Archive of ‘Party Planning’ category

Halloween Party Details

Since Halloween fell on a Saturday this year, I felt it was only right to throw a Halloween Party!  The first thing I did was send out an Evite for our immediate family.  I then went to my local Dollar Tree to buy the decorations.  I literally spent less than $20 on plates, napkins, serving patters and bowls, and decor.  I then planned out the menu and activities for the kids listed below.  I had apps out when everyone arrived.  We then went out trick or treating as a group which was super fun. When we got back, the kids did their candy exchange and then we played Halloween Bingo.  I then brought out desserts which gave everyone the sugar rush they needed for the dance off.  We then ended the night with a showing of NIghtmare Before Christmas.  It was amazing to see our daughter have such a great time with her little cousins. Definitely consider throwing your own Halloween Party or even a birthday themed costume party. It’s super easy and eerily fun!  Happy Halloween!

Halloween Menu

  • Witch’s Brew: Guacamole
  • Zombie Brain Dip: Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Brain Pies: Pierogis
  • Vampire Bread: Pepperoni Bread (recipe coming soon)
  • Baby Mummies: Pigs in a Blanket
  • Gooey Monster Fingers: Mozzarella Sticks
  • Skeleton Bones: Buffalo Wings
  • Cupcakes
  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • Cookies
  • Homemade Chocolates (recipe coming soon)
  • Pumpkin Bread (recipe coming soon)
  • Halloween Oreos

Activities

  • Halloween Bingo: Email me and I can send you the template for free.
  • Halloween Dance Off: I listed the playlist below.
  • Trick or Treating: Can’t think of a better activity to do during Halloween!
  • Halloween Movie: Ended the evening with a showing of Nightmare before Christmas!

Halloween Playlist: I put together a list of Halloween songs for the kids to dance to. It was definitely my favorite part of the night!

  • Ghostbusters Theme Song
  • Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Thriller by Michael Jackson
  • The Monster Mash
  • Shake Dem Skeleton Bones
  • Addams Family Theme Song
  • The Witch Doctor
  • This Is Halloween from Nightmare before Christmas

What are your favorite Halloween Party tips and tricks?  Please share!

Garden Party at Home

This weekend, I helped set up a garden party at a family member’s home.  This party was easy to decorate as the beautiful outdoors provided us with a great backdrop to work with.  We kept everything very simple to keep the focus on the beautiful day.

Party Details

  • Centerpieces: We spent a total of $10 on each centerpiece because we used simple classic vases purchased from The Dollar Tree and bought and arranged the flowers ourselves.  A local florist would have charged at least $30 per centerpiece!  The key to a professional looking centerpiece is to rubber band the entire bouquet together once you figured out how you want to arrange them.  Then, you simply place the entire bouquet in the vase. We added a colorful scrapbook paper at the center of the table for an added pop of color.  This is a great and very inexpensive way to add color and contrast to any table.

Money saving tip: Purchase fresh flowers at a local nursery, wholesale florist shop or even your local grocery store instead of a flower shop.  You will save tons of money on flowers without sacrificing the freshness or quality.

  • Buffet setting: As the party was outdoor and children were in attendance, we chose to serve the food with paper plates and plastic utensils.  However, we still wanted it to look presentable.  We used colorful scrapbook paper to place inside three vases and then used one sheet of tissue paper to help lift up the utensils for easy access.  This simple trick provided color and a fun creative look to the buffet table.
  • Signature Drink: We wanted a fun and colorful drink to serve at the party so what better summer drink than sangria!  We couldn’t sacrifice serving sangria in anything else but in a wine glass.  I purchased these incredible wine glasses at no other than The Dollar Tree!  In my own home, I have both The Dollar Tree and Crate and Barrel wine glasses and everyone always prefers the $1 wine glasses.  They look great, are of good quality and ideal size to serve a nice summer sangria.  I especially love them for parties because if they break, they are only $1!
  • Dessert Table: For the dessert table, we incorporated homemade and store bought desserts.  We served the desserts in beautiful silver trays at (you guessed it) The Dollar Tree!  We used the leftover scrapbook paper as our dollies to give the entire table a pop of color.  I made food labels at home for each dessert.  Feel free to email me and I can send you the template.  The entire table took a total of 20 minutes to set up and made for a great focal point for the party.

Contact me if you have any questions with any details I’ve shared.

I would love to hear from you!

10 Simple Steps for Planning a Party!

The key to a great party is great planning.

Below are 10 steps for planning a SIMPLY extraordinary party!

1. Pick your (ideal) date. I personally love throwing parties on a Saturday because then you have all of Sunday to rest. However, this is a personal option. I write ideal because the place that you want to have your party might not have your date so you might need to adjust.

2. Pick your (ideal) time. If this is your child’s party, take nap times into consideration. I remember when I threw my daughter’s 1st birthday party. I put the start time as 2pm not realizing that she usually naps till about 2:30pm. Needless to say, she was late to her own party!

3. Pick your place. Look for a post soon about creative, fun and inexpensive places to have your parties!

4. Pick your theme! Once you have your confirmed place, date and time, it’s time to pick the best part: THEME! I always make sure that the place is confirmed first as it will determine the theme. For me, I like things to match and make sense especially for a party. For example, if you’re having a party at a Mexican restaurant, it would make more sense to have a Mexican themed party than a Princess party.

5. Pick your invitations. Once you have your theme, it’s time for the invitations. First, determine if you want to send out paper or electronic invites. I have been leaning towards the electronic invites lately. It’s super easy, FREE and you can always add any extra guests without having to take an extra trip to the Post Office. However, there is something really special about getting a paper invite in the mail. Either way, make sure your invite gives your guests a preview of what to expect for the party. Is it a pool party? Do guests need to bring anything special to attend the party i.e. swimsuits? Do you want them to wear something special i.e. baseball jerseys for a Baseball theme? Make sure you have all the important information on the invite so it alleviates calls, texts and emails with questions about the party.

6. Pick your menu. Food is very important at any party so make time to think about your menu. I love menus that coordinate with the theme of the party even if it’s just the desserts. I would also take into consideration who your guests and the time of the party. If you have a lot of kids, make sure you have options for them. If you are having an outside party, make sure the food is “light” and can hold up in elements. Most important, make sure the food is YUMMY! Nothing says a great party than really good food! And don’t forget dessert!

7. Pick your entertainment. I’m old school when it comes to entertainment at parties. I feel, especially for young kids’ parties, that you don’t need much. Kids are entertained with a cardboard box so they don’t need a whole clown show at their party. Plus, I feel that it sometimes takes away from the socialization of the party which, to me, is the whole point of having a party anyway. Simple, fun games are super fun because they are interactive and don’t take up too much time. If you do decide you want entertainment, keep it short. A good time to have your entertainment come in would be after the food is served and before the cake is cut.

8. Plan your day. Take time to figure out your plan for the day of the party. You don’t want to have to figure out who is picking up Grandma the morning of so make sure you think about your plan for the day. One of my party planning mottos is to “do what you can today so you don’t have to do it tomorrow.” This motto has worked well for me both professionally and personally. Ideally, you want to be able to have as much as you can do so that the day of the party, you can just enjoy!

9. Take pictures! This might sound really simple but you will be surprised how challenging this could be once the party is underway (and you have an active toddler). I suggest that you take pictures as the beginning of the party before most of your guests arrive. This is especially important if you are planning on sending thank you cards with a photo from the party. The last thing you want is at the end of the party figure out that you never took a picture of your child with his/her grandparents from the party. Again, you be surprised how easy this can happen. A good tip is taking candid shots (especially when you have a toddler running around). I’m also a huge fan of candid pictures! Some of favorite pictures of my daughter are the ones when she is just running around and not being forced to pose so walk around the party and “capture the moments”.

10. Have fun and enjoy! I added this on here because you will be surprised how many times a party host (especially us mommies) forgets to have fun at their own parties! I get it! It’s so easy to do. You’re too busy making sure there is enough food and worrying about everyone else having fun that you forget to have fun yourself. So make sure you take time to enjoy your own party! Your child will only have their 1st birthday once so make sure you don’t miss it.

What are your best tips for throwing a great party? Please share!

I would love to hear from you!

First Birthday Fiesta!: A Mexican Themed Birthday Party

Party Details

I don’t know about you but 1st birthdays are huge where you end up having way more adults than kids. So for my daughter’s first birthday party, I wanted to do something that was not only fun for the kids but also for the adults. My husband and I searched high and low. Everything was either too expensive or too fancy. One day, I was in the mood for Mexican food so we went to a local Mexican restaurant. While eating my enchiladas, I got the idea to have the birthday party there. Lucky for me, the restaurant hosted private parties and for an extremely reasonable price. I was so excited and started planning right away.

The best part of hosting a party at a restaurant is that you save tons of money on décor and entertainment. I didn’t have to do much for decor because the restaurant already had gorgeous bright-colored Mexican tablecloths and paper flowers for centerpieces. Additionally, there was a beautiful exposed brick wall that was the perfect backdrop for the cake (and pictures!).

The restaurant also had their own music system, which provided a fun atmosphere throughout the entire party.

The first thing I did was purchase the invitations. I looked at the typical invitation sites but didn’t find anything I loved. So I went on http://www.etsy.com (Check out this amazing website if you haven’t already) and custom ordered the digital invitations. One of the benefits of getting digital invites is that you can print as many as you want and can use the images for something else (i.e. thank you cards). I actually was able to take the banner design from the invite and used it to make tags for the gift bags (see below).

Party Bags: I found great bright colored gift bags at Family Dollar. They were 2 for $1 and the colors matched perfectly! I personalized them by adding a favor tag with the banner image from the invites and added the words “Muchas gracias” (“Thank You” in Spanish to keep with the Mexican theme). I then tied the favor tags onto the bags with raffia ribbon that I found at the Dollar Tree. It was a great colorful addition to the party and the bags (including the treats inside) cost me less than $4 each.

Time saving tip: I can give you the free printable template for the favor tags. Just email me and I can send it to you!

Cake: I will admit that this is where I spent most of my budget. I figured we needed a fabulous cake to place in front of the fabulous exposed brick wall. So I worked with a local bakery and designed a Mexican themed birthday cake.

Money saving tip: Order a smaller cake for display (display cake) and then have a sheet cake in the back to cut for your guests. No one will know and you save tons of money!

Centerpieces: The restaurant provided me with some paper flowers but I needed more. So, instead of buying prepaid ones, which are super expensive, I decided to make them. I bought bright colored tissue from the Dollar Tree and actually ended up having my amazing aunt make the paper flowers for me as she has a real talent for it. I plan on providing you with step-by-step instructions on how to make these soon. They are extremely inexpensive to create and make for great décor to any party. I then purchased clear vases also from The Dollar Tree. I felt the centerpieces still needed more color so I purchased scrapbook paper from Michael’s and placed in on the inside of the vase and then placed the paper flowers inside. I was able to make 7 centerpieces for a total of $14! Can’t beat that!

Money saving tip: Scrapbook paper is an amazing décor party tool. Look for a post on all the ways that you can use scrapbook paper coming soon!

Sombrero Cookies: This is a great and very easy recipe that anyone (including non-bakers like me) can make. All you need are sugar cookies, vanilla frosting, rainbow sprinkles and gumdrop candy. I have the full recipe on my Food and Drink page.

Party Games: The restaurant provided me with the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game. So all I had to buy was the piñata, which I got at Party City. I was able to provide the kids with 2 fun games and it all cost me a total of $20! I also had an activity table with coloring books, crayons, stickers and puzzles that I purchased at The Dollar Tree for a total of $6!

All in all, it was a great 1st party that was enjoyed by both the kids and adults. I guess it didn’t hurt that there was delicious sangria and guacamole as part of the celebration…

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments!

I would love to hear from you!