Archive | Party Decor

My 5 Step Party Planning Process

Sorry it’s been a bit longer since I posted last, but I’ve been dealing with a sick toddler 🙁 It’s not fun taking care of your baby when they have a fever and don’t feel good, although, I do secretly like all of the extra cuddles we’ve been getting.  Hopefully, she’ll be back to her active, happy self soon and we can both get back into our regular routine.

Today’s post is all about the planning process.  This is the part that I love about entertaining!  If you don’t love to do this, or don’t know how to plan for a party, I’m confident my 5 step party planning process will give you the start you need.

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How true is this quote when it comes to party planning?  So true, right?  You want to have a party or get together or invite people over for dinner so you have to do something about it now.  That’s planning.  Now, everyone talks about party planning, how they love to do it, but what does it actually entail?  There are a lot of ways to go about planning for an event, but these 5 easy steps are the main things that have to be done to “bring the future into the present.”

One major part of the process is to make lists or to have a central place to write down things or gather thoughts and information about what you’re planning for.  I’ve made a great printable to help you do that.  All you have to do to get it is to subscribe here.  Once you do that, the printable you see in this post will be emailed right to you so you can get started planning your Halloween party, or if you are way ahead of the game start planning for Thanksgiving or a Christmas party.

The Daily Hostesses 5 Step Party Planning Process:

1. Select Theme/Date/Time/Location

The first thing I always do when planning a party is decide what kind of party it is, then when and where it’s going to be.  Are you throwing a house warming party, a kid’s birthday, a holiday party, or a game night?  It helps to know the general theme of your party so you can plan everything else to be cohesive with your theme.  You also need dates and times so you have a goal to work towards.  I was planning for my blog launch party on the printable included in the post below.

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2. Figure out guest list and potential number of people

The next step in the process is to make a guest list and get a general idea of how many people are going to be attending.  The people attending make the party fun so that’s why this step is pretty high on the list of things to do!  It also helps to determine how many people will potentially be attending because you can’t adequately do the next step without having some solid numbers to prepare for.  Remember when you got married and your caterer or venue was constantly hounding you about how many people were coming and finalizing your guest list?  It’s because you can’t buy food, drinks, or figure out how many chairs you need unless you know how many mouths and behinds will be there.

I like to be specific when making my guest list, writing out each guest’s name and how many will be attending in their party.  The printable also has a spot to check off if you’ve sent an invitation and what the guest’s RSVP is, so you can keep track of exactly who is going to be attending.

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3. Make a menu and grocery list

Let’s be honest, food is a pretty big part of any gathering you’re hosting, even if the event isn’t centered around food.  No matter what the event is, most guests will appreciate some sort of something to eat or nibble on.  My general rule is to make/buy/order more food than you think you will need.  Who doesn’t love leftovers?  If you don’t, send everything home with your guests.  It will help with your clean up and your guests will get an extra parting gift.  There was a birthday after-party at my house a few years ago, and I didn’t adequately plan that fairly intoxicated people would be hungry late at night so I ended up making grilled cheese sandwiches at 3:00 in the morning because that’s all we had on hand.  I hope you don’t ever have to do that, so be sure to get more food than you’d think was necessary.

When it comes to food, if you are making the dishes make sure it’s something you are comfortable making, possibly a recipe you’re familiar with and have made before.  That way you’ll be less stressed preparing for your gathering.  If you are purchasing food or getting catering ensure you ask a lot of questions and are thorough in knowing what is included.  If you’re having a taco bar for example, are hard and soft taco shells included?  What about all the toppings, cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, etc.?

There is also an area on the printable to make a short grocery list that’s divided up into various categories like produce, meat, dairy, and frozen so you’ll be in and out of the store in a breeze.

4. Make a party design and figure out what needs to be DIYed and what needs to be bought

This next step of the process is where your creative juices can really start flowing.  Decorating or designing your party may not seem like a very important part of the party, but more often than not guests will appreciate how the party looks just as much as how much fun they’re having.  Once again, try to stay consistent with your theme so everything from the food to the decor flows.  I like to draw up plans of how the table will look, or where the flowers will go.  This has helped tremendously when getting ready for a party because I can just hand my husband the plan and he can easily see where to hang things or how to arrange furniture while I’m working on something else.  My biggest tip when it comes to decorating or designing a party is to have a main focal point.  One large focal point will clearly identify what you’re party theme is and it makes more of an impact than small items strewn about here and there.  It also makes it easy to put all of your efforts and energy preparing for your party into one large area to decorate or design.

You can see below how I drew a rough sketch of where I wanted decor around our TV for the blog launch party and how I wanted the table to look.  Please don’t judge, I’m obviously not an artist!  I also include an area to list out decor to DIY, to buy, and any decor you already have on the printable.

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5. Make a timeline to prepare for the party

You can do all of the planning process, but if you don’t set some goals of when you plan to accomplish tasks, you’ll be stuck scrambling to get everything done.  Making a timeline can seriously ease your party planning stress.  I like to do a few things everyday leading up to the event that way it’s spread out and not overwhelming as the event date gets closer.  If you plan to make any decor yourself, make sure you allot yourself enough time to get those things done, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before.  My typical timeline includes diying decor a week or two before the event, purchasing food (unless you are using catering, that requires more lead time) the week of the event so everything is fresh, and a day or two before the event cleaning the house or space that will be used.  You can even break your timeline down more specifically for the day of the event.  For example, decorate by noon, get all food prepared by 3:00, set out drinks by 5:00, then all you have to do is wait for your guests to arrive because everything is done.

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So that’s the process.  What do you think, is it manageable?  Do you do any of these steps already?  Do you think this printable will be helpful when planning your next event?  If so, don’t forget to go here, scroll down and subscribe to the blog to receive the printable free.

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How To: Make a Fake Chalkboard

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DSC_0492Don’t you just love fall?  Yes, I’m one of those silly people that loves when the air starts to get a little crisp, but the days are warm, pumpkin flavor/smells, the changing of leaves, and the coziness of the season.  Fall is my favorite season, unfortunately living in southern California we don’t get the full affect of the season, but it’s still nice when the weather starts to cool off a bit.  This summer has been unusually hot, so I’m welcoming cooler temps with open arms.

Because it’s been so hot lately, I haven’t been motivated to decorate for fall, but this past weekend it wasn’t 90 degrees so I made myself get out the pine cones and pumpkins.  I wanted to change out some of our dining room art by putting up something more fall themed, so I made a “fake” chalkboard.  It’s really easy to do and it’s so versatile.

DSC_0490The biggest trick to faking a chalkboard is to use either a piece of black poster board or black foam board.  I always stock up on poster board and foam board at my local dollar store because it’s usually a dollar or less.  The only other things you’ll need to fake a chalkboard is a pencil and some chalk.

DSC_0484I always use Pinterest to get some chalkboard and lettering inspiration.  If you’re not following me on Pinterest, be sure to check out all of my boards.  Once I have a general plan of what I want to do, I mimic the design using a pencil, that way if you need to redo it you can always erase it and try again.  One tip I would offer is that if you are using a foam board be sure not to press too hard with the pencil.  Doing so will leave an indent that will be hard to get rid of if you mess up.  And if you push too hard the chalk won’t fill in the indention very well, which you’ll be able to see in some of the photos below.

DSC_0468Once you’ve got your design penciled in, just trace over it with chalk.  Be sure to try different techniques; you can make a shaded look by rubbing the chalk on it’s side.  More defined lines can be done by using the tip of the chalk.  If you want to try different kinds of chalk check out this post by Emily at Jones Design Company.

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DSC_0475Like I said, I made some fairly deep indentions with my pencil so the chalk doesn’t fill them in very well.  The good thing is that once I hung it on the wall you could barely tell, thank goodness.  Hanging it on the wall is super easy too, since it’s really light you could just tape it up or use some Command strips.

DSC_0482These “fake” chalkboards are great for so many different things.  Seasonal decor, signs, banners, menus, the list goes on and on.  The best part is that they are so easy to make you can make one for every occasion.

What would you use them for?  Are you glad cooler temps are here?  I’m looking forward to enjoying some fall festivities this weekend with a little apple picking, unfortunately it’s supposed to be in the 90’s again this weekend.  I guess fall is just taking it’s sweet time to show up this year.  Have a great weekend!

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Tablescape Tuesday: Pink and Gold 1st Birthday Celebration

In the Tablescape Tuesday series, I show you options to dress up your tables. It could be your dining room table, coffee table, gift table, or buffet table. I think putting a little extra effort into how a table looks and is designed can make your guests’ experience so much better. Hopefully every Tuesday you’ll be inspired by simple ways to make your tables beautiful.

For this week’s installment, I’ll be talking about my daughter’s first birthday food and favors table. There wasn’t a specific theme to her party but I knew that I wanted it to have a gold, pink, and coral color scheme with some crowns thrown in for good measure.

Pinterest Graphic-Pink and Gold BirthdayThere’s also a bonus at the end of the post!  I’m over at my friend Tiffany’s facebook blog The Club Mom talking fun Tuesday tips involving a baby item and champagne glasses.  Hmmmmm, wonder what it could be?!  Be sure to check out her blog and like her page for awesome funnies, fails and super deals! Follow Tiffany’s family’s obsession with shopping club warehouses for products and deals they create a need for!  Plus, Tiffany is so funny so you’ll definitely get a giggle anytime you read one of her posts. 

DSC_0439The food and cake table area resembled the theme the most so I made a large backdrop to define that area as the focal point.

For the base of the food and cake table scape I used a gold colored cloth tablecloth from Party City. They have these great tablecloths that are a really good quality, they are pretty much the same quality as renting from a party rental company, and you get to keep them afterwards. I just wish they were long enough to go all the way to the floor, but I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it to #seewhatididthere. To ump the gold sequined factor I layered a gold door way curtain on top of the table cloth.

To make the backdrop I bought really inexpensive crepe paper streamers in coordinating colors from Paper Mart online. I just taped them to the top of the pergola behind the food table.   The wide crepe paper streamers are so versatile! You could make really awesome fringed garlands with this tutorial from Oh Happy Day.

DSC_0436On the table, I made sure to use different levels to display things like plates, napkins, and the cake. To add some height I just wrapped some empty boxes with color coordinating wrapping paper. I set plates and napkins on different height cake stands, and put silver ware in color coordinating lanterns I found at Target’s dollar spot. I love the dollar spot, you can find some awesome party décor there that’s super cheap.

There are so many ways to add height to a table; empty boxes, stacked books, tiered serving trays, or crates. Get creative and look around your house for things you never would have thought could work for a party, but I bet they will.

DSC_0441 2For the favor table I used some leftover coral colored fabric I had on hand that I had previously used for my daughter’s crib skirt. Then I put the yummy mini lemon cake favors on some gold chargers that I got at Wal-Mart forever ago to corral them and wrapped them up in some cellophane bags with pink ribbon. I also used a gold picture frame to add a sign to the table welcoming guests and reminding them to take their favors with them. To go along with the crown theme, I made some lace crowns using this tutorial from girl. Inspired. It was kind of a long process to get the lace to stiffen, but they turned out so cute, and our kiddie guests loved them!

And I couldn’t resist showing you all a picture of the birthday girl loving her birthday cake!

DSC_0482What do you think of the gold and pink tablescapes? How do you add height to your tablescapes?

Don’t forget to click here to check out a fun tip using a baby item and champagne glasses over on my friend Tiffany’s facebook page.  It’s sure to help you clean up from your next celebration!

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The Inaugural Address

Welcome to The Daily Hostess!  I figured for my first ever blog post I’d make it really official by deeming it an inaugural address and showing you some pretty red, white, and blue Memorial Day party decor.  Don’t worry I’m not trying to get all political #justaplayonwords.

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When thinking about what an inaugural address is I came across descriptions like a formal ceremony.  The president is supposed to use the inaugural address to inform the country of his intentions, so I thought it was fitting to inform you of my intentions with this blog. I believe that by setting expectations early it always proves for a more successful outcome, and I’ve seen this first hand in the Navy.

So, what are my intentions with this blog you ask? Well, first and foremost I want to inspire you. I love planning parties, making things pretty and special then inviting people into my home to share that with them. If you don’t like throwing parties or having people over maybe I can convince you that it’s not so bad and provide you with some encouragement and fun ideas along the way. If you love the same things I do, then I hope to inspire you to expand your horizons and push your creative boundaries.

I want this to be a place of inspiration, encouragement, and a celebration. You’ll see posts about how to make every day things a little extra special, the party planning process, home décor, hosting guests of all walks of life, and maybe a few random thoughts thrown in for good measure.  I’ve done my fair share of home entertaining and I want to show you fun ways to host a wine party, dinner party, or a cookie exchange.  Maybe you have a pool and are throwing a summer pool party.  Let me give you some great ideas to make your party extra special.

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To kick off the summer this year my husband and I hosted a Memorial Day Pool Party.  We broke out the red, white, and splashed in the blue of our backyard pool.  To make the party truly a Memorial Day celebration we hung the American flag from our pergola using some extra rope we had lying around in the garage and a curtain rod that’s not in use in the house.  If you don’t have an extra curtain rod, no worries, use anything that can slip through the opening on the flag.  How about  a broom handle, semi straight stick from the yard, or take down the curtains from a room you know the guests aren’t going to be in and use that.  Just remember to shut the door to the room if you don’t want anyone to see your naked windows.

When our guests needed to lounge we provided them when some appropriately themed beach towels and a pillow to rest their head.  We grabbed the towels from Costco just a couple of days before the party.  I love them because they are HUGE (the towels are even bigger at Costco) and super absorbent.  I tried to stick with the red, white, and blue theme without being too kitschy.  Those red striped pillows can also be seen around here at Christmas time.

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I love using thrifted silver trays to hold all the necessities of the drink station.  Plus it keeps the cups from touching possibly dirty outdoor surfaces, bonus!

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After that patriotic post I just want to say that this is the official opening of The Daily Hostess and the beginning of a new adventure.  Grab a glass of champagne, get inspired, and come celebrate with me on the journey and see where it takes us. I’m excited!

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Celebrating everyday!