Who loves to party?! And who loves to cook all the food, plan, decorate the party area, craft all the goodies, invite guests and monitor RSVP’s, and clean up everything after all the guests have gone home?!

Wait, that doesn’t sound fun to you?

Hosting is a lot of work, but when you are prepared you can alleviate much of the stress to maximize the fun. And isn’t that the whole point of a party!?

Party planning is kind of my thing. I totally dig a good shindig. My boys insist on a party to mark every celebration. You had a birthday? Party. It’s St. Patrick’s Day? Party. You lost your tooth? Party. You finished a new book series? Party. We’re wild like that. But all those fiestas do take their toll. That’s why I put together this quick list of my favorite party planning and hosting hacks that help me pull off parties with minimum stress and maximum fun. It saves me every time. Check it out!

Party Planning Tips

How To Host a Party Like a Boss

Make a game plan:

Having a game plan can organize your thoughts. I created a party planning template that I refer back every time I throw a shindig. It has the same categories that I can manipulate to fit any event I’m orchestrating. I’ve found that most any party I throw fits the same basic mold: guest lists, activities, take home favors, decorations, locations, invitations, and of course, food. I keep the same headings bolded on each planning page & just fill in the details specific to the upcoming event.

Party Planning Tips

Lists, lists, lists:

I don’t know how I could plan any party without a few dozen post its full of every party planning detail in list form. I have lists for things to buy, things to make, people to invite, games and activities, decor ideas, party favors, really you can never have enough lists. 

Create a calendar:

After you’ve finalized your game plan and your lists, the next crucial step is organizing all these ideas in to a calendar. I map out what needs to be done on which day prior to the party. I usually plan to do nothing but clean and cook the two days before the party. Shopping can be done a few days out. And I usually reserve the day of for last minute details and food prep. With well planned schedule you can avoid that last minute chaos typical of party planning.

Planning a Party

Get an early start:

Do as much as you can as early as you can. A lot of party work needs to be done close to the party date but some things like shopping, organizing party favors, and crafting centerpieces can be done weeks out. I like to do a little bit here & a little bit there to avoid ever feeling overwhelmed.

Refer to a food serving guide:

It can be so stressful trying to figure out how much food to serve. There’s nothing worst than running out of a high demand food during an event, but you also don’t want to end up eating party leftovers for the next two weeks. There are some great online guides that can help you plan exactly how much food to have on hand. I love the Martha Stewart Thanksgiving guide; I use it as a guide for all my parties.

How to Plan a Party

Request RSVP’s:

Some say RSVP’s are old school. I say they are brilliant. It is so much easier to plan when you have a pretty accurate estimate of how many people you can expect to attend. I always ask for a confirmation and I’ll even send out reminders to invitees that neglect to RSVP in the designated time period.

Ask for help:

Don’t forget, guests love to contribute. Even though you are hosting the event doesn’t mean every detail is all on you. It’s okay to ask guests to bring a dish or pick up a party item. The more hands that help the more that can get done. Personally, I love contributing to the event even as a guest. I usually ask for help with some of the minor details that don’t require a lot of effort but really help make my job easier; things like, pick up the pre-ordered balloons, or bring a cooler full of ice.

Do you have any party planning tips and hosting tips that have helped you? I’d love to hear them! I’m always looking for ways to lighten the party load. I hope your next hosting event is a party planning success!

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