Themed parties are always a thrill to attend. I’ve helped plan a few, and it’s a challenge as much as it is fun. I’m definitely not the expert on party planning, but here are a few tips that have helped me along the way!
1. Decide on a theme. Maybe a classic, with a twist.
Take the time to settle on a theme. Make sure it’s doable and relevant. A theme doesn’t have to be an elaborate thought-out story, it can be as simple as a color scheme. Choose one that not only fits the occasion but also excites the heck out of you. Planning a party should never feel like a chore.
If you’re planning a first birthday party, take your toddler’s favorite show or toy as inspiration. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to a literal translation. Take that Little Tikes Xylophone, and turn it into a musical rainbow party!
2. Make a themed invitation to set the mood.
Sometimes, planners worry that the setup might not be enough to keep the feel of the party right. The easiest way to fix this is to set your guests mindset even before they walk through the doors. If you use Facebook for your invites, send in-theme teasers leading up to the party. You can even go so far as asking guests to come dressed in theme.
If your party is a murder mystery one inspired by the board game Clue, you can send teasers that say “Did Professor Plum do it in the Lounge with a Rope? Find out next week!” Go ask your guests to dress as detectives. Have a picture of the celebrant holding a magnifying glass. If the guests mind are already in the mood, all the details you prepare will simply fill in the rest.
3. Have games, activities and giveaways that fit the theme.
Keep the party going even after they have left. Plan games, side activities and take-home giveaways that crazily enough, are still connected to your theme. Trust me, they’ll be talking about it for days. There’s a supplier for most anything. If you come up with some extreme idea, there just might be a way to do it. We managed to have an actual runway installed for a runway party we did. So we had our celebrant and select guests model three different collections as part of the program!
Have a mini putt-putt or driving range in your backyard for a golf-themed party. Set up poker and black jack tables for a Vegas party, and have them go home with customized chips. Build a complete Mad T Party photo booth setup for an Alice in Wonderland themed party. The possibilities are endless.
4. Don’t forget the small details.
The easiest thing to forget are the small details. Here you are working on the draping and the buffet table that you might forget about the small stuff. Obsessing over the small details might sound unnecessary. In truth, it’s the small stuff that sends the most important message of all: I cared enough to care. Sure, they might not notice the details, but when they do the payback is awesome.
So, what are these details I speak of? You can personalize the tags for your giveaways. It says that you took the time to work on each giveaway individually. You can decorate and pack wooden spoons and forks for a picnic party. The one thing I enjoy the most is tailoring the dessert table labels specific to the event. Our Disney Cars Party had a Radiator Springs Waterfall instead of a fondue.
5. Be consistent.
Like they do in the acting world, don’t ever break character. Pretty much, what I’m saying is that you should stay within your scope at all times. Randomly introducing patterns, colors or characters that aren’t part of the main scheme or palette will make things appear disjointed. I’m not saying you can’t make adjustments. All I’m saying is, if you’ve settled on something, don’t budge.
If you’re doing a nautical themed party, and you decide on stripes, don’t use polka dot cups. If you’re doing a pink princess party, don’t make the invitation red. If you’re doing a Sumo Wrestling party, avoid pasta and pizza. The more you stick to your plan, the more tight everything will seem.
6. Give yourself enough time to plan and prepare.
Sounds obvious, but planners always manage to screw themselves over by planning too close to the event. I can’t give you an exact number of weeks or months you’ll need. It really depends on the size of the party, and how party planning fits into your daily life. Is it impossible to plan a party in a week? Perhaps, not. Just keep in mind that if you rush planning a party, it may in fact look rushed.
My niece’s 1D Swimming Party took a week to prepare. My cousin, on the other hand, made venue reservations for her daughter’s first birthday the week her baby was born.A good rule of thumb is to give yourself fifty percent more time that you think you’ll need. If you think two months is enough, give yourself three.
7. Ask for help.
Whether paid or not, it’s best to seek reinforcements. You see, there are a few things you should realize. You’ll go crazy trying to go solo. You are also not the expert of all things. Lastly, you only have a finite number of ideas. Brainstorming with others will help you come up with the craziest and best ideas out there!
When we planned Estelle’s Runway Rundown 7th Birthday Party, we were a team of about six or seven. After multiple brain storming sessions, we divided tasks based on each of our expertise. We were each able to focus on an aspect of the party, and all bases were covered. It’s still one of my favorite parties to date!
Whether you’re having a cupcake themed slumber party for ten, or a Roaring 20’s Flapper wedding, the party-planning should be a party in itself. I hope these tips help you with your next get-together. I’d love to hear about your parties, too!
If you want help planning and styling your next party, send me a message!