Archive | Party Planning

How to Make a Party Guest List

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when trying to keep track of your party guests?  I’m not talking about at your party, but figuring out who’s coming, who’s bringing what, what time they’re coming, and all of those other little things.  

Today I’m going to give you a few tips and details to help you keep track of all of that stuff and show you how I make a party guest list.

Track your party guest list with this spreadsheet, guest list categories, how to make a guest listFirst, I love a good spreadsheet, but doing this with pen and paper works too.  Find whatever method will help you remember to write things down and be able to refer to it often. Maybe keep it in a handy place so it’s easy to get to leading up to your party.

Guest List Categories

Next, here are some column headings that are necessary to track your guests if you are using a spreadsheet.  If you aren’t using a spreadsheet, these categories will definitely help you make a guest list for your party. 

  • Name
  • Contact Information (phone number, address, email, etc.)
    • This is good information to have in case you are mailing invitations or thank you cards.  It’s also great to reference if you need to call a guest before the party to get their RSVP information or ask them to help pick up a bag of ice on the way to your party. <- This always seems to be the one thing we need right before a party. 
  • Invitation Sent
    • I recommend just using a checkmark or X to indicate whether you’ve sent the invitation.
  • RSVP
    • In this column I typically indicate whether the guest is coming with a simple Yes or No.  Does anyone else feel like we’ve gotten away from RSVPing to the host?  I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to commit to coming to your party or letting you know if they can’t.  A simple text would be fine, it’ so important to let the host know that you’re coming, so just do it!
  • Total Numbers
    • This column is where I like to break out exactly how many people are coming.  Mostly, separating adults and children.  Obviously, young children don’t eat as much as adults, so that plays a key role in how much and what kind of food to purchase and prepare.
  • Food
    • This section of your tracker may be fairly extensive, but it’s flexible depending on the type of party you’re having.  If you are having a pot luck, this is a great way to track what everyone is bringing.  If you’re providing the food, there’s really no need to include this section.  For a wedding or seated dinner, it’s a great idea to ask what choice your guest wants and track it in this area.  Keep in mind to use this section to track any allergies or food restrictions your guests may have to certain foods.
  • Gift Received
    • This section is great to include in your tracker if you’re having a wedding shower, baby shower, bridal shower, or birthday party.  Tracking what gifts you have received will help you to write the proper thank you card.
  • The last category to include in your tracker is a Thank You Card column.
    • This area is where you’ll track if you’ve written and delivered thank you cards to your guests that brought you a gift.  It’s only appropriate to send a thank you card.  Now you’ll be able to remind yourself by referring to the tracker you made.

These are all things that you are probably already doing, but sometimes just tracking people can be overwhelming.  Hopefully, you’ve found a category that you maybe haven’t thought of before.  If so, plan to add it to your guest list tracking system the next time you’re hosting a party.  

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Party Prep Tips and a FREE Party Set-Up Timeline

Happy Monday friends! How are you adjusting to the time change? I was so tired yesterday! I hope you’ve recharged a bit.   How about a free printable to help you get ready for your party faster and I promise it won’t tire you out?

Click here for a free Party Set-Up Timeline printable, set up your party starting a week before the event.I find that anytime you search for a timeline or guide to help plan a party, everything you find doesn’t give enough detail for what to do right before the party. I always find timelines that are months and weeks ahead of a party. But what about those of us that tend to wait until the last minute to get ready to celebrate?  Or just need to know what to do once the guests have been invited?

I like to have a to do list for each day and hour leading up to the event. Today, I’m going to help you do the same. I’m also going to give you some awesome tips that will help you get your party ready and be done before your guests arrive. No more rushing around when your doorbell rings.

One Week

By the time your event is a week away, you’ve probably already decided on a theme, invited guests, and have a plan for food, drinks, and decor. So now you need to start executing your plan.

One week before the event, purchase or start making your party décor. This will give you enough time to make homemade decor and not feel rushed to get it done.

If you plan on purchasing helium balloons, place the order now. Schedule to pick the balloons up a few hours before your event.

Four Days

Four days before your event is all about the food. By this point you’ve nailed down your menu and made grocery lists. So, purchase groceries and all the things you’ll need for drinks.

Once you’re home, be sure to prepare your food for the party. If things need to be washed, cut, or stored specifically for your party do it now to save you time closer to your event.

Two Days

A couple days before your event you’ll want to start preparing your event space. To do this cut and arrange flowers if you’re using them. Start decorating your tablescape or food/drink buffet area. This step is crucial because you’ll need it set up now to prepare for other steps in the days leading up to your event.

This is also a great time to set out anything on your table or food station that isn’t going to go bad in two days. Things like plates, cups, napkins, serving ware, flatware, and platters.

One Day

The day before your event is exciting! But there is a lot of work to do. First you’ll want to start making any of the food you’re preparing yourself. If it doesn’t have to be freshly cooked prepare it today.

Storage containers, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap are your friend. Wrap up your prepared food and store it in your refrigerator until the big day. You’ll have time to assemble and finalize recipes later, so use this time to do as much prep cooking as possible.

Once you’ve gotten your food prepared, it’s time to clean your event space. I highly recommend using this method to clean for guests. You don’t have to get carried away cleaning, focus on the areas that your guests will spend the most time. Typically, around the food and drinks, any sort of activity areas, and be sure to clean your most used bathroom.

Night Before

Are you ready for one of my biggest tips to party planning? The night before your event, label your platters and serving ware. It will save you so much time and energy. It also helps you plan out your table and spacing of food and everything else that needs to be on your table.

Click here for a free Party Set-Up Timeline printable, set up your party starting a week before the event.Click here for a free Party Set-Up Timeline printable, set up your party starting a week before the event.This is also a great way to help anyone that’s helping you. If you hand your husband a bag of chips and ask him to put it on the table, he’ll clearly see the bowl labeled chips and guess what? Those chips will be in the exact spot you want them to be. Amazingly reducing the amount of rework you’ll have to do.

Also the night before is a great time to put up all of your party décor. Doing so now will free up so much time the day of your event. It’s also a great way to see how well your décor is going to hold up. If you put everything up the night before and it has all fallen down by the morning you’ll know that you’re going to have to try some new ways to keep it up throughout your party.  Use this method to have everything you need handy and avoid running around after tape and scissors.

Four Hours

Whohoo, it’s the day of your event! Let’s get ready to party! At this point you are ready to go. Décor’s done, most of the set up is done, guests are on their way, now to put the finishing touches on your party.

It’s time to get all of that pre-prepared food together. This is the time to start putting salads together, mixing all your ingredients for dips, assembling sandwiches, or decorating a cake. It’s so much easier because you’ve prepped everything the day before.

If you have food that needs to be baked or cooked do it now, so all you have to do is warm it up later.

This is also a great time to set up your dessert bar or buffet. It’s plenty of time for your cake, cupcakes, or cookies to not get dry or melt. If you have desserts that need to stay cold, be sure to wait to put them out.

Two Hours

A couple hours before your party you should have almost all of your food taken care of, décor done, and desserts ready. It’s the perfect time to touch up any cleaning that you did the day before. Whether that be giving your bathroom a once over, fluffing your couch pillows, or cleaning up any messes in the kitchen.

It’s also a great idea to make sure all of your trashcans are empty and ready to be used at the party. Another great tip is to label your trashcans, especially if you plan on recycling. Cleaning recyclables out of a trashcan is not fun to do after a party.

One Hour

One of the last things to get ready is the drinks. Do this about an hour before the party so drinks are cold and ice hasn’t melted yet.

Also be sure you have plenty of cups, straws, glasses, and a way to label individual glasses. Great options are a sharpie on plastic cups, wine charms or these drink labels.

30 Minutes

Now, right before your party you’re going to want to just put the finishing touches on everything. This is when you’ll want to pull out any food that has had to be cold or warm up any food that needs to be warm.

It’s a great idea to use your oven on a low temperature setting, a warming drawer, or use a chafing dish with a warming flame under it.

Finally, my favorite part of party set up, is enjoying how your party and house looks before all of your guests arrive. It’s a great time to take a few pictures of all of your hard work. Let’s be honest, your house probably doesn’t usually look this good, right?!

Congrats!  You’re ready to party!

Here’s a handy dandy printable to help you remember all of the things you need to do leading up to your party. Putting these steps in place will definitely help you be ready for your party more quickly and be set to go before your guests arrive.  Just click the picture below to download a copy for yourself.

Click here for a free Party Set-Up Timeline printable, set up your party starting a week before the event.

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March Party Round Up

Happy Hump Day, Ash Wednesday, and the day after Mardi Gras!  So much to celebrate today!  Because it’s the first of the month, I’m doing a quick round up off all the potential celebrations coming up this month.  It’s a big month, so let’s get to it.

First, the whole month is dedicated to women’s history, and International Women’s Day is on March 8th.  You know I couldn’t really find a party that celebrates this day or month, so I may just have to throw one myself.

How fun would it be to host a girls day with a historical flair celebrating strong women in history who’ve done great things?  I’m thinking a ladies lunch where each place setting is named after a women in history with some interesting facts about her.  Or you could have a spa day with all of your girlfriends.  Or have a sleepover with your girl friends and watch some historical movies about women.

Next up is of course St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.  It’s such an interesting holiday for all ages, right?  Adults get to drink a lot of green beer and kids wear green to school and almost have permission to pinch anyone who isn’t in green.  Weird!

This St. Patrick’s Day party speaks to both the adults and the kids with just the right amount of green.  I love the ideas on dressing up the cupcakes and desserts with gold coins and shamrocks.

Shortly after St. Patrick’s Day is the first day of Spring on March 20th.  Who isn’t ready for spring and warmer temperatures?  I know I am, unfortunately, we had snow yesterday.  Oh Colorado!

I found two really fun Spring Fling parties that would be a great reason to celebrate spring.  They both have a ton of bright colors and fun ideas.

This party has a lot of little spring details that are great, and I’m loving that spring fling banner.  How about that faux grass to really dress up this food station?  It totally screams spring!

This brightly colored party is perfect for spring.  That Spring backdrop is entirely made of jelly beans!  How cool, and cost effective, right? I also love that this party incorporates flowers by planting some in those little terracotta pots.  That would be the perfect favor for your guests at your spring fling party.

Lastly, this party isn’t technically in March since the finals are scheduled for April 1-2, but March Madness is a great thing to celebrate this month.  I love that this party is geared towards girls with plenty of orange colors, basketball themed snacks, and the most adorable EOS lip balm party favor.  Be sure to click the link to get the download and make your own favors.  How great is that chalkboard bracket too?

I thought I’d throw in a monthly recipe for March too.  Green onions and leeks are really in season now, and leeks are something I’ve only cooked with one time.  They were really good when I did, so I’m excited to try this recipe too.  Click on the photo caption to get the full recipe, but I love that it’s a one pan meal that only takes about 30 minutes.

What do you plan on celebrating this month?  I’d love to hear so post in the comments or let me know on Instagram with the hashtag, #thedailyhostess, on leave a comment on my Facebook page.

 

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Party Color Scheme Inspiration: Flamingo Party

“Let’s Flamingle!” It’s Friday!  I’m starting a new series today where I’ll be planning a hypothetical party around a color scheme.  Hopefully you’ll get some great ideas of how to incorporate food, decor, and activities, using a color scheme to tie them all together.

Here’s the fun and flirty color scheme that I think screams flamingos.

Flamingo Birthday Party Inspiration with a pink, purple, and blue color scheme.I love the mix of pink and purple with teal blues.  My daughter is obsessed with flamingos right now, so that’s the first thing I thought of when I first saw this color scheme.  Why not use it to plan a fun flamingo birthday party?  These are the perfect colors for a little girl or even a grown lady who has a love for those pink birds!

Flamingo Birthday Party Inspiration

Here are a few inspiration pictures to get your creative juices flowing.

I love this fun birthday dessert table and how the balloon arch perfectly incorporates the colors from the color scheme.  The balloon arch has so much more dimension because they aren’t all the same size.  The use of the palm leaves also gives quite the tropical flair.

This fun little girls party has a base of the blue from our color scheme with touches of pink throughout.  I love the quirky names of all the food at this party, so click through to read them.  They’re pretty funny!

Menu Ideas

To carry the flamingo theme throughout, I’d recommend offering at least one shrimp dish.  I mean that’s what gives flamingos their pink color, right?!  How about a grilled shrimp kabob, or a shrimp po’boy sandwich?  Both would be delicious.

I think this kind of party is perfect for the summertime so keeping the menu on the lighter side is a great idea.  Things like pasta salad, fruit salad, grilled corn, or grilled summer vegetables.

For dessert, a cute pink cake with a plastic flamingo cake topper would be perfect.  To round out a dessert table, I’d add pink and purple or blue cotton candy, or “flamingo fluff”.  You could also include candies in the coordinating colors, or custom flamingo cookies.  If you want to diy your dessert, make a quick batch of cupcakes from a box and top with pink frosting.  Or use some of these ideas to top store bought cupcakes.

I don’t think there is a more perfect drink to go with this flamingo birthday than pink lemonade.  I’m planning on making this recipe this weekend and will let you know how it turns out.  Any sort of pineapple based cocktail is also a great idea.  And flamingo drink stirrers are a must.

Flamingo Party Decor Ideas

Obviously, decor for this flamingo birthday party is going to be done using the colors from our color scheme inspiration.  Things like balloons and streamers are easy to find in these colors.

Other areas to include our color scheme would be on the dessert table, like in our first inspiration photo.  Make sure whatever vessel you use to hold cupcakes, candies, or cookies are pink, purple, or teal.

Don’t overlook making a great tablescape either.  How fun would a teal colored tablecloth or table runner be with some plastic pink yard flamingos as the centerpiece be?  Super fun, easy, and probably pretty cheap to do.  You also can’t go wrong with a great floral centerpiece.  I’d recommend using pink flowers in a teal blue ball mason jar and then for fun add in some purple or teal colored feathers.

Kara’s Party Ideas

Flamingo Birthday Activities

Coming up with ideas of how to entertain kids and adults at parties can be quite daunting.  I generally follow the rule that people will spend most of their time conversing with each other, so games or activities aren’t necessary.

However, there are some great themed activities that would go perfectly with this flamingo birthday party.  I love the idea of using a pink yard flamingo as a game of ring toss.  Just try to get the ring around the flamingo’s neck.  Or another option would be to hold a “minute to win it” challenge of balancing on one leg, like a flamingo.

What do you think of this new series?  It’s really fun for me to plan a hypothetical party, and I love the color inspiration because it leaves so many options!  Do you want to have a flamingo birthday party now?  I’m pretty sure I do!

Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to come back next week to see all about the fun party I’m hosting this weekend!

 

 

 

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How I Meal Plan + FREE Meal Planning Calendar

Recently a good friend of mine sent me an email asking for recipe ideas to share with her group of friends as a way to help everyone get out of a dinner time rut.  In the email, she called me out about how I meal plan and that I’ve “got all of my s*** together” because I meal plan.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it did spur the idea to share my meal planning secrets with all of you.

So here are a few tips to help with meal planning and how I typically create a meal plan that lasts almost three weeks!  Plus, you’ll get a great meal planning calendar for yourself.

Get a free weekly menu planning calendar and all the tips to help get your weekly dinners organized!First, I start by writing out a calendar for two weeks (bonus! Just download the one I made for you at the bottom of this post!), only planning dinners.  Then I start to fill in dinner ideas on various days.  I get a lot of dinner inspiration from Pinterest, see all of my dinner ideas here. I also ask my husband if he has any requests and he usually provides an idea or two.  Then I fill in what’s left with past dinners that were a big hit.

A couple tips, first, plan meals that are produce heavy towards the beginning of your two week meal plan.  This way you can use the produce before it goes bad.

I always leave one to two days empty.  Something usually comes up that fills up dinner for a night, or we’ll do leftovers.

Keep in mind days when you’ll be getting home late, or have events going on at night to plan simple and quick dinners.

I tape up my meal plan on the inside of my spice cabinet.  I also leave a pen in the cabinet as well.  It’s an easy spot to check in the morning to see if I need to set anything out.  That pen helps me cross off what we’ve already eaten for dinner. I also adjust the dinners throughout the week if I need to move something around.

Get a free weekly menu planning calendar and all the tips to help get your weekly dinners organized!I try to end my two week meal plan on a Monday or Tuesday because that’s when I tend to grocery shop.  So whatever day works best for you, start your meal plan and end it about two weeks after that.  Once you do it once, you’ll stick to that rotation.

Now, after I’ve written out my meals for two weeks, I start my grocery list.  I go through my meal plan dinner by dinner and add whatever ingredients I don’t have to my grocery list.

My biggest tip for grocery lists is to categorize your list.  I made one here for Thanksgiving that you can download and use.  It helps so much when you’re trying to get through the grocery store because everything you need in one section of the grocery store is in one place on your list.

Recently I’ve started ordering my groceries online and just picking them up at the curb at the grocery store.  I’ve found that it saves so much time and money.  No randomly throwing things in the cart that aren’t on your list.  Plus, grocery shopping with a toddler is NOT fun.  I do find however, that when ordering groceries I tend to not get things that I need. Mostly because I’m not reminded I need them while passing by them in the store.

If you dread dinner time, or dinner time is always chaotic try giving this meal planning thing a chance.  Doing so will help to organize that feeling of uncertainty around dinner time.  I love knowing I have an idea of what to make for dinner.  It’s also a bonus that I already have all of the ingredients at home.

I hope this FREE meal planning calendar will help you on your way to feeling like a dinner time guru!  Click here to download your meal planning calendar!

Get a free weekly menu planning calendar and all the tips to help get your weekly dinners organized!

Weekly Meal Planning Calendar

Have a great weekend! Let me know in the comments if you have any other meal planning tips. I’d love to incorporate them into what I already do.

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Celebrating everyday!