A How To Party Planning Guide: Make Birthdays & Holidays MAGICAL!

We LOVE events. Like, any excuse to throw a party is reason enough to have one. And in 2020, I think we could all use a bit more joy, right? So whether your soiree is small and intimate or a big bash, we’ve got you covered with our party planning tips!

DISCLAIMER: Please be sure to stay safe. This is NOT an endorsement to host large gatherings or put yourself at risk.

If you want a handy (and pretty!) checklist, click here!

Party Planning Tip #1: Choose a theme

It should come as no surprise to you, but our first piece of advice is to identify the theme that ties everything together. For Marc’s surprise party last year, we went with a Hawaiian luau theme. For Caleigh’s 5th birthday, she requested a Disney Princess theme. Holidays can stand on their own, but I like to add little twists to those as well!

The general idea is that you want an overarching guide for ALL other choices to fall into. I promise it’ll help keep you organized! You want to do this at least a month before the big day!

Once you know the theme, you can send out invitations to match! I’ve been using Evite for free, electronic invitations (NOT SPONSORED!) because they have such cute options.

Party Planning: Birthday Luau
Our luau table!

Party Tip #2: Budget

Ok, so this is NOT an area I am strong in, but I’m working on it! The first big birthday party we threw Caleigh (Moana themed!) was when she turned two. We did it at home, but invited over 60 people. After food, a specialty cake, decor, and presents, the party cost us WAY too much. Thus, I learned to budget.

I tend to splurge on specific items. I LOVE a specialty cake, so I budget for that as a centerpiece. If there is something I don’t want to do myself (like clean my home before the party!), I will also budget for that, too.

Party Planning: Caleigh's Duffy Birthday
Party Planning: Caleigh's Birthday (Moana!)

I save on things I can and want to do myself:

  • food prep (groceries, homemade meals, snacks)
  • repurposing decor

Don’t throw an elaborate party just to impress others! Think about the person or reason for this event.

Party Tip #3: Food & Cake

This is where we start list making. After your invites go out (make SURE they have an RSVP option and deadline!), you’ll have an approximate number of guests. What do you want to serve? What time is the event – should it be a meal or snacks?

I like to build my food options INTO the theme. If you watch our YouTube video on Caleigh’s birthday prep, you can see all the food tags and Disney Princesses that inspired the food items!

I make my own food tags/labels, too. I used Canva this year to design them to be a bit prettier, but still stuck with backing them on construction paper.

Build yourself a menu and then form a grocery list, including when you want to shop. If you’re going to make the cake, add this in, too! Regardless, now is the time to place your cake order (3+ weeks out!) if you want something special made! For Caleigh’s birthday, the cake is 100% the centerpiece!

Party Planning Tip #4: Decor

How are you going to make your space echo the theme of your event? You can go way overboard here or keep it simple. That is the wonderful thing about decor! I like a few key touches:

  • Color
  • Balloons
  • Attire

I’m a big fan of the Dollar Store for color! Tablecloths, paper products like plates, napkins, swag banners, and utensils go a long way! Balloons speak to color and can really unify a theme. I purchased all of my materials to make a balloon garland on Amazon! You need:

Balloon Garland DIY!

It’s also SO MUCH FUN to dress for the occasion! I always try to repurpose whatever I purchase, but needing a reason to buy an adult sized Belle costume makes my heart SO happy!

Party Planning Tip #5: … Plan …

I know it seems obvious, but block out time every day to check in with your tasks! Break down large assignments into smaller pieces, so you’re actively prepping every single day until the party arrives. This will lower your stress!

If you want a more detailed look into this, check out our freebie here!

Start 4-6 weeks out, then work on bigger tasks earlier. By the time the day of the party arrives, you will need to get dressed and ENJOY yourself! That’s the WHOLE POINT!

I hope you found this resource helpful! In the comments, will you share you next party idea with me?!

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