I don’t know about you, but I love throwing parties, whether it’s for my kids, for friends, for family or…just because, ha! But I have to admit, I have struggled on many occasions with planning, understanding my abilities, overcommitting, or keeping the budget. It all added so much stress and anxiety to my days, which is quite the opposite of what you should be dealing with when trying to throw a fun celebration for someone you love!
I have come up with a few simple strategies (based on my past mistakes!) that now help me stay focused and on course with spending, time management, and productivity. I’ll be sharing them in a series of posts, titled PARTY PLANNING 101. Hope you find them helpful as well!
Today, I’ll be talking about your RESOURCES.
Before you making ANY creative decisions, you absolutely need to look at and evaluate your resources (budget, help, time).
First and foremost, decide on a BUDGET!
This is a very important part of planning and throwing a party, especially if you are asked to do it by someone else. You need to be upfront and firm in asking for a clear number. If they struggle to give you a budget with which you will be working, what you can do is come up with 3 options for the party, each at a different price point (and therefore including different components), and be persistent that you get an answer. You certainly don’t want or need to go into debt in order to throw a nice party. Be very clear what amount of money you realistically have in your hands that you can spend. Once you figure it out, you are half way there!
Now, look at your calendar and figure out how much TIME you have on your hands.
This is another very important resource you can use to your advantage. If you see that your week days/night are pretty full, set aside time for planning and executing for week-ends, and vice versa.
It can be helpful to have a calendar printed or drawn out just for the party tasks and other party information needed. Once you see the time you have available all laid out in front of you, you’ll be able to better grasp the reality of your commitment and set proper and realistic expectations for yourself.
I cannot tell you how many all-nighters I had to pull in order to throw a party the next day! It’s rather embarrassing to admit that I became infamous for this amongst my family. But I’m all about owning my mistakes and learning from them. What I have realized in terms of time is that I always used to start planning my parties too late. You think that you have 2 months, and it sounds like a ton of time, but in reality, it’s only 8 weeks, which are probably going to be filled with family events, sports, school commitments, probably some sort of sickness, and unexpected things that would require your attention. You HAVE to have a buffer of time.
If you are a busy mom, and ALL your days are pretty much taken with family and household responsibilities, then think of creative ways to carve out some time for crafting and organizing your party without sacrificing your family time or sleep!
- Find someone to help you with childcare:
- make an agreement with your spouse to take care of the kids 2 nights a week from the time after dinner till bedtime. Use this time to invest into the planning or crafting. Do not feel guilty! And try to restrain yourself from checking on your husband. He is more than capable to take care of his kids for a couple of hours. This is only temporary and would end in a couple of weeks. Lock yourself in your bedroom if you need to, put on your headphones and get to work!
- if you have family that lives nearby, don’t be afraid to ask them to babysit the kids one Saturday. Use this time wisely and try to knock out the biggest projects/crafts during that time.
- arrange with your friend or neighbor to watch your kids for a few hours a week. To make it fair or worth their while, you can suggest the “service exchange”, meaning they provide a few hours of babysitting, and you can cook two meals for them next week (or pick up their groceries when you do your own shop, or run errands for them when you are already out, or babysit their kids). Find something that can work both ways.
- Make simple changes to your daily routine:
- getting up 1 hour earlier or going to be 1 hour later.
- giving up your nightly Netflix binge for a few weeks and using that time to plan your party
- cutting down your social media time (except for Pinterest, of course!) 😉
- Involve your children in the party planning process
- if you are working on a craft for the party, provide your children with similar supplies and allow them to create their own versions.
- if you are baking cookies, pinch some dough and give it to your kids to roll and have fun with cookie cutter shapes
- if you are shopping for party supplies, give your kids a list of simple items that they can find and choose by themselves (plates, napkins, plastic forks and spoons are good options for this)
- Special Treats
- for desperate times, a little extra TV or iPad time will be a welcomed break for you and a special treat for kids.
- if the party is themed, have your kids watch the movie or a show on which the party is based to get more ideas for games and decorations. This can also help you all get in the party mood!
- keep on hand a new toy or a coloring book so that when you absolutely need to work on something, and there’s no help in sight, your kids will be busy and entertained for a while, as you get stuff done.
Finally, and this is also very important, make a list of people who can HELP you!
Delegating is an essential part of your success! It’s not as complicated as you think. Just write down the names of people in your family or close friends that you know are good at something and are eager to help.
For example, if your husband looks for any chance to use his power tools, put his name down with a note “hubby–can build something”; if your grandmother makes a killer pie and has energy to bake one, write down “Grandma—dessert”; if your brother is a big music buff, write down “brother—party playlist”; if our mom has an extra set of dishes or beautiful serving trays, write down “mom—table setting”; and so on. It does not mean you will have to ask every single person on your list for favors. It only means that you now have a list of people you can rely on if or when you need some extra help.
Well, I hope this post encouraged you to start planning your next party on the right foot with these helpful tips. Remember, every party needs a plan of action, and the sooner you start thinking about it an figuring out the big stuff, the less stressful you’ll feel when the date of the event is looming! But don’t fret, I’ll help you figure it all out before that day comes!