Tip Me Monday

Party Planning Tips

I have NOT become a bit obsessed with party planning.
I may have even NOT missed out on quality sleep to write out 3 party planning tips.
1. Get Inspired
You can always theme your child's party around something they love but there is a fear that they will have grown out of that phase by the time the party arrives. I think it can be just as fun to theme around certain colors, a specific image/fabric or even the time of year.
I began brainstorming Renn's 3rd birthday the moment his second birthday ended. Trains? Cars? Kai Lan? But, instead I am came across this image, through a blog, that inspired me.
I love the colors, clean lines and the simplicity of these cookies. BAM! My brain took off themeing a ABC&123 Party (since he is going to be 3!!) with this look in mind. I began googling "abc", "123", "blocks", etc... I always check in the "images" section of my browser which then leads me to the specific web site where the picture is stored. I save the images and website in an "ABC Party folder" in my bookmarks and that allows me to have every idea stored together where I can access it as I create the inspiration board, need to plan purchases, crafts, etc.
Once I have 10-12 images that range from invitation, decor, party favor, food and activity station ideas I begin creating an inspiration board that keeps me focused on the theme. It is always tweakable!
The inspiration board helps you communicate the vision of your party in pictures. It is a great tool if you are going to enlist the help of others to create your invitation or even have friends help you with decorations.The above board is one I did for a friend with a November birthday girl. 

2. Plan Ahead
My friends are literally laughing at me that I am almost done with the inspiration phase for both my kids birthday parties that are not till February and April of 2011. I will tell you the main reason I like to have a plan for the party as early as possible: 
IT KEEPS COSTS AS LOW LOW AS POSSIBLE!!! Who doesn't want that?
By knowing what my game plan is as early as possible I can be on the look out for clearance items at my favorite stores such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, Marshalls and Target that fit with my theme. I rarely, if ever, pay full price for anything.  Unless it is a MUST have/can't live without it item then there is always a sale option. You just have to exercise patience. 
Jumbo Butterfly Mirror
I really want this...but never getting it unless the price looks very different!
Image from Pottery Barn Kids
Besides keeping costs low planning ahead helps my stress level leading up to the party. As long as I keep up with the timeline everything is done well ahead of party day and I have delegated to friends and family that are always more than willing to help. I plan by room or area. Meaning I write out what the decor or food or activity needs to be in each space from the front walkway to the backyard. Not only does this help me know what needs to happen in each space it again helps with delegation (do you see a theme here?). After I have made my plan for each space I am easily able to create my shopping list, breaking  up online purchases and local store purchases. I never feel a mad rush to buy everything in a week because I buy little bits at a time. Again, a budget saver.
3. Take Advantage of Resources
One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that people love to share, especially when it comes to their skills and talents. So if you feel like you are without the creative gene (which I believe EVERYONE actually does have) have no fear the web and blog world is here to help you. I am overwhelmed by the amount of inspiration that comes from web-sites. Here is my top ten eleven list.
Invitations/Design - Fresh Chick Designs
Sheer Brilliance - Kate Landers Events
Inspiration - Bella Grace Party Design
Resources - Design Dazzle
Craftiness - Tip Junkie
Creative Genius - Pen n Paper Flowers
Excellent Tips & Tricks - P is for Party
Pretty Things - One Charming Party
Everything and the Kitchen Sink - Kara's Party Ideas
Practical Helpers - Frost me
Handmade Amazingness - Etsy
And last but not least, as I referenced above, don't be afraid to ask for help. I have a friend that simply enjoys making cupcakes. She is already on board to make the below beauties in all white for Avery's Butterfly Garden 1st Birthday Party.
I have a friend who enjoys photography, it is not her profession (yet!), but she is more than willing to get experience by shooting my kids parties.
Think you are not crafty? I bet you have a friend who is that would love to have a girls night and help you make tissue paper poms and eat popcorn.
The bottom line is enjoy the process. It's is party, it is supposed to be fun, right?
Got a party planning tip? I would love to hear what works for you.

P.S. - I have a fun little giveaway going on right now.

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Amy H. (August 30, 2010 at 7:47 AM)  

Perfect ideas! I am so excited to be in the trenches of planning Bean's party, SO FUN! Thanks for sharing...

Happy party planning!

Lindsey {Bella Grace Party Designs} (August 30, 2010 at 8:44 AM)  

Thank you so much for the shout out and your kind words!

Anne (August 30, 2010 at 11:22 AM)  

Great ideas, Carey -- thanks for sharing.

Eric B –  (August 30, 2010 at 3:10 PM)  

Now the WHOLE world knows how amazing my wife is. I LOVE Carey!

Tucker –  (August 31, 2010 at 6:51 AM)  

Great ideas! So proud of you and the person you have become : )

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