1. Create a Theme!
A theme will set the tone for the party. You can start with the invite, and take that theme other places, or decide not to. I usually create themes around what we're into at the moment. If you're having a party, and you don't really have a certain direction go with a seasonal theme, or even go with a certain color.
A Garden Theme:
An Indianan Jones Theme:
A Captain Underpants Theme:
A Moustache Bash:
If you don't have a computer to make cards, you can buy card that have a theme.
2. Send Out Invitations. You can get some great ones at Paperless Post
You can send evites, or traditional printed cards. I usually send people in our family an evite. Then I print one to send to my Grandpa that doesn't have a computer. People still like to get things in the mail. Maybe you will choose to go that route.
3. Decide on the Food!
In our family we tell each family what to bring, then we make the rest. Usually our food doesn't go with the theme. Just the desert goes with the invite. At times I'll have something on the table that ties in. I had small flower pots at each spot with each person's napkin, spoon, and fork for the garden birthday. In my opinion the food should be good, but low key.
At The Captain Underpants party we provided capes, and white undies to put over their shorts. The kids loved it!
We had a Water Balloon Piñata set up before.
The prep work is the biggest work time. Beyond that I try and keep it simple. I don't want to work during the whole party. Kids for the most part find things to do on their own. Adult like time to talk.
I need to follow my own advice here. I tend to get all stressed out for parties. It's the cleaning part. I hate cleaning! My husband is always saying, "Relax Alissa!" I need to learn to just breathe.
7. Use Plasticware!
This kind of goes with numbers 5 and 6. There's no need to do a ton of dishes when you are supposed to be having fun. I don't ever dive into plasticware any other time, but with parties.
8. Have Options to Drink!
I'm not a soda lover by any means. I do think for parties one should have something fun, and different to drink.
9. Only Give Favors if They Go With the Theme!
I went from thinking favors were silly, to thinking favors were fun, and now think favors are fun if they go with the theme. I don't think they are a must. You have to decide if you want to give out favors, or not. With the Mustache Bash we all took home a mustache. With the garden theme I gave people seeds in a tiny green house I found in Target's dollar section. My nephew's got to take home their homemade cape for the Captain Underpants party.
10. Thank People!
Thanking people is a trend that's starting to leave. I think it's still important. For kid parties I have names on thank you cards, write in what they gave, and slip it into their favor bag. For family I just simply say, "Thank you!"
What's a tip you would add to this list?
Disclaimer: I worked with Paperless Post to come up with this blog post. Paperless Post will give me points to use in their store. They did not tell me what to write.