up to take back out when you leave.
- Send a party reminder to your friends and family. Life can be so hectic that parties can slip from people’s minds.
Things to do the day of the party:
- Pack the car with your decorations and party supplies
- Pick up the cake (don’t forget to follow the baker’s instructions on refrigeration for the best result)
- Decorate for the party
- ENJOY THE PARTY! I mean it. Too many hosts spend the entire time stressed out, making everything perfect, and doing all the work themselves that they don’t even enjoy the party. Enjoy the party.
- Clean up after the party is over and make sure anything you want to keep goes back in your Rubbermaid totes.
Things to do the week after the party:
- Send out thank you notes
- Write reviews for any businesses or services you used
- Think about ways you could have done better or things that you would do differently next time
- Reward yourself with some self-care
Tip # 5 Write Down your Plans
Whether you’re using a fancy printed party planner or just a plain notebook, you need to write down your plans.
Things you MIGHT want to include:
- Party Food
- Party Favors
- Decorations to buy
- Decorations to make
- Don’t Forget to Take List
- Guest List
Tip # 6 Don’t Be Married to Your Plans
The key to avoiding overwhelm when planning a party is to plan but remain flexible.
Be open to anything that might fit your party that may not be in your plans. If you have a venue in mind, but another similar but cheaper venue comes to your attention, you can book it and save some money.
Maybe you are shopping for food, and you see something you hadn’t even thought of that fits perfectly with your theme, be flexible enough to deviate from the plan and buy it.
Tip#7 Send Hand Written Thank You Notes
Once your party is done, you aren’t done with the party. To make a lasting impression, send handwritten thank-you notes.
You should send a handwritten thank-you note to each of your helpers, emphasizing how much their help meant to you. Compliment them on the job they did to make it more personal.
“Thank you so much for making the party such a memorable event. You did an amazing job helping me decorate, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. I am so lucky to have a friend like you.”
In addition to writing a review for companies you used for the party, write handwritten thank you notes either to the company or directed at the people who helped you. Remember to make them specific in what they did that was so helpful. It will be something they treasure, and if you use their service or business again, they are sure to remember you and go above and beyond for such a thankful client.
For guests, send a thank-you note that has specific memories or gifts that they brought if possible. Let them know what they did to make the party even better.
You don’t have to write these all in one day. Pace yourself so you can truly put in the thought and effort they deserve.
Parties don’t have to be overwhelming; you can take the fun back.
Just because your experience party planning was stressing out and feeling wiped out after a party doesn’t mean it has to be that way.
When party planning, you need to remember to make plans but be flexible enough to adapt those plans as you go.
Remember you don’t have to sweat the small stuff, the most important part of a party is having fun, which means you too!