Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Party Planning Answers Here

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Thanks so much for all your sweet comments on my last post about my Lemon Celebration! It was so fun to do. I probably took too many pictures rather than stayed chilax'n with my girls, but it's nice to have those executed ideas in my party binder for the future. If you haven't read about my inspiration binder, you really should! Every gal should have one. Now that I have a few parties under my own belt, I'm adding my pictures of the events I planned to help me remember.

And no, I will probably never be a party planner. But thanks for thinking that I could be! Regardless, I've had a few questions in my inbox, so I thought I would answer them here.(note: I am NOT an expert..I just know what works for me.)

Where did you get the idea for a Lemon Party? If you have read this blog in the last year you'll see that I've been thinking about it for awhile now. I'm actually glad to NOT be thinking about it and my husband is too;) I actually searched the web for a long time looking for ideas that I could steal-- but the only things I found were a few citrus-theme gatherings and some table arrangements, so I really had to be creative about it myself. I love lemons and they remind me of summer and friends and relaxing outside. There you go.

Where did you get the signs/and labels? I made them myself, and use the concept at mostly every party I do. The tags for the lemon curd are from the Martha Stewart line at Michael's. The tags for all my signs are made by me-- I just printed off the words on light paper and sometimes use an ink pad to brush along the edges of it, and then I glued it on to another paper for a border. I taped a toothpick to the back to put in the lemons (I have done this for a lot of parties--a Tuscan reception had them go into cheese and bread, and a chocolate party had them go into a wrapped truffle, etc). For the large signs like "pucker up," I had no idea how to stand it up so I just sliced a lemon open half way and just slid it in. Worked great!

How do you plan the perfect party?
There are a some factors that I find to be important that either make or break a party.

1) Theme. If you think back to all the parties you have attended that you loved, I bet my bottom dollar on the fact that it had a theme. Halloween...birthday parties..they all center around something or someone. My first thing is to figure that out, and let it flow from there.

When my MIL and I decided that my bro-in-law's reception should be Tuscan themed since he is 1/4 Italian-- it all just flowed. Table to food to decor...it all matched up and it all needed to match up or it wouldn't work. You can't have an Italian reception and then serve cream puffs that you pick up at Costco(regardless if it is an easy party pleasing food.)

Examples: One time I threw a high school party. It was crazy simple, but I had everyone come in an outfit they wore in high school and bring their scrapbooks or pictures, etc and then I had junk food. That was it. Another time I threw a Chocolate Party. Beyond devouring chocolate, I had a chocolate taste test and chocolate face masks. Let everything during the event somehow reflect back to the original theme.

2) Location/Ambiance. I searched high and low for parks that would work for my Lemon Party because I knew the feel I wanted. In my mind it had to be outdoors, with no playground, or buildings around, etc. In fact, I actually scheduled the party and sent invites without a location announced since I needed more time to find the perfect place. Most parties are perfectly executed at home or even at a park WITH a playground, but depending on the feel that you want...you might have to get creative. Here is a fantastic example of thinking outside the box and I adore these summer concepts here. Simplicity is best, and one day I hope to have the perfect home and roomy backyard to host all my events.

3)Food. Again, I like to be centralized around a theme. In the most recent party, lemon was it. I found recipes with lemon. Easy Peasy. Another example would be items that you simply re-name. My friend just threw a Star Wars party and found the name "wookie cookies and yoda soda" online to use.

4)Music. I don't care if you are home or at the park-- you have to have music on. My husband made a really large play list for me--and although it was really soft and in the background, it saves you from the awkward silent moments regardless of how many people are there. Not to mention the fact that music either soothes or jump starts the soul.

5)Details. THIS is probably hands down the most important factor to me. Every party I throw has to have details--the little ones that end up huge in the end! Flowers are a must for most gatherings. Take home treats/objects play a big part. For the lemon scene, I had everyone take home lemon curd--the same lemon curd that was in 2 of my desserts. For the chocolate party I had everyone take home a mini face mask--the same face mask I had everyone put on at the party. It always comes back around to the theme.

6) Moola. That's right folks, money is a HUGE factor. You have to have a budget and stay on budget. I don't like to spend a lot of money. Re-purposing items from home is a great way to do this. I use my own baskets and vases and I have a small party box where I use what I have over and over. Sheets make the BEST tablecloths.

However, there are tricky items that tend to add up. Prioritizing without sacrificing the feel (there is that word again!) of the event is key. For instance, those ingredients in your pantry just to make the food can add up and you have to plan accordingly. Another example would be when I realized at the last minute that I didn't have enough teacups in my Grandma's china to use. I sent my sister out to Goodwill to pick up some more to match, but at $2.00 a cup that added up. I finally just said "you know what? I have some pint size canning jars in my cabinet and I have seen lemonade served in mason jars before." I used those in addition to my china ones, and I don't think anyone thought any different about it.

7)Help. Preserve your sanity. Whether it is for set-up or contribution towards food, enlisting help from family and friends not only brings people together, it eases your burden so that you can focus on those "details" ;)

Where does your inspiration come from?
I have my favorite websites that I love going to (on my inspiration sidebar)-- and sometimes they trigger an idea. I actually buy wedding magazines and go to wedding blogs because they are the perfect inspiration drawing point. I don't like to copy and I think originality is best, but sometimes using someones favors or colors is enough to give you the ability to make it your own.

I like to think about WHY I would have a party. Aside from the obvious holidays, weddings, and birthdays, isn't it just fun to be random? I had a princess party for my daughter and all the little girls that I knew a couple years ago. No reason at all.

Who needs a reason to celebrate life?


Saimi said...

I'm not a party planner because I'm not creative, but with your ideas, I'm beginning to think it's possible.


Pasion Family said...

Love, Love, Love it all the way... I am going to be using some of your ideas- Thanks for sharing!

Liz said...

I send your party link to my sister and she responded: She must not have kids!

It was beautiful and so fun to see the pictures and read about your inspiration and helpful hints to planning it. You really are amazing!

iamwoman said...

HAHA! 2 kids and a full-time job. Does that make me awesome or something? Shouldn't I get chocolate for that?

Annette Lyon said...

I can tell you and my sister are kindred spirits. She used to plan and carry out my b-day parties when I was a kid (easier on mom, and sis LOVED doing it, down to the themes and details). Great post!

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