Friday, March 9, 2012

Ask the Experts #6

(don't know what's going on right now?  Read the intro here, read about our experts here and join the party here!)

I don't know about you, but I could definitely use some help when it comes to party planning.   I've asked several of my blogging friends:
What tips, tricks and advice do have for making your parties successful and (potentially) less stressful?
And now I'm going to share their answers with YOU!  You better pay attention too, because these guys are good.  

Amie, from Kitty Cats and Airplanes, is one of those bloggers that just makes you feel better, you know?  She's real and down to earth... and she's got some great tutorials to boot!  She's your go to girl for accessories - headbands, purses, and an array of awesome jewelry (including some that smell really good and some that don't require anything special to make).  She's got great tutorials for sewing and upcycling, and really, she's just a cool cat.  (ha ha!)  Anyway...

1. Consider going with a color theme. No need to stress yourself out when you can't find hot pink and zebra balloons at your local Walmart. Change the theme to hot pink and just throw in few zebra accents. You've opened up so many more decorating opportunities.
2. Be creative, use what you have on hand. Your printer can be your best friend at a party! Print your own invitations (even better, e-vites!), decorations. labels and cupcake liners. Don't be afraid to give your supplies double duties, forks can do more than just help you shovel cake into your mouth! Pinterest it up to find awesome creative party ideas.
3. Get help. You 5 year old will never know that her mom's best friend helped set up the decorations at her princess party. She'll just remember the most magical day of her life. Ask for help, even if it's just asking for support.
4. Consider having the party somewhere besides home. You might think that having to lug around decorations and food would be stressful, but sometimes worrying about how clean your house is and who might be snooping through your medicine cabinet might be even more stressful. There might be a local church or park that would be a perfect venue!
5. Be thrifty. One of the biggest party challenges (for me anyway) is the financial toll they can take. Do your best to be thrifty to lessen the stress, print things out, check out thrift stores, and ransack the dollar store. Instead of buying brand new table clothes, try using the white ones you already have and accenting them with fabric. Instead of renting chairs, borrow them from neighbors. You get the idea!
6. Delegate. When the party finally rolls around, have a few mini jobs assigned to guests. Have one person collect gifts, another initiate games, another to help serve food and still another to help clean up. 
7. Remember to have fun. I know, sounds completely obvious, but parties are supposed to be fun! :)

(It DOES seem fairly common sense to include your guests in the party process - something I don't think I would think to do necessarily, since I almost always try to do much more than I should.  ALSO, I really like the idea of having the theme revolve around a COLOR and perhaps not something more specific - as bug requested ("frogs in race cars in the forest"???))

I do hope you're following Steph from Crafting in the Rain.  Her blog is a great spot to gain some inspiration.  Whether she's upcycling old sweaters into hats or turning ratty boots NEW again, she's full of great ideas!  She can beautify a lamp, and she may have saved my sanity with this random post (those darn plastic dishes!)  Plus she threw her daughter a cute unicorn party when she turned six and shows you how to make the candy cupcake toppers yourself!  

I'm no party planner either, but here are a couple of tips I have that have at least helped my sanity.
1--There's no right way to throw a party.  Whether it's a kid's birthday or an adult get-together, the most important thing is that people are together having fun. Do the prep that you find fun (decorating--a little or a lot, food, whatever) and pay for--or skip altogether--the other stuff.  No need for added stress!
2--Have some kind of activity as guests are arriving.  I find this most important for kids' parties, as adults will generally not cause destruction if left un-directed for a few minutes.  Our recent favorite is a game called Don't Eat Pete.  Here's my blog post about how to play Don't Eat Pete.  You can create a game board to match any party theme, and you can make one just by taping pictures onto a piece of paper, skipping the digital design step.

(I'd personally like to thank Steph for giving me permission to NOT have crazy fantastic parties... no need for added stress, right?  Just do what I can do... that should be my mantra from now on... love these easy, care-free ideas.)

Bear Rabbit Bear is a cute and creative blog.  You'll get so many wonderful ideas from Melanie!  She shares great ideas for kids - including fun games and homemade gift ideas - cute sewing tutorials and techniques, yummy recipes, and great crafts (holiday related and more!)  Check out this adorable DIY, completely handmade, Minnie Mouse birthday party she did for her daughter!

Last year, I created my daughter's Minnie Mouse Birthday party from scratch. I wanted to throw a very nice party, but stay as inexpensive (cheap - haha!) as possible. My best advice for achieving this is to start planning as early as possible. For her September party, I started planning in Feb. or March of last year. This way, I had a plan and knew what I wanted so that I could keep a lookout for sales and cheap prices over the coming months. I made her decorations by hand, and planning ahead of time helped me to have plenty of time to do everything that I wanted to accomplish!!

(Oh my head.  6 MONTHS AHEAD???  Oh, I try... but I'm lucky if I give myself 6 DAYS!  Queen of procrastination, right here.  Which is why her party looked like THAT and mine... well... you know.)

You probably already know this, but Blissful and Domestic is a fun place to spend some time!  You should see her clever ideas for teaching her kids, and having fun with her kids, and sharing her testimony with her kids.  There seems to be a theme here... hmmm... This is a mama who seems fearless, people.  Fearless.  She sews swimsuits, for Heaven's sake!  She got some cute ideas for a Fancy Nancy inspired tea party here.  She sews and bakes and to top it off, homeschools. 

Here is how to throw a party on a budget:
Blissful and Domestic Style  :)

Keep things simple. Make as much as you can. For this baby shower we made BLT sandwiches and had different salads.
Having a co-host always helps too. I did this shower with my Sister and we divided up the food, so we each made half. Saved us money and time....Plus we have favorite recipes, which we love. It was nice to each make our favorites and share them with friends and family.
The food was so yummy and completely homemade. Remember homemade is SERIOUSLY always better.
For reals....I promise.
For the Decor I just used what I had. I painted old vases and added some flowers I found at Wal-Mart, in their floral craft section. The "Celebrate" banner I made from scrapbook paper.

 I actually only spent maybe $20 on the whole shower. That $20 went to paper plates, napkins, 1 pink table cloth, 2 bunches of pink flowers, 1 bag of Wilson Bakers Chocolate (for the cupcakes). I used my Love Note Plate for decor also. I just wrote "Girl" with pink chalk on my chalkboard plate. I think that using what you have is always the best. I love decorating because it makes me think outside the box. It is always such a fun challenge. I think the party was a hit. From the food to the decor to the awesome company. It was a fun afternoon with my sisters and I loved it.
Hope these tips will help you out when throw your next party. Remember my motto is always shop your house first and then go to the store, if you must. But only if you MUST. I usually don't have too.
Thanks so much for having me Kimberly!
Stop by and say hi sometime.
I love meeting new bloggy friends.

(You know what reading this made me realize?  I probably have a ton of stuff in my stash - not just the fabric and placemats - that I could use!  Yarn balls and pom poms and glass beads and vases... if I just spent a little more time in the dungeon planning the party, I could probably save a bunch of money AND have a way cuter party...)

And to think.  This series was going to be two posts long... 

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

1 comment:

Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...

Thank you for this series and for allowing us to contribute!!

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