Between graduations, wedding engagements, bridal and baby showers, you’re bound to play hostess at some point. But you don’t have to spend a fortune or hours and hours preparing, everything you need to throw the best party possible, with everything from drinks to games it’s all here in one place.
For birthday parties, get your invitations out three weeks in advance; two weeks for informal backyard gatherings or picnics. As a rough rule of thumb for other gatherings—graduations, bridal showers, engagement parties—send an invitation six weeks in advance.
Specify if children are invited. If so, address the invitation to the whole family.
The plus-one can be a tricky situation. If you have a small space, don’t feel guilty for skipping the plus-one and follow this rule: Only give guests a plus-one if you’ve interacted with their partner or close friend.
Food & Drink
Forgo catering and focus on full-flavor items you can buy, in addition to three or four recipes that you’ve made before and that can be prepared in advance. This isn’t the time to experiment with new recipes or create elaborate, last-minute dishes. If you do want to attempt something new, test out the recipe several times in advance. You have plenty of other things to worry about before the party begins besides something going wrong in the kitchen!
Beverage Station – Don’t stress about running after everyone at your gathering, give them a beverage station and they can help themselves while you enjoy yourself too.
Do be aware of food allergies. More and more people are becoming allergic to nuts, eggs, shellfish and other ingredients. Place “risky” foods in one corner; if possible, label each, specifying the allergen.
The decor of your party sets the tone and says a lot about you. It can also be a big stressor. Keep it lively and simple for maximum impact.
Lighting – the cheapest option—and one that is perfect for evening—is white holiday lights. String them along fences, wrap them around small bushes, or place them in medium-to-tall vases to create hurricane lanterns.
Candle Lanterns – Use candles to create a gentle evening glow and create a more intimate atmosphere, not only is it cheap but it is also a beautiful way to keep the party going.
Bunting and garlands – Did you ever doubt it?Bunting, the number one way to transform any space and perfekt for the garden! String above the table or attach to the fence for instant effect. For added pretty, why not hang ribbons or paper pom pom from trees or even get crafty and make paper chains with colourful paper.
DIY Photo Booth – You don’t have to spend a fortune hiring an expensive photo booth, you can make your own booth of memories on the cheap and everyone will love taking silly photos. Prepare some background made of bed sheets, make some props, bring some silly clothes and that’s it!
You could even paint two or three boards and have teams compete against each other to get everyone involved.
Open Air Art – Pull some inspiration from the Impressionist era and get the kids out doing some nature “painting” with a huge chalkboard you could mount on the fence. Every time it rains, you’ll have a clean canvas!