Entertaining: Party Planning For the Everyday Busy Person

Like many parents, I celebrate my kid’s birthday every year. I stress out about each and every single one of them, the food, the decor, the details, EVERYTHING. I’ve come to realize that no matter what it looks like, my kids are happy with the simple fact that they are the center of attention for one day (someone other than mommy dotting) where the theme of their choice is displayed and honored and they are able to eat sweets. How many of us want to create impressionable birthday parties? I know I am one of them, but I am bringing my expectations back to reality. In a world filled with unlimited decor options, party ideas via Pinterest and enviable magazine spreads I realize that a birthday party, for a kid, is okay left simple. The party, if worried, becomes a stressful event that instead of creating memorable markers, it becomes a point of tension. It becomes difficult on the budget, difficult on the family that has to contribute with fixing, and, most importantly, difficult on the moms that work hard to make things happen. Looking back at the events below, I realize that the best parties are those that are small and intimate, but I still enjoy throwing big events. I have, however, learned to shift my mentality and instead of stress out, I must enjoy every process as a party is exactly that, a time to enjoy family and friends for tomorrow is never promised. If we spend our time stressing out about every detail, we begin to loath the process.

I’ve learned that parties are successful when you follow certain steps.

Step 1: Start with a budget

Look through your finances and come up with a budget. STICK TO IT!

Step 2: Find a Theme

If you figure out a theme, even if the theme is simply pink or planes, it can help you direct your party planning towards the right direction.

Step 3: Draw out and Write out your plans

I like to write down the people I’m inviting, write down the food, desserts, appetizers, candy, decor ideas and even the outfits we will wear as a family. I draw out how I plan on setting my tables, how the food table and dessert table will look and how I want my decorations to appear. This helps remove any pre-party jitters about decor. NOTE: DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR DOLLAR STORE.

I make three lists:

  1. Guest List
  2. Menu List with Budget and how much time it takes for me to cook each meal, how early I must wake up or if I should cook the night before. Often, I prepare most of my meals the night before or simply leave them prepared to cook them the day of.
  3. I draw out my decor expectations. With this comes my planning of how tables, chairs, jumpers, etc will be placed. Here you can write out how many tables and chairs you should rent. Write out where you want to rent your jumper from and where it will be placed.

The parties I have pictured below are not all of my parties, but examples of tiny last minute parties to bigger thought out parties, yet still as the sole planner, cleaner, cooker, decorator, creator, while still trying to complete homework for Grad School, I still encounter problems no matter how thorough I am with my planning. The point is simply learning to flow with it. I am not a professional decorator nor party planner, but simply a very busy mom of three, wife and grad student. How do you party plan?

A Ninja Turtle/ Original Renaissance Men Birthday Party 2016:

A Nutcracker Birthday Party December 2015:

A Frozen Birthday Party 2014:

A Solar System 1st Birthday Party:

Bow Tie Farewell Party:

Paper Towel Bow Tie.
Ribbon Bow Tie for the squared flower vases.
Card Stock Bow Tie with the initial for the balloons.
Playing Card bow tie party favors.
Martinelli’s Tuxedo wrap with dollar store boxes and tissue paper overlay.
Popcorn boxes with dollar store tuxedo overlays.

Let me know what you think. . .don't be shy.

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