Party Planning 101

Its no secret that we here at Rubi and Lib really love a good party, after all we started out with the vision of helping busy moms plan and execute fabulous birthday parties!  With every party I plan I always enjoy interacting and engaging  with guests throughout the party or enjoying the laughter and games at kids parties instead of running around ensuring everything is in order.  I have found over the years of throwing parties for both my kids and for adults that having a well thought out plan in place helps alleviate stress and ensure that I get to enjoy the party as much as everyone else, because lets be honest that is the best part of entertaining!
 About eight weeks before an event I like to start the planning process.  Things I consider first are the date and time along with a theme.  I love getting my kids involved in this part of the process.  I suggest things that I know will suite their personality and listen to their ideas about what they want included.  Once we decide on the theme a lot of the other components of the party begin to fall into place.  I use the theme to guide me when selecting where the party will take place and it can even help determine the time of the event.  If I am hosting the party outside of my home I will be sure to check the availability of the venue and reserve our date and time early, this will help to ensure that you have the exact date and time that you want.  You will also want to book any vendors at this time to ensure availability.  This includes entertainment such as face painting or balloon artists to your bakery of choice for the cake or treats.   Lastly begin working to create your invitations, this is the first glimpse people will have of your event so be sure to wow them!  By designing your invitations approximately eight weeks before your event you will have plenty of time to receive them, address them and get them into the mail around the four-week mark.  Another thing to think about four weeks before your event is your décor and personalized products.  Our personalized cups and napkins take approximately 2-3 weeks for production and shipping so you will want to allow enough time to have all your products about a week before your event. 
 You have decided on your theme, the invitations have been sent, and your personalized products have been ordered.  Next up is the remaining décor and menu.  I will start to plan these out using Pinterest and various blogs for inspiration about three weeks before the event.  At this time, I also begin to create my shopping lists, one for décor and favors, and another for the food.  At about two weeks from the party day I will do a test run of any of my DIY décor or activities to ensure I know how to assemble or complete these before the party. There is nothing worse than a Pinterest décor or activity fail the day of your party!  At the two weeks mark you will also want to ensure that all of your online shopping is complete, this will allow plenty of time for your items to arrive. 
 Once your party is a week away I suggest following up with any guests that you have not received an RSVP for so you can get a final count for food and beverages.  Once you have your final count you can begin to shop for your nonperishable food items for the party.  To avoid additional stress as the party gets closer I find that it is helpful to create a party timeline at this time.  This helps to organize your activities and keep the party moving, especially if you have children that are dropped off and being picked up at a certain time. 
 As your party date gets closer and your online shopping orders arrive you will want to begin assembling your favors.  I recommend assembling these during the week of your event.  Again, it is something that is easy to cross of your list early and leaves you with extra time as your party nears.  If you are hosting the party at your home now is also a good time to begin cleaning the house up.  If you are hosting your party elsewhere you should confirm with your venue that everything is all set for your event, and what time you can arrive to decorate and set up. Take the time to confirm with any vendors the arrival or pickup times for the day of the party. 
 Your party is now only a day to two days away.  This is when I like to start to arrange furniture if the party is at my home, or envision the party layout at the venue.  When I am hosting at home I also start to assemble the party food and arrange all the serve ware so that is ready to be filled the day of the party.  I also like to pick up the cake and/or treats the day before.  And finally, on the day of the party I will do a last-minute tidy up of my home, or start to layout things at the venue.  Finish decorating and organize the activities for the party per my party timeline I created.  Then the only things left on your list should be to chill your drinks and set up your food. Now you can step back and enjoy the party with all of your guests.