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Party Planning

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Top 10 Tips for Planning Your Party Like a Pro

Entertaining people in your home is always wrought with a bit of stress and
anxiety. Simply getting everything ready before the party is enough to make
most people pull out their hair. And, the self-doubt and worry about last
minute details is enough to send most people over the edge of comfort. However,
planning your party does not need to be this way. Here are ten time tested tips
to help you plan the best party with the least possible pre-party stress.

Tip #1 -- The best thing you can do for yourself is to write down a master
party shopping list and a list of what needs to be accomplished around your
home before the date of the party. Get out a calendar and mark off some time to
shop and clean your home.

Tip #2 -- Enlist the help of your spouse or children in the process of cleaning
and de-cluttering your home for the party. While they may not do the "perfect"
job that you would, you can always go back with a quick vacuum or dust cloth
and finish up the job later.

Tip #3 -- When your guests arrive they will need a place to hang their coats
and place their purses. One of the easiest things you can do is to clean out
your entry-hall coat closet for them to use. If you have a bunch of stuff in
there, then you should either find it a new home or box it up until after your
party is over.

Tip #4 -- When you shop, think about if you will want to send home leftovers
with your guests. If you will, then you should pick-up some inexpensive
containers which you can send home food in and not have to worry about
retrieving your plates or bowls at a later date.

Tip #5 -- It is also nice to plan for enough leftovers from your party that you
will not have to cook or prepare food on the day after your party. Let's face
it, the day after your party you will be exhausted, and by not having to cook
you can relax and enjoy the day with your family.

Tip #6 -- When you go to the store to purchase the non-perishables for your
party, you can leave them in the grocery bags until the day before the party.
Rather than unpack everything and put it away in your cupboards where people
might mistakenly eat it, you can simply leave everything in the bags and keep
them in an out of the way place until the day before the party. (I highly
suggest looking at everything the day before and making sure you didn't forget
something at the store which is vital. This will keep you from having to make
emergency store runs on the day of your party when you have other things to do.)

Tip #7 -- If you are having an evening party near the Christmas holiday season,
you might want to get together ahead of time with your friends and organize a
cookie exchange. By doing this you can have tons of different cookies to offer
your guests, even though you only had to make one kind of them. Tip #8 -- If
your guests will be drinking wine, it is a great idea to use some inexpensive
wine glass charms. This will allow your guests to always know which glass is
theirs and keeps them from using too many other glasses. Put the charms on
before your party to save time when you are serving your guest's drinks.

Tip #9 -- One of the best things you can do when planning your party is to ask
other people to bring food or beverages. Many times people ask what they can
bring, and you should take them up on their offers. Not only does this cut-down
on the budget for your party, it also allows you to spend less time cooking and
more time with your guests.

Tips for Preparing Your Home before You Host a Party

When you are planning a party at your home, you will find that it always seems
like no matter how much you clean, or how much you organize; there is always
more which you could do. The key to effectively preparing your home to host a
party is cleaning and de-cluttering some very vital areas. You should
understand that as long as those areas care clean and clutter-free, then your
guests will feel comfortable and welcome in your home.

However, even the most seasoned hostess can be intimidated by trying to prepare
their home for guests. So, for that reason, here are some tips from professional
cleaners and organizers on how you can best prepare your home to host your party:

Tip #1 -- Take a look around your home in a quick sweep and decide what you
need to do. Take along a pen and paper and make notes for each room of your
home. You will want a closet for your guests to hang their coats in and a place
to store women's purses. While you are doing your home walk-through decide where
these two locations will be and write them down.

Tip #2 -- The first place you will want to start cleaning and tidying up is the
entry area of your home, and then work from there cleaning the living room,
bathroom, and kitchen areas. In addition, if there are other areas in your home
where your guests will be, perhaps a game room or similar, that area will need a
good cleaning and de-cluttering as well.

Tip #3 -- While everyone has some clutter which they treasure; understand that
clutter can give an even spotless home the appearance of being messy and
unclean. You want your guests to be able to move freely in your home and not be
knocking things off of tables or shelves. When you are cleaning for a party be
brutal and get rid of as much clutter as you can bear -- even if you just
simply box it and place it in the garage for the night.

Tip #4 -- If you have a spouse and family, now is the time to enlist them to
help you in cleaning and de-cluttering your home. You can easily assign a room
to each person and have them be responsible for cleaning and removing anything
in the room which does not absolutely need to be there for the party.

Tip #5 -- If you have children with messy rooms, but are having an all-adult
party, it is fine to simply close your children's bedroom doors and not make a
big deal about them cleaning their rooms for the party. This can greatly
relieve your stress pre-party. In essence, stick to cleaning rooms which you
absolutely must clean because guests will be in them.

Tip #6 -- If your party is informal, consider using casual serving dishes and
casual eatery as well. You may even want to purchase some good quality paper
plates for the event if it will be a pot-luck or BBQ type event, rather than a
sit-down meal.

Tip #7 -- It is important for you to know that where there are people with food
and drinks, there will be spills and stains. The easiest way to deal with these
issues is to be completely prepared to deal with them before they ever happen.
Have a small box with cleaning supplies which you can use to clean up any
messes which might occur during the party.

Tip #8 -- Once your home is clean and clutter-free, then it is time to go
around your home and add back some small, personal touches which make your home
comfortable and inviting for your guests. You can accomplish this through the
use of flowers, photographs of your family, and candles. To deal with any musty
odors your home may have, you can burn candles or simmer cinnamon and cloves on
the stove.

Tip #9 -- Once your home has been prepared and you have a back-up plan to deal
with any unforeseen stains or spills, then it is time for you as the hostess to
sit back and enjoy your party.

The Top 7 Tips to Help You Plan a Surprise Party

Planning a surprise party can be very fun and enjoyable for all of the people
who are involved. And, if you and your co-conspirators can keep up the charade
until the party happens, then you can have one very surprised and happy guest
of honor.

Even though the secret of your surprise party lays with all of the people who
will be in attendance, there are some simple things which you can do, as the
party planner and host, to help ensure the best outcome possible. Here are
seven tips to get you started to planning a surprise party which your friends
and relatives will be talking about for years to come:

Tip #1 -- Find out from your guest of honor, or even better from their
significant other, what their schedule is like within the timeframe you are
considering for the surprise party. Use this valuable information to set the
date for your surprise party.

Tip #2 -- Enlist the help of someone who can devise a fictitious activity for
the guest of honor to partake in on the day of the party. The closer to your
home this activity is, the easier it is for your helper to "have to stop in at
your home for a moment" on the day of the party.

Tip #3 -- Extend your invitations to all of your invited guests. When you make
your invitations make sure that each of your guests understand that the party
is a surprise and should be kept that way. Ask them to please not share the
information with your guest of honor or anyone else who might mention it to
them.

Tip #4 -- Come up with a planned event which everyone who may run into your
guest of honor can use as a diversion if they need to. However, if your guests
don't think they can "lie" to the guest of honor with a straight face, suggest
that they avoid them for the time leading up to the party, whenever possible
and practical.

Tip #5 -- Ask all of your invited guests to arrive at least thirty minutes
before you expect your guest of honor to arrive. If your guest of honor
generally arrives early to events, then you might want to ask your invited
guests to come a bit earlier, just in case.

Tip #6 -- Ask your guests to park down the street and out of sight. The only
caveat to this is if the guest of honor believes they are attending another
event at your home on that day. If this is the case then it won't really matter
much were people choose to park.

Tip #7 -- Once you have done all of the other things suggested, then the only
thing you can really do is pray and hold your breath that no one will slip-up
and tell your guest of honor about your planned surprise party.

Planning a surprise party can be a lot of fun. If you take the time to build in
some diversions into your plan, you are able to help those who might be asked
questions by the guest of honor. This will ensure that they are not caught
off-guard and without a good, solid, quick answer to give to any questions that
they may be asked. By doing this you can have a wonderful surprise party. Good
luck!

The Professional Party Planner's Guide to Children's Parties

Planning a birthday party for children is always fun; children have such
amazing imaginations and sense of fun that they are both fun and easy to plan a
birthday party for. If you are tasked with planning a birthday party for your
child, take the opportunity to have some fun with ideas and plan the best party
you can. You can bet that your child, and all of their friends, will love you
for making the extra effort.

The first consideration for any child's birthday party is to understand that
the goal of the entire day, and event itself, is to make your child feel like
they are king or queen for the day. The day is all about them feeling special
and nothing more. The most successful child's party is one where the child is
happy, their friends and family are happy, and no one ends up crying.

The second consideration for a child's birthday party is what the child wants
to have as a theme. If you sit down your child and ask them you might be
pleasantly surprised at the simple wishes they give you. Many children want
only very basic things such as a particular color or special food choice. Take
your queues from your child and try to develop a party around their wishes
which fits into your ability and budget.

If you will be having a party where your guests are very young, you will need
more adults present to help you. You cannot be in all places at all times, and
by having other people at the party things will go much smoother and with much
less stress. If the parents ask if they can stay for the party you want to
invite them to do just that. You will need the help and you might even make
some new friends in the process!

If you will be inviting the children who your child goes to school with, you
need to either invite the entire class, or plan on distributing your
invitations outside of school. This rule is meant to keep from hurting
children's feelings and is generally in effect as most schools.

Before the party discuss manners with your child. Explain to them about
duplicate or unwanted gifts and other times when it is appropriate to use good
manners. Also, insist, gently, that guests use their best manners as well while
they are in your home. This will make the day go much better for everyone.

Planning crafts or games for a young child's party is essential. There is
nothing worse than ten young kids with nothing to do. They will whine, fight
and tear apart your house in no time flat. By keeping them occupied everyone
will have a much better time. However, it is always good to plan extra
activities just incase something doesn't go as well as you planned it to be.
This way, you can switch to doing something else without too much hassle or
complaint.

It is also important to remember that a child's birthday party doesn't have to
last all afternoon. A simple party which lasts two hours or so is plenty long
enough, by this time the guests will likely be getting cranky and restless and
you can send them on their way home.

The Professional Party Planner Guide to Bridal Showers

A bridal shower is one of those parties which you can throw which will be fun
and yet practical at the same time. While the purpose of the bridal shower is
to give the bride things which can be used in her marriage, another fun reason
is that it allows some hours away from the planning and stress of the wedding
itself, for the bride and family to just play games and have some good clean
fun.

The bridal shower is the perfect occasion to share funny family stories and for
friends and relatives to gather to give the bride advice and support for her
marriage. It is also another occasion which the bride gets to be the princess
of the day, without having to deal with all of the stress of the wedding
itself. It is a much more casual and comfortable event than the actual wedding
or reception generally are.

In planning a bridal shower, it is generally the responsibility of the
maid-of-honor and the bridesmaids. While it used to be considered poor
etiquette for anyone else to host the bridal shower, today it is perfectly
acceptable. However, it is vital in your planning that you take into account
the bride's wishes and don't make any plans or games which could make her feel
uncomfortable or angry. You should consult with the bride and ask what she
would like for her shower. Generally, it is best not to have a surprise bridal
shower unless it is far before the wedding and you think the bride would really
appreciate one.

The bridal shower should be held between two to eight weeks prior to the
wedding date. Only invited guests of the wedding itself should be invited to
the bridal shower. The time of your bridal shower is up to you and the bride;
however the standard tradition is generally in the early afternoon. Today some
people hold their bridal showers at a spa or even on the beach for a BBQ and
party; it just depends on the wishes of the bride and groom.

Also, you will need to decide if the bridal shower will be a traditional "girls
only" event, or if you will have couples. If you will have couples, then the
party is generally referred to as a "Jack and Jill" party rather than a bridal
shower. For a Jack and Jill party, gifts are generally less gender specific and 
more home related.

In addition, the other popular themes for a bridal shower are: around-the-clock
showers, lingerie showers, kitchen showers, and travel gift showers. For an
around-the-clock shower, each guest is given a time of day and their gift
should reflect that time when purchased. For a lingerie shower the bride is
given lingerie to enjoy with her new husband after the wedding. A kitchen
shower consists of all gifts being useful in the kitchen, and travel gifts are
for when the couple travel together.

At the end of the bridal shower make sure that you have a small sentimental
gift for each of the attendees. Your gift can be something to commemorate the
day, or even something simple such as a bar of gourmet soap. It is always nice
to send your guests back to their homes with something special, in addition to
their wonderful memories of the day.

The Professional Party Planner's Guide to Party Invitations The invitation to
your party is the first glimpse into your celebration for your guests. For this
reason, your invitations should match the occasion in both style and theme as
well. Your invitation is meant to inform your invited guests about your event,
but also they are to give your invitees a small glimpse into what is to come at
your party.

You will want to send out your invitations at least four weeks before a smaller
party, and exactly eight weeks prior for a larger event such as a wedding. You
will also likely want to make sure that your party or event is not held over a
holiday weekend where many of your friends and family may already have other
plans, or who will not want to deal with holiday travel. The wording on your
invitation should be done in a very standard way. This means that it should
include the following:

* All phrasing should always be in the third person style

* Punctuation is never used at the ends of lines on an invitation, only on
  names and addresses which require them

* Try not to use any abbreviations on your invitations. Spell out names,
  addresses, etc: fully. The one exception to this is the use of Mr. And Mrs.
  Both of these abbreviations are appropriate for an invitation.

* Days, dates, and times should all be spelled out completely.

* If you have a husband and wife who you will be inviting who happen to both 
  be doctors, you can simply address your invitation to "The Doctors "Last 
  Name"  and it will be correct

* It is always socially unacceptable to write "no children" or refer to gifts,
  or even no gifts, on any invitations.

Each invitation should have the following information contained on it:

* The name of the host or hosts

* The purpose of the event

* The name of the guest of honor

* The day, date and time of the event

* The location of the event

* The address of the event with the street address only, never the zip code as
  this is tacky.

Once you have your invitations completed, then it is time to get a friend to read 
over them for you and let you know if you have any mistakes in your text. This is 
very important because the last thing you want to do is send out all of your 
invitations with the wrong date or time on them. It is so much easier to catch 
and fix mistakes before the invitations are ever sent out.

You might find it surprising to know that in this day and age you can have your
invitations printed at a very reasonable cost online. In addition, if you have a
good graphics program and printer, you can do them yourself. If you will be
having a smaller event, it is perfectly acceptable to purchase a package of the
hand-written invitations from your local store and simply write in the
information on them.

If you will be having a very informal party, you can have some fun and informal
invitations. If you are planning a much more formal party or event such as a
wedding, then you are best to stick to professionally printed invitations.

The Top 10 Halloween Party Ideas for Children of All Ages

Planning a Halloween party can be a very fun thing to do. Whether you will be
hosting adults, children, or a mix of both, Halloween parties are fun and
exciting to have and to attend.

To help plan your Halloween party, and have it be the event of the year, here
are some ideas to get you started in your planning:

Halloween Party Idea #1 -- The first thing you need to do is to decide on a
budget for your party and if you will be having adults, children, or both in
attendance. Once you have made these decisions then it is time to start
planning your event.

Halloween Party Idea #2 -- Food and drinks are always a big part of any
Halloween party. Here you can be very creative with items such as "scabs" other
wise known as dried cranberries. Items such as bleeding cupcakes or things which
look like eyeballs are generally a hit. Or you can go with a more traditional
fare of cookies and candy.

Halloween Party Idea #3 -- For beverages for your party you can make a great
slimy punch out of lemonade, sugar, meringue powder, and seltzer water. To this
add some green food coloring and stir. The mix will be slimy and frothy.

Halloween Party Idea #4 -- Always a fun idea at Halloween parties is the
addition of dry ice to beverages. This will make them send off fog and is
always a hit with both adults and children.

Halloween Party Idea #5 -- Decoration for Halloween is fun. You can make
tombstones in the yard with simple Styrofoam cutouts and even hang lights and
ghosts in your trees. Inside your home you can decorate with spider webs and
other spooky items which you can purchase at any local store during the
Halloween season.

Halloween Party Idea #6 -- For a Halloween party you want your home to be dimly
lit but not too dark so that people are tripping over things. Also a fog machine
or cauldrons with dry ice in them can give a great effect.

Halloween Party Idea #7 -- Music is always nice for a Halloween party. However,
rather than have it playing in the room your guests will be in, try setting your
tunes in a near-by room so that people can still talk and enjoy themselves. If
you have a adult party use scarier music than if you are hosting children.

Halloween Party Idea #8 -- Playing games is always a hit at any party. A fun
game for adults is charades using scary movies and themes. For children,
bobbing for apples can be fun if the weather and space allow for it. Also,
contests for the best costume always go over well. (Let your guests know this
on your invitations.

Halloween Party Idea #9 -- If you want to amaze your friends, you can write
secret messages on your drinking glasses. To do this, take a mixture of dish
soap and water and write messages with it, using your finger, on the outside of
some drinking glasses. Once you are finished place them in the freezer to frost
over. As your guests drink, and the glasses warm, your messages will come into
view. This is always something people will be amazed at and talk about for a
long time to come.

Halloween Party Idea #10 -- One of the best things you can do while you are
planning any party, especially one for Halloween, is to go online and search
for creative ideas. You will find a wealth of creativity to help you make the
most of your party experience.

Special Party Planning Considerations -- Entertaining the Disabled

In just about everyone's circle of friends and acquaintances, there are people
who are disabled in one way or another. In just my own immediate family, I have
one person who is in a wheelchair and another who is on a special diet due to
kidney failure. Whenever I entertain, I know that I have to take both of their
special needs into consideration. For many people this is a very daunting
proposition which they answer by simply not inviting their disabled friends and
relatives to their parties, or simply not entertaining at all. How completely
sad is that?

It is very important that as you move through your daily life you understand
that fact that disabled people are just like you and I. While they have
additional challenges in their lives, they still enjoy the same things you and
I do, and a good party is no exception! It is very possible for you to plan
your party and include those with disabilities without too much extra work.

The first thing you can do when you are planning a party is to plan on inviting
your disabled friends and family to the event. Don't let their differences scare
you away from having them to your home or event. However, you should also not be
shy about asking these friends and relatives if there is anything you can do to
help them navigate the area better, or if there are any dietary restrictions
they have which you can plan ahead for. Even by asking these two questions,
they will feel appreciated and included in your event. In addition, they will
have respect for the fact that you asked the questions, many people don't
bother to.

The next thing you can do is to take a moment to view your home as other people
will who attend your party. Try sitting down in a chair, or sitting on the
floor, and have a good look around. Look at obstacles like clutter and see if
you can move some things out of the way for the party time. This is especially
important in tighter spaces such as bathrooms and hallways. Look for tripping
hazards like stairs and see if you can highlight them better to make sure that
even your visually impaired granny can see them and be able to navigate them
without falling down.

If you would like to invite someone to your party with a more physical
disability, ask them if there is someone they would like to bring along as
their caregiver. Many people will be happy that you asked and were considerate
of the fact that they may need someone available to help them. Many people need
help in places like the restroom, and would prefer to have someone there they
trust and can feel comfortable around.

If your invitee has never been to your home before, you can simply ask if they
would like to come over before the event and the two of you can work on
accessibility issues together. This can be a great help and make both you and
your guest feel as comfortable as possible.

The best thing you can ever do when entertaining is to invite those around you
with disabilities. Especially during the holiday season, people can be very
lonely and it only takes a nice gesture such as an invitation to a party to
start to feel better about yourself and your situation. If you feel
uncomfortable about the person's disability, then try talking to them about
what challenges they face and what things you can do to make their stay nicer
at your home. Through some simple communication, both you and your disabled
friends and relatives can have some great party memories to share.

Prepare Your Shopping List like a Professional Party Planner

When you will be planning a party, or even planning an entire event, being well
organized can set you apart from those who have a difficult time of it.
Organization is your best friend when it comes to successfully planning and
having a party or event of any size. And, the key to having successful
organization skills lies in your shopping list. When you have an excellent
shopping list, then you are sure to have all of the supplies you need on the
day of your party or event.

It is very easy for most people to become overwhelmed when they enter a store
or mall. You walk in thinking that you know exactly what you want, and then you
find yourself amongst so much amazing stuff that you start to question your
original thoughts and decisions. This often leads to purchasing things you
hadn't planned on. In the worst case scenario this means you forget vital
items, in the best case scenario it generally means that you spend too much
money and go over your budget. The simple way to avoid having this happen is to
make a good shopping list and then stick to it when you shop.

The first step in preparing your shopping list is to gather up a pencil and a
pad pf paper. You want to label the first page of the notepad with the date of
your event and any location information you might need later, such as an
address or phone number, if your party will not be held at your own home.

The second step in preparing your shopping list is to decide what the menu will
be and what ingredients your menu requires you to have. Take the time to go
through each recipe for your menu and write down each of the ingredients you
will need to purchase and the quantities you will need. Each of these
ingredients, with their amounts listed, will go under the heading of "food" on
your master party shopping list.

The third step to preparing your shopping list is to decide on any beverages
which you will be serving and the quantities you need to obtain. Each of your
beverages, with their amounts listed, will go under the heading of "beverages"
on your master party shopping list.

The next step to preparing your shopping list is to decide what party and paper
goods you will need for the event or party. Consider things like plates, cups,
silverware, serving bowls, centerpieces for tables, flowers, tables and chairs,
etc: Make sure to write down anything you could possibly need on your master
party shopping list.

Now that you have an all inclusive master shopping list, it is a good idea to
break that list down by stores and times when you will be buying the items
listed. For example, you will likely want to shop twice at the grocery store.
The first time you will want to shop for everything which will last until the
date of your event; the second time you will want to shop for perishable items
such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and breads. This means that you
want one page for the items you will purchase on the first trip, and another
page for the items which you will purchase at the last minute.

As you make your sub-lists, you will want to add in your shopping times to your
master party planning calendar. You will likely have two grocery shopping trips,
a trip to the party store, a trip to the liquor store, and a trip to the florist
as well. By taking the time to schedule shopping at each of these venues, you
can ensure that you do not forget to go to one store or another, and that you
will have the time needed to obtain all of the things you will need to have a
successful party or event. As you can clearly see, creating a master shopping
list is the only way to plan a successful party or event like a professional
party planner. And, through the use of sub-lists you can zero in on just what
you want and ignore the other things in the store that might have otherwise
tempted you.

Planning an Elementary School Aged Birthday Party with Success

Usually around the time that children get to be in elementary school, they
discover that there is a whole world of birthday parties out there which can be
just for them. It usually starts with one child having a birthday party and
inviting the entire class. From there the party invitations start to come in by
the droves for the rest of the elementary school year and beyond. When it is
your child's turn, there is no need to panic; you can plan a fantastic
elementary school party even on a low budget or without a lot of time
commitment on your part.

The best way to start to plan your elementary school aged party is to ask your
child what kind of party they want to have. This is important because they may
want to have a party similar to one which they have attended in the past. By
asking them what they want, you are on your way to being able to start your
planning. You do not need to be fearful that if you ask what your child wants
that they will tell you they want expensive options; most children this age
have pretty simple wants such as a specific theme or color scheme they desire.
From their desires you can build your party plans and theme.

The next decision you need to make is the location for the birthday party. For
young children, who are prone to being messy, you might want to have the party
at a local fast-food restaurant or similar venue. This can have the effect of
the kids having some fun, and you not having a large mess to clean up after the
party has finished. Another good option is a local park if the weather in your
area permits it. As children get older, parties where you take the children
skating or bowling can be a lot of fun.

If you dread the idea of spending hours with a pack of elementary school aged
children on your weekend, you might choose to have the party on a Friday
evening or for just an hour or two on a Saturday afternoon.

If your child is still very young, and you will have more than a couple other
children at the party, you will need other adults to help you. However, if your
child is in third grade or older you can probably get away with only having one
other adult present to help you.

When you are distributing invitations to your partiers, it is very important to
remember that if you will be sending them to elementary school to be passed out,
you must invite every child in the class. To do otherwise is prohibited by most
schools and just simply rude as well. Noting is more hurtful than a group of
elementary school children all taunting another child for not being invited to
a party.

For the day of the party you will want to have as much for your partiers to do
as possible. While you do not want to overwhelm the children, it is important
to keep them busy and occupied the entire time they are there with you. This
will keep them out of trouble and having fun.

It is very important that you insist on good manners from your birthday party
guests as well as your own birthday boy or girl. Everyone should use the words
"please" and "thank you" as well as being courteous to others. In addition, you
should go over how your child will handle opening presents and what is, and is
not, appropriate to say to other people about gifts.

Planning a Preschool Birthday Party with Success

Usually around the time that children get to be in preschool, they discover
that there is a whole world of birthday parties out there which can be just for
them. It usually starts with one child having a party and inviting the entire
class. From there the party invitations start to come in by the droves for the
rest of the preschool year. When it is your child's turn, there is no need to
panic; you can plan a fantastic preschool party even on a low budget or without
a lot of time commitment on your part.

The best way to start to plan your preschooler's party is to ask them what kind
of party they want to have. This is important because they may want, or not
want, a party similar to one which they have attended. By asking them what they
want, you are on your way to being able to start your planning. You do not need
to be fearful that if you ask what your child wants that they will tell you
they want expensive options; most children have pretty simple wants such as a
specific theme or color scheme they desire.

The next decision you need to make is the location for the birthday party. For
young children, who are prone to being messy, you might want to have the party
at a local fast-food restaurant or similar venue. This can have the effect of
the kids having some fun, and you not having a large mess to clean up after the
party has finished. Another good option is a local park if the weather in your
area permits it.

If you dread the idea of spending hours with a pack of preschoolers on your
weekend, you might choose to have the party in the evening or for just an hour
or two on a Saturday afternoon. Preschoolers can only have a limited amount of
fun before they become stressed out and start whining and crying. You can use
this to your advantage by planning a relatively short but fun party.

If you will have more than a couple other children at the party you will need
other adults to help you. Because preschoolers need lots of help and attention,
you should have an adult for every three or four children in attendance. This
will be a great help when children need help using the bathroom and other
things as the party goes along.

When you are distributing invitations to your partiers, it is very important to
remember that if you will be sending them to preschool to be passed out, you
must invite each child in the class. To do otherwise is prohibited by most
schools and just simply rude as well. Noting is more hurtful than a group of
preschoolers all taunting another child for not being invited to a party.

For the day of the party you will want to have as much for your partiers to do
as possible. While you do not want to overwhelm the children, it is important
to keep them busy and occupied the entire time they are there with you. This
will keep them out of trouble and having fun.

It is very important that you insist on good manners from your birthday party
guests as well as your own birthday boy or girl. Everyone should use the words
"please" and "thank you" as well as being courteous to others. In addition, you
should go over how your child will handle opening presents and what is, and is
not, appropriate to say to other people about gifts.

Party Planning Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Own Party

Many people don't throw parties simply because they don't want to do a ton of
work and then end up missing all of the fun because they are stuck in the
kitchen or running around the house doing last minute necessary things.
However, this doesn't have to be the way it is! You can throw and party and
enjoy it at the same time. The trick to hosting a party where you can enjoy
yourself is called organization. If you are organized then you can run your
party without it running you ragged.

If you can keep your eye on the prize, having fun at your own party, then you
can organize it in a way where you actually can enjoy your own party right
along with your guests.

As I said previously, the key to the host enjoying their own party is
organization. If you take the time to get organized before the event, then you
can enjoy your party. Here are some tips to help you out.

Party Planning Tip -- Make a master list of everything you need to do and
purchase for your party. From this list you can easily create a timeline which
allows for time to clean, de-clutter your home, shop for food and decorations,
decorate, and cook.

Party Planning Tip -- Decide if you will be making your own food or buying it
prepared. Some things, like veggie trays, meat trays, and even cakes can be
purchased inexpensively from stores like Costco for about what you could make
them for.

Decide early in the process if you will be making your food or buying it ready
made to save time. Look at the actual costs as well as your time when you are
making the decision.

Party Planning Tip #1 -- Take advantage of anyone's offer to bring something for
the party. Having many people bringing just one simple dish to share can save
you a ton of time and energy. If your party will be all good friends and family
you can even suggest they bring something with them if they have a signature
dish that everyone in attendance just loves.

Party Planning Tip #2 -- Shop as far ahead of time as possible for non-perishable
items. Save your last day shopping for such things as fresh fruits, vegetables,
flowers and pastries or breads from the bakery.

Party Planning Tip #3 -- If you do not have table linens, but don't want to use
the paper ones, sheets work very well as alternatives. Also, make sure to place
some felt or other heavy material under your table linens so your tables will
not be damaged by heat or moisture.

Party Planning Tip #4 -- If you hate to clean your house, or your party is
approaching and you are running out of time, arrange to have your home
professionally cleaned the day before your party. In addition walk around your
home and remove any unnecessary clutter from shelves and other surfaces.

Party Planning Tip #5 -- Let your spouse and children help you prepare for the
party. Assign each a task and then simply make sure that it was completed.
Remember that your guests are not coming over to inspect your home, they are
coming over to enjoy your company.

Party Planning Tip #6 -- If you have a pet, make sure that you have plans for how
to handle their needs during your party. For a cat, you may wish to close a
door to their favorite room and allow them to stay away from your guests.

Once the big day of your party arrives, if you find yourself running around and
not enjoying yourself, start delegating out tasks to people who ask if they can
help you, or to your spouse or children -- don't try to do everything yourself!

As you can see, the key to an enjoyable party is to organize, do the best you
can, and then let others help you when they ask. Follow these simple tips and
you will have a great party that even you as the host can enjoy.

Party Planning Tips for Hosting a Potluck Party

The words "potluck party" probably conger up visions of your grandma or the old
ladies from church having a party; however, in today's busy times having a
potluck can be a great way to get together with friends without anyone having
to do too much of the work themselves.

Just as you are busy each day dealing with getting the kids to school, going to
work, shopping, running errands, taking the kids to their own activities, so are
most of your friends and family. But, if you want to get together and enjoy each
other's company for a day or evening, having a potluck party might be just the
answer. A potluck allows the work of the party to be spread amongst many guests
and a get together is much easier to plan this way.

However, to have a successful potluck, you need to do a bit of pre-planning
upfront to ensure that not all of your guests all bring the same food, or the
same type of food, to the party. While your guests might have no idea what they
will bring, try giving each of them a category and ask that they choose
something. Even going with random suggestions of drinks, main course, desert,
or salad can help to ensure that you have enough variety in your foods so that
everyone can enjoy their meal. In addition to the course suggestions, there are
a few other things which can make your party go much more smoothly. They are:

1. Ask all of your guests to prepare their dishes in advance and bring them in
need of nothing more than a simple reheat in your microwave or oven.

2. Ask all of your guests to bring their dishes in containers which are easy to
handle and will fit within the table space you have.

3. If you will be having a lot of people for your potluck, remind your guests
that they do not have to feed everyone there, a normal family or 4 or 6
meal-sized portion of their food will be plenty. Most people will only take a
small amount of the choices to be able to sample everything they want without
being over-full.

4. Let your guests know that any simple dish is fine. Many people love to try
other people's family recipes and these work nicely for a potluck party. As the
potluck host, you will want to set up the table for all of the food. This should
include both linen as well as potholders for your guests to set their hot dishes
on. In addition you will want to have some extra serving platters, bowls,
baskets, and serving utensils available as not everyone will come with their
dish ready to be served.

One important thing which you do not want to forget is the beverages. You can
either provide these as the host, you can ask everyone to bring their own, or
you can have one person who will only be bringing the drinks.

In addition to the above, as the host of the potluck you get to choose what you
will bring to the party. If you are hosting a large party, simply providing the
location, plates, and silverware, should suffice. However, if you are having a
smaller get together, then you will want to provide a dish as well. Many times
the host will provide the main course, such as a turkey or roast, and ask the
guests to bring along other foods such as salads and desserts.




Party Planning Tips for a Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party

If you have a daughter who is turning sixteen soon, then you know the
importance of having a sweet sixteen party for her. Contrary to what she might
be seeing on MTV, sweet sixteen parties shouldn't look like a wedding; it
should be a party simply to celebrate her sixteenth birthday and in some states
her ability to get a driver's license.

The sweet sixteen party which you and your daughter plan should start with
picking a theme for the party, if you will have one. The theme you choose may
dictate where you will hold the party. If your daughter wants a bowling party,
for instance, then the party would have to be held at the local bowling alley.
Some girls with summer birthdays will want their party to be on the beach or at
a local pool. And, other girls want their theme to be elegant and more adult.
For this last type of party you might want to have it at a restaurant or at
your home.

Once you have a theme and a location, then it is time for you to come up with a
date for the party. Saturday or Saturday evening is generally the best times to
host a party because people will be off of work and ready to do something fun
for the day or evening. The time of day for your party will largely be dictated
by the theme of the party you are having and its location.

Once you have a theme, location, and date for the party, then it is time to
start looking for just the right initiations to fit the event. You have the
choice of writing in your own store-bought invitations, printing your own on
your home computer, or having invitations printed. Here again, it depends
largely on the theme of your party and what you have available to you in your
area and online. However, you might be pleasantly surprised at the low cost of
quality professional printing these days and may want to opt to have the
invitations printed.

Once you have your invitations addressed they should be mailed about four weeks
before the party. Your goal is to give people the opportunity to attend, but not
let them know so far in advance that they forget to come to the party.
Generally, about four weeks is the standard as long as you are not having too
lavish of an event. If there will be over a hundred people in attendance, then
you might want to send out your initiations earlier, but never more than eight
weeks prior to the party date.

Once your invitations are sent out then it is time to work on the menu and
decoration needs for the party. If you will be having an informal, family type
gathering, then informal foods work very well; however, if your event is more
formal or there will be a lot of people in attendance, you need to look at what
foods will be appropriate.

For decorations, simple elegance works very well to help to keep prices down
but things appearing to be elegant. Some store-bought flowers placed in
strategic places can do wonders for a room!

Planning a sweet sixteen party doesn't need to be complicated or stressful. The
most important part is to plan a party everyone can enjoy and remember --
especially the guest of honor.

Party Planning Tips for a Safe and Sober High School Graduation Night Party

In response to the yearly deaths caused by high school seniors drinking and
driving on the night of their graduation, many communities now come together
and host safe and sober all-night parties where the graduates can attend and
enjoy one last night of safe partying with their high school friends.

In most communities around the United States, these events have become very
large and elaborate events in an attempt to attract as many graduating students
as possible. The goal is to make them the "must attend" event of the year and
have all of the students not want to be anywhere else on graduation night.
Generally the planning for such an event starts well before the school year
gets underway, and some parties take all year long to plan.

If you are tasked with planning, or assisting in the planning of a high school
graduation night party, the first thing you will need to do is find out what
the costs will be and where that money will be coming from. It is common for
schools to host fundraising events and dinners from which the money is
specifically ear-marked for the graduation event. You can count on this event
being very expensive, so it is important to plan to fundraise early and as
often as possible. Also, it is important to note that if you have students who
work to earn some of the money through car washes, dog washes, yard clean-up
events, etc: they will feel much more part of the celebration and not want to
miss the big night they have worked so hard for.

Once you have a budget for the event, it is time to decide on your location and
theme. If your town has an interesting attraction which might be available to
you for rent, that can be a great option. However, many schools hold their
events in their own gymnasiums with a lot of success as well. More importantly
than the location is generally the theme of the evening and what will be
happening at the party.

One very popular graduation night party theme is to have a casino. As each
graduate arrives they are given casino chips and are presented with tons of
typical casino games to play. Many teens these days love the World Series of
Poker so having Texas Hold'em tables works well. In addition, the more
traditional games of blackjack and roulette are always a hit.

Here in my own local area, it is popular to go out into the community to
solicit donations of both money and items for the graduation party event. Each
year a local car dealership even donates a brand new car to be auctioned off at
the end of the event. They do so both as advertising and as a way to show that
they support the idea of a safe and sober graduation night for all of the local
graduating kids. You really never do know who will donate to your party until
you take the time to ask around. Aim for the stars and see what your community
will come up with. In many cases, you will be very pleasantly surprised.

While planning a safe and sober graduation party can be a daunting task,
because of its sheer size and the age of the kids who will be in attendance, it
is very doable and a must have event for every community. By working together
with others from the school and the community at large your event can be a
great success and a tradition which will grow and grow as the year's progress.

Party Planning Tips for a Quinceanera Celebration

For people of Spanish decent, a Quinceanera celebration is almost as big of a
deal as a wedding. A Quinceanera party is thrown for a girl when she turns
fifteen and is usually a very, very big deal. The day generally consists of the
birthday girl wearing a beautiful gown, a tiara, a limo ride, a church service,
flowers, a bible, dancing, and more.

The history of the Quinceanera celebration goes all the way back to Aztec times
when fifteen was the age of marriage for girls. In Hispanic culture this
tradition has carried over and at fifteen a celebration is held to signify
womanhood for all Latina girls. The celebration is meant to celebrate a coming
of age and is an acknowledgement by friends and family that the girl is now to
be considered a young lady.

Party planning for the Quinceanera ceremony begins a year before the date of
the event. The first step is to reserve a church and reception hall for the
event. Especially in areas with a large Hispanic population, churches and halls
will be booked very early and competition can be fierce for the best venue.

The traditional Quinceanera celebration is traditionally planned by friends and
family of the guest of honor. However, at times a professional party planner is
asked to plan the event if the family is overwhelmed or the party will be
overly large. The party planner will work closely with the family and help them
to make decisions on the invitations, decorations, menu, music, and more.

Once the date and location have been determined then it is time to begin the
other planning. The color scheme and decorations will have to be decided on and
the decorations purchased or ordered. Initiations will need to be professionally
printed and mailed to all invited guest about six to eight weeks before the
event. The menu for the event will need to be chosen and a caterer hired. A
florist will need to be consulted to make the bouquet for the guest of honor
and other flowers for the church and reception hall.

In today's Internet age, many young girls use websites and blogs to talk about
the planning for their Quinceanera celebration. They use them to swap
information with others and to get ideas for their own parties as well. Often
they discuss the nitty gritty details such as what flowers to have in their
bouquet and which music to use for the event.

In addition to blogs and websites, it is very common today for the guest of
honor to register for gifts. Gift registry items generally include dowry type
items such as linens, dinnerware, and other items required to set up a home at
some future date. While these are the usual gifts registered for, it is also
common to find other items on a registry or for the guests to simply give the
guest of honor cash in honor of the event.

Another tradition today is to set up a website after the Quinceanera where the
guest of honor can display all of her photos and mementos of the day. This
website is generally shared with family and friends, both those in attendance
and those who were not. The Quinceanera is meant to be a fun day shared with
everyone and the Internet now allows for friends and relatives who are too far
to make the trip to enjoy the event as well.

Party Planning for a Little Girl's Princess Party

If you would like your little girl to feel like a princess for a day, why not
throw here a princess party? This party is excellent for little girls aged
pre-school through about fourth grade, depending upon the maturity of your
child and their friends who will be in attendance. A princess party is a time
where you can treat your child like royalty and indulge here in her every wish,
within reason of course. A princess party is one she is sure to remember and
treasure for the rest of her life.

The first thing you will want to do before the party is to decide on the
decorations, activities, and food which will compliment your princess party
theme. Take out a sheet of paper and a pen, and start taking notes and
brainstorming ideas which you can use to meet your own home and specific needs.
This will help you to create a shopping list for your party and a timeline to
get everything accomplished.

As for decor, just about anything goes to decorate your castle, otherwise known
as your home. Using a lot of pink and purple is always a good choice for a
princess party. You can use pastel pink and purple steamers and balloons along
with a matching tablecloth and napkins. For a nice added touch you can use
complementary colored plates and cups. You can also tie your napkins with a
nice fancy ribbon which is only fit for a princess and her castle.

If you have pink or purple fabric on hand, you might want to cover your party
room chairs with it and tie it into big bows at the back. If you do not have
any fabric, check your local thrift stores for a sheet in the right color which
you can cut up and use for the day.

For your princess party invitations you will want to ask your guests to come
dressed in their best outfits and ready to be pampered for the party. Or,
simply let them come in their everyday clothing and add to their outfit when
they arrive. You can purchase inexpensive feather boas which the girls can wear
around their shoulders for the party and then take home afterward. Also readily
available are simple tulle skirts which can transform their outfit into one fit
for a princess. A good idea is to have each guest in pink while the guest of
honor is in purple, or vice versa.

Once your guests arrive you can have them decorate their own princess cone
party hats with such items as gems, confetti, and feathers which you have
purchased from the local dollar or discount store for the purpose. Once their
hats are decorated, then you can staple on streamers or ribbons to the top of
the hat so that they flow out when they move or twirl.

A fun game to play is "Princess May I?" which is the same on the old
traditional game "Mother May I?" Have the guest of honor be the princess and
allow her to play the role of the mother in the more traditional game.

Once your craft project and game are done, then it is time to seat your
princess on her own thrown to enjoy a nice tea party. The best foods to serve
are sandwiches cut into hearts or stars with cookie cutters. The beverage of
choice could be a pink lemonade served in either fancy plastic glasses or in
tea cups. Your cake can either be a princess or a castle. Both options are
fairly easy to make, or they can be purchased if you so choose.

If your local stores carry piņatas, you can fill one with candy such as gold
chocolate coins, ring lollypops, and candy necklaces to help round out the
theme and give the girls something fun to do. They can take home the candy from
the piņata in their very own princess goodie bags.

A Party Planner's Guide to the Best 4th of July Celebration Ever

If you are looking for something special to do for this year's 4th of July
celebration, throwing an awesome party can be both fun and rewarding for you,
your family, and your friends.

Ever since the first 4th of July celebrations in the late sixteenth century,
parades, festivals, feasts, and fun have been the norm. Today, a celebration
usually starts with a party at someone's home or a local park, and then ends up
with watching the community fireworks go off at the local community park.

If you would like to have a 4th of July party this year, the first thing that
you will want to decide on is the location you will have it at and the time
your party will start. While clean-up is much easier if you have your party at
a local park, there will be many other families trying to have their
celebrations at your local park as well. For this reason, you might choose to
have your party at your home and go to the park later in the evening to watch
the fireworks.

You will need to send out invitations to your 4th of July party as soon as you
know where it will be held. Your invitations are the first sign to your guests
of what your party may bring. By either printing or purchasing some theme
invitations you can start to set your party's theme even before the big day.
This will help your invited guests to begin to get excited about attending your
event.

Once you have your initiations you should fill them out by hand, or print them
on your computer, and make sure to include your phone number on them. In
addition, if your party will be held outside make sure you let your guests know
this so they can bring the appropriate clothing for the event.

Decorating for your 4th of July party can be one of the most fun parts to the
day for you. With a red, white, and blue patriotic theme you can really go all
out with streamers and Balloons. Your plates, cups, napkins and tablecloths can
be red, white, or blue or a nice combination of all of them. In addition, add
some American flags in appropriate areas to show your patriotism. Hanging a
large American flag near your front door or garage is a very appropriate thing
to do for the 4th of July.

The typical menu for a 4th of July celebration is hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on
the cob, deviled eggs, potato salad, and anything else you might have at a
family barbeque. For desert you can make a wonderful creation using red and
blue Jell-o or a simple white cake with red and blue icing.

No party is ever complete without some music, and the 4th of July is no
exception to this. However, mixed into your regular dance tracks should be some
more traditional patriotic American music as well. Songs such as "America the
Beautiful" and "The Stars and Stripes" are meant to be played on the 4th of
July and will be enjoyed by all.

Make sure that during the daytime hours you take some time out to take photos
of your guests in places such as in front of the American flag. These photos
can later be printed or e-mailed to your friends and family as mementos of the
day. In addition, they can be shared with loved ones who were not able to
attend the event itself.

A great ending to a 4th of July party is a trip downtown to your local
community park to watch the local fireworks. If your city or town allows it,
take some sparklers and safe fireworks with you for the kids to enjoy while you
wait for it to be dark enough for the bigger fireworks.

Most important of all is to enjoy your 4th of July celebration and remember
that it is about spending time with friends and family as well as the
independence of our country.

Party Planning Tips for a Successful Italian-American Dinner Party

Through the years, the Italian people have always been known for one special
thing, which could be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere -- their food! Italian
food is one of the most versatile and well loved throughout the world, and this
makes it the perfect candidate for the menu for a dinner party. In fact, rather
than simply use the Italian food for the party; you can use an entire Italian
theme to make your own Italian-American dinner party your guests will be
talking about for years to come. The best day to plan your Italian-American
dinner party is one in which your guests will have a long time to linger around
and enjoy all of the food you have to offer them. In Italy, this day of the week
is generally Sunday. The informal gathering usually starts around one, since
many people attend morning mass services, and doesn't end until the evening
time when it is time to take your children home to bed.

Your own Italian-American dinner party can be one of comfort and relaxation.
The focus should be on the food rather than on the table and room decorations.
Your tablecloth should be simple white linen and flowers for the table are
unnecessary. The best centerpieces are a bowl of nuts, some fresh breads,
dishes of grated locatelli or parmesan cheese, and simple crushed red pepper
flakes. Your dinner service can be your everyday dishes and even the
incorporation of simple plastic dinnerware for the children.

The beverage you will want to serve at your Italian-American dinner party is a
simple wine. Italian people enjoy wine with their meals and the wine is an
excellent compliment to the various Italian foods you will be serving. For
those guests who do not drink alcohol, consider having some soda and bottled
water available as alternatives.

The first course of food for your Italian-American dinner party should be an
antipasto made up of meats (ham, salami and prosciutto), marinated vegetables,
cheeses such as provolone and mozzarella, and roasted red peppers. Your
antipasto course can be served on a tray or mixed together in a bowl with an
Italian dressing poured over it.

The second course of food for your Italian-American dinner party should be a
simple Italian soup. The soup should be served in small bowls so that everyone
in attendance doesn't become too full to enjoy the next courses of your meal.

Generally after serving your antipasto and soup, then comes the main pasta and
tomato sauce dish. The most popular options for your pasta dish are homemade
ravioli, lasagna or manicotti served with a meat sauce which may or may not
include meatballs. To accompany your main dish you might choose to serve such
foods as sweet potatoes, artichokes, salads or string beans. While you want the
focus to be on your main dish, you also want your guests to have some variety to
choose from at all times. For your desert course at your Italian-American dinner
party, you should choose something from the following list: fresh in season
fruits, figs, cakes, cookies or an Italian pastry. Because your guests will
likely be very full, plan to serve desert at least one hour after the main
meal, and allow for it to be something light rather than something rich and
heavy.

It always amazes me that the above is the typical Sunday for most all Italian
families. How they manage to eat all of this food, week after week, and yet not
gain a lot of weight is a serious mystery to behold. However, for your once in a
while dinner party, a traditional Italian feast makes a wonderful, and simple,
menu which will be enjoyed by both the adults and children in attendance.

The most important thing you need to remember about hosting an Italian-American
dinner party is that it is all about your guests and the food, not about the
cleanliness and order in your home. Cook some good food, and enjoy your friends
and family.

A Professional Party Planner's Guide for Hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner Party

If you are looking to plan an amazing and memorable party for adult guests,
consider the idea of hosting a murder mystery dinner party. I have had the
pleasure of attending a murder mystery dinner party in the past, and I can tell
you that we all simply had a blast.

You may be wondering exactly what a murder mystery party is about. If so, I can
tell you that it was similar to a murder mystery dinner theater, except that we
as the guests were the actors rather than simply observers trying to figure out
who was the murderer. And, unlike professional dinner theater, all of the guests
had a much easier time communicating their clues to each other.

When you are planning your murder mystery party, you have two options as for
what to do about the storyline and characters. The first is that you can
attempt to create your own murder mystery. The second, and much more common, is
to purchase a kit from your local party store. The party kit will contain a
murder mystery story, a specific number of characters (depending on how many
people will be at your party), background information on the characters,
costume suggestions for guests, a package of clues for each guest, and usually
initiations to the party itself.

In addition, many kits come with a guide that you can follow to have a fun and
successful party; and some even come with gifts to give to the winners of the
game. Some guides let the party host know how the murderer is; other kits let
that be a surprise.

When you are throwing a murder mystery dinner party it is vital that all of
your characters attend and come on time as well. Let your guests know this
ahead of time and require a simple RSVP for the evening early enough in the
planning process that you can always find new characters to attend if you need
to. The worst thing that could happen is that your murderer will be absent from
the party -- and how horrible would that be!

Once you know for sure who will be attending your murder mystery dinner party,
then it is time to deliver to each person the information on who their
character is, their costume suggestions and their specific background story to
share with the other guests as part of the game. As the evening progresses your
guests will be providing each other with information which has come from your
kit.

It is common for a murder mystery dinner party to start out with each person
introducing their character. Then, between courses, each person will again
speak about their character and give hints which will be needed to solve the
murder mystery. When you run your dinner in this fashion, you can count on your
dinner lasting about two to three hours, and your mystery to be solved during,
or directly after, your desert time.

The murder mystery dinner party I attended was a mob hit in Italy. We came to
the party dressed as stereo-typical mob characters from the old days, and our
location was in a local Italian Restaurant. We had all of the characters you
can associate with the mob, and we shared our information and hints with each
other between courses. Our murder mystery dinner party lasted about three hours
and our murderer was given a small prize for the amazing acting they did that
night.

A murder mystery dinner party can be a great escape for you and your friends to
play one night while the kids are out of the house. The only real limitation on
the evening is your own imagination and that of your friends and relatives who
you invite. This is definitely an informal party and one which you will want to
invite everyone you know to attend -- especially the "odder" people in your
life. To your party!

A Professional Party Planner's Guide to Hosting a Cocktail Party

One of the most fashionable parties for adults these days to have are cocktail
parties. Even thought their popularity has fallen off over the last few
decades, cocktail parties have reappeared on the party scene and are now even
more fashionable than they ever were before.

While many adults in the United States today enjoy beer and wines, the mixed
drinks of the past are really starting to become more and more in vogue again.
Now days when you walk into a typical bar, you will see many more people
ordering mixed drinks than they have in the last decade or two. Some of the
most popular today is the apple martini, chocolate martini, dirty martini, and
the cosmopolitan.

One of the best things about planning a cocktail party is that they generally
only last a few hours. In addition, your guests will be wandering around
mingling and snacking rather than sitting around a table eating a full meal
with each other.
This makes the cocktail party perfect for inviting people who may or may not
already know each other.

One of the easiest things about planning a cocktail party is the fact that you
can have just about any menu your want, as long as the food is complementary to
the most popular mixed drinks that is. Guests who come to a cocktail party know
that they are only there to snack, have a drink or two, and mingle. Because of
this, you can supply a wide variety of finger foods and be confident that
everyone present will find something agreeable to them.

Here are some professional party planner's tips on hosting an amazing cocktail
party that everyone will remember and be talking about.

Tip #1 -- You will need way more ice for your cocktail party than you think you
will. The standard rule of thumb is to have about a pound of ice per guest who
will be in attendance. However, I believe even a bit more is advisable.

Tip #2 -- Different beverages are consumed from different glass styles. Make
sure that you have a large assortment of the appropriate glasses for your
guests. And, it is always a good idea to have many extras. If you will be
serving wine, it is a good idea to use wine glass charms so people will stick
to using their same glass throughout the night.

Tip #3 -- The most important part of your cocktail party planning is making
sure you have enough supplies on hand. The most important of these supplies is
your alcoholic beverages. A good bar should be stocked with the ingredients for
each of your friend's favorite drinks, or as a basic level at least those used
to make the most popular drinks of the day, plus beer and wine.

Tip #4 -- If you do not know anything about mixing drinks, you can always
enlist the skills of one of your friends or relatives to play bartender for the
evening; however, if you will be having a very large cocktail party then you
might want to consider hiring a professional bartender for the night. Many
local catering services will have bartenders who can work for you at your
party. They are not terribly expensive and do a wonderful job.

Tip #5 -- When you are hosting a party where alcohol is consumed, you should
always offer food and coffee to your guests as well as make sure they have a
designated driver to get them home safely. Please do not ever let your guests
drink and drive. It's not safe for them and the other people on the road. And,
it can also land you in jail if they get in an accident after drinking at your
home. It simply isn't worth it!

As you can clearly see, hosting a cocktail party is not complicated and can
offer you a wonderful excuse to have your friends and family over for an
evening of adult fun.

A Professional Party Planner's Guide to Classroom Parties

In my opinion, nothing can be more fun and challenging than planning an
elementary school classroom party. Whether the event is Halloween, Christmas,
Valentine's Day, Easter, or the end of the school year, you can use your
creativity and really have some fun in your planning. And, because your
attendees are all children, your efforts will not go unnoticed or unappreciated
as they can with adults.

The first thing you need to do is meet with the teacher and any other parents
who have offered to plan or help with the party. Before any planning can take
place, it is imperative that everyone be on the same page and understands what
the party will look like once it is all planned out. Good planning and
communication early in the process can go a long way towards heading off
potential problems later on.

The classroom teacher needs to let you know how much time will be allocated for
the party and at what time it will happen. In addition, the teacher will need to
let you know what roll she wishes to play in the party planning and in the event
itself. Some teachers prefer to let the parents handle the entire party from
planning to the big day, while others prefer to have more of a say and an
active roll in the planning and the party itself.

To plan the party itself, ask the teacher what foods they prefer be served.
Would they like to go with snacks? Healthy foods? Cupcakes and cookies? Find
out what is easiest and what will make the least amount of mess in the
classroom which will have to be cleaned up at the end of the party. When the
topic of purchasing food comes up, this is a good time to ask if the school can
provide anything for the party, if a collection will be taken up from each of
the families who have kids in the class, or it the parents will be paying for
it themselves. A lot of times the budget for the event will have a lot to do
with the planning for the party.

The next item for discussion is the activities, if any, for the party. Will the
children be playing games, making a fun craft project to take home, etc: One of
the most appreciated crafts around holiday times can be something that the kids
can make at school and then wrap and present to their parents as gifts for the
occasion. With some creativity this can be done relatively inexpensively.

If the teacher prefers to let the parents plan the party, the teacher can leave
the meeting and the parents can meet, or plan to meet again, to plan more of the
details of the day. While planning the party with other parents it is always a
good idea to make sure you have back-up plans incase one of the parents doesn't
do what they said that they would, or doesn't show up the day of the party.
Unfortunately, things like that do happen and it is just so much better to be
prepared for them ahead of time than to be caught on the day of the party
without supplies or enough people. With these professional party planning tips
you can make your children's parties the best in the school!

7 Professional Party Planner Tips for Clearing and Cleaning After a Large Meal

It is always fun to plan an elaborate party and see it come to life. However,
in addition to the pre-work of the party, afterwards always comes the drudgery
of the after meal clean-up, including clearing the table and washing up the
dishes. Here are some professional party planning tips for dealing with your
after meal clean-up and dish washing to help make your life a bit easier.

Tip #1 -- Devise a simple plan ahead of time on how you will deal with such
issues as storing your leftover food items, dishwashing, and trash disposal. If
you will be keeping leftover food items for your family to eat at a later time,
then make sure you have enough of the right sized bowls and platters to store
them on in your refrigerator. If you will be sending leftovers home with other
people take the time to purchase some appropriate disposable containers which
you can give to them and not have to worry about them being returned. For the
dishwashing component, decide ahead of your meal which items can go in your
dishwasher and which cannot. For your trash and recyclable items, have bags
inside containers placed at strategic locations around your home. Assign
someone to look at them from time to time and empty them when necessary.

Tip #2 -- One of the best things you can do to make your life easier post-meal
is to start off with a clean kitchen and refrigerator. The day before your
party take the time to clean out your refrigerator and remove all unnecessary
clutter from your kitchen and countertops. By doing this you will be able to
work on your counter tops and easily clean them. In addition, you will be able
to simply open the refrigerator to store things without having to move things
around to make room.

Tip #3 -- Another one of the best things you can do for yourself is to clean up
your dishes and messes as you are preparing the meal itself. Your goal should be
to sit down at the table with your guests, with as little waiting in the kitchen
to be cleaned up as possible. By doing this, you can ensure that the only dishes
which will have to dealt with are those which are sitting on your table.

Tip #4 -- Once your meal has concluded is the time where you should gather up
all of the dishes from the table, scrape them, start soaking them in water
while you continue to clear the table of leftovers, and then wash all of your
dishes either in the dishwasher or by hand. While it is always very tempting to
let the dishes sit until your guests have gone home, you will find the work is
much easier if you do it right away at the conclusion of the meal. While you
are clearing off the table gather up any leftovers and immediately put them
into containers and into your refrigerator for safety.

Tip #5 -- It is polite for people to ask to help clean-up after the conclusion
of a meal. Allow your friends and family to help you out. This will make your
clean-up go much quicker and smoother. It will also allow you to get back to
enjoying your company as soon as possible.

Tip #6 -- Your party day is not the time to deal too much with what goes in
your dishwasher and what you hand wash. Things which are dishwasher safe should
go in the dishwasher, and when it is completely full that is the time you should
start hand washing what is left. Hand washing while everything is soaking makes
it a very easy task, and your hand washed dishes can then rest on a drying rack
while you get back to your party and guests.

Tip #7 -- If you find a pot which is very miserable to wash and doesn't want to
come clean, let it soak overnight with a solution of baking soda and dish soap.
This will allow it to be easily cleaned the next morning.

While clearing the table and washing dishes is never the most fun part of a
party, it can be relatively simple and pain free when you incorporate the tips
above.

7 Party Planning Tips for Building Your Party Timeline

One of the best things that you can have when you are planning a party or event
of any size is a written party timeline and master shopping list. By making
yourself a good solid timeline and comprehensive list for shopping, you can
ensure that your party goes off without a hitch.

Here are seven tips from professional party planners to get you on the right
track in planning your shopping list and timeline:

Tip #1 -- No matter what the size of your event, if it is for children or
adults, a wedding or a simple birthday party, you must have a master shopping
list as well as a good timeline. Simply use a pen and paper and decide on how
long things will take you to do and start filling in your timeline. And, while
you are going through the process, this is the time to start a shopping list as
well.

Tip #3 -- Before you can start to build your timeline and shopping list, first
you must decide on where your party or event will be held and how many people
you will be inviting. If you will be using an event location or a restaurant,
you need to secure your space before moving along to do anything else.

Tip #3 -- Once you have secured your location for your party, then you can
start to build your lists. To start building your timeline think about the
things you will need to do before the party, such as send out your invitations.
If you will be having them custom printed you will need to allow extra time for
the printing before you can mail them out to your guests.

Tip #4 -- Now that you have your date and location secured, and you have
ordered your invitations, if necessary, then it is time to think about what you
will be doing at your party, what type of food and drinks will be on the menu,
and how long you want the party to last. Dedicate a single sheet of paper just
to your party day and list everything you will need to do, in order, by time.
For example, preparing food before guests arrive would be at the top of the
sheet of paper, while giving out party favors may be at the absolute bottom.

Tip #5 -- In addition to your timeline for the day of the party, you will also
want to formulate a timeline for the two weeks or so leading up to the event.
Here you will need to block out time for cleaning, shopping, decorating, etc:

Tip #6 -- As you do each of the steps above, you will start to develop a good
timeline and a great shopping and supplies list of things which you will need.
This will be a great help to you and can even help you to remember to pick up
things that you might otherwise have forgotten. In addition, you will also
start to see if there will be any conflicts in your timeline where you might
need to move a few things around or enlist the help of others.

Tip #7 -- Once you have your lists generated then it is time to stick to them
and make sure everything gets done. If you are finding that you have more work
to do than time to do it in, it is perfectly acceptable to ask other people to
help you with carious parts of the event. In fact, most people you will find
would be happy to help you.

If you will be hosting a party or event, the best thing you can possibly do for
yourself is to follow these tips, and others you hear from friends, and develop
yourself a good timeline and master shopping list. By writing things down, you
will much more clearly see what you need to do and what you will have time to
do yourself.

15 Professional Party Planning Tips for Corportate Events

One of the hardest events for most people to plan are corportate events. Even
smaller events, for less than a couple hundred people, can be a real challenge
if you are not a professional party planner. However, here are fifteen tips you
can use to make your corporate party or corproate event a success:

Tip #1 -- Always take the time to plan ahead. If you will be renting a special
venue you will need to secure it as far in advance as possible. Some places can
book up even a year in advance. By finding your venue early, and placing your
deposit, you can ensure that you get the venue that you want.

Tip #2 -- When you are planning a corporate event you need to set a very strict
working budget and then make sure that you have extra cash for the unexpected
expenses. You can be sure that every event will have some unexpected extra
expenses, that is just simply part of planning an event.

Tip #3 -- If you have contracts, agreements, lists, or seating charts, make sure
you keep extra copies of them incase they are misplaced or lost. Copying them
is very simple and quick and can really save you later on if you loose your
plans.

Tip #4 -- Make sure you send out your invitations at least 3 to 4 weeks ahead of
your event. In addition, make sure that you ask your guests to RSVP so that you
know how many people will be attending.

Tip #5 -- If you are creating a seating chart for your event, you can either set
it up completely randomly or work with someone else in your company to come up
with the best possible scenario.

Tip #6 -- If you want a good attendance at your event, it is a good idea to
schedule it earlier in the week or a long way away from any major holidays.
People tend to vacation over holidays and often have plans on weekends, making
Friday and Saturday bad days to have a business function.

Tip #7 -- It is important to know when to use a theme and when not to. A child's
birthday party is an appropriate time to use a theme, while a corportate event
requires much less of a theme and more plain elegance than anything else.

Tip #8 -- When you are having a business event, keep the music mellow and
something that everyone can enjoy.

Tip #9 -- If you will need equipment such as microphones, projectors, speakers, 
a video camera. etc: you want to make a list of the things you will need and make
sure that you also have someone on site who can fix any techincal problems which
may come up at the event.

Tip #10 -- When you are planning an event, especially a large event, make
emergency and contingency plans in case of disaster, illness, or any other
emergency.

Tip #11 -- It is important to take into account the special accommodations which
will be needed by any disabled attendees. If you do not know what someone will
need, you can always simply ask them. They will be happy that you cared enough
to ask and understand that you didn't have any other way to get the information.

Tip #12 -- If you are planning a very large event, you might want to take a
project management approach to it. Use a master plan, and delegate tasks to
others where you reasonably can.

Tip #13 -- If your event will be longer than two hours, your guests will expect 
at least a snack to eat. You should have a meal if your event is longer than 
four hours. At all times, you should have at least water and coffee available 
to your guests.

Tip #14 -- Communication is a major key to the success of an event. If you are
using vendors, make sure they have very clear and specific instructions of what
you are expecting of them.

Tip #15 -- Whenever you plan an event, make sure you take things like
transportation, parking, etc: into the equation. The last thing you want is for
your guests to have to walk a long way to the event or to go home because they
couldn't find a place to park.






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