There are SO many factors that go into throwing any sort of party or get together. But if you organize, it can be much easier. Then after some trial and error, and some experience, you won’t have to make such detailed lists.
First, you need to answer a few questions about what kind of party/ get together you will be hosting. How many people (or approximately how many)? Is this a formal party? Laid back? In between? Will there be food? What kind of food (snacks, full meal, drinks only)? You also need to think about time (of day), this will dictate the need for food, and how much. More about this will be discussed later. Will there be decorations? Games? Entertainment? Campfire? Fireworks? Movie? Swimming? Also, do you have the space to entertain in your home? Outside? Do you need a tent? Do you have the ability, space, time to make the food? If not, what are your options?
My favorite thing to do to organize is to get a notebook and start to write all of the answers I need to figure out details to the above. I always love a pretty notebook… makes it easier to keep excited about what’s inside.
A few times along the way, you may start to get nervous about hosting a party for the first time (or 6th, or 12th), but it really IS going to be ok! Just remember that if you need help, ask! Also, practice makes perfect! I LOVE hosting. It’s really something I enjoy. But there are times when the gathering is a little different than the previous times, and I may get a little nervous. BUT I always have to remember to BREATHE. Then make sure to consult my notes! I need one of those Keep Calm signs… Keep calm and consult your notebook. 😉
Then you need to start whittling down your thoughts. Make specific categories, and start recording specific information. Such as the following:
How many people? An approximate number is good, then figure for the highest amount- such as maybe you invited 30 people. Make enough for 30, UNLESS there’s a potential of those friends inviting more. If it’s family and you know there are 20 people, and it’s always 20, figure for 20. If you send out an invite, and there is no RSVP, and say you invited 50. You can PROBABLY figure that less than 50 will show up. Anytime you don’t get a specific yes or no from guests, there is a higher chance that people will decide last minute that they can’t/ don’t want to come.
Once you’ve decide what food, if any, drinks, snacks, etc that you want to serve, check a chart like one of the following for help on planning HOW MUCH food you need to have. And remember, it’s better to have too much food at a party than too little. Too little means people may leave to go get their own food… You probably don’t want that!
Next, is your party more formal? Informal? I keep parties and get togethers informal. They are just so much less stressful (for me personally). So, if you are doing more of a formal get together, you may need to do addition searches (aside from this article). Informal get togethers aren’t super structured BUT you can still write down a plan of how the party will go. Example- Party starts at 6pm. Food will be served at exactly 6pm. Presents around 7:30pm. Cake at 8pm. I don’t want this to seem like I am OCD (which I totally am) but to have what you want to do first, second, third, etc and approximate times, keeps the party moving, and keeps your guests from staying out too late (if the party was for dinner, or it was never planned to be a late party).
Will you have decorations? Usually for a birthday party or for something like the 4th of July, I will have some decorations. I love to search Pinterest for new ideas, and EASY ideas. Most of the time, I can find a way to use items that I already own. Check out my ideas HERE that I posted for the 4th of July.
What about seating? Tables? Is there are place for each person to sit and eat? If you don’t have enough chairs, try benches, or hay bales with blankets on them, or even blankets in your yard (picnic style). Many times you can borrow tables and chairs from friends, or church, etc.
Will you have games? Yard games? Swimming? Campfire? Movie? Other? If so, have things purchased and ready to go ASAP. Also, have things laid out and ready the day of the party BEFORE guests arrive. This helps with the stress of having to find and set up the activity while guests wait. Having things ready to go adds to YOUR enjoyment of the party you are throwing.
Next, figure out the location. If it will be at your home, where will everyone primarily be? Inside? Outside? If outside, is there shade if it gets too hot? If it starts to rain, are you prepared to bring the party inside? Or do you have an area for your guests to hang out, even in inclement weather?
Lastly, make sure if your party starts at 5pm, that you are completely done and ready for guests to arrive 10-15 minutes early. DO NOT let yourself get so far behind that you are still making dinner after guests arrive. The only reason I say this is that stress levels will be much higher when hungry guests sit around and WATCH as you try to finish up their dinner.
Well, I hope this post was helpful! I know I just skimmed through a bunch of different ideas. If you have questions, be sure to message me! Also, check out my Pinterest page HERE to find more party ideas.
If you are attempting to throw your first party or your 18th party, I hope you have fun… in the end, your guests just want to have an enjoyable time, and no matter if food came out perfectly or you forgot to make dessert. Breathe. The biggest thing is that you are trying to become better! Have fun!