Depending on your personality, planning a party is either super fun, super stressful or both. We're here to break down the top 10 ways to prep for a party without getting overwhelmed. After all, if you're throwing a party, you should be able to enjoy it too!
1. Simplify the guest list
The more people you invite, the more complicated you make your party and the less opportunity you’ll have to connect with each guest. Less is more: Invite close friends, a few people you’ve been meaning to reconnect with and a some people you think would mix well with everyone else.
2. Start planning early
Pick a theme (if you're going for one) and send out invites four to six weeks before a formal event or two to three weeks before a casual gathering. You’ll also want to gather ideas for the menu and decor way in advance.
3. Create a budget and follow it
Figure out how much you can spend without breaking the bank, and set a limit on food, drink, entertainment, and other party essentials. If you can’t afford to hire a caterer, consider setting up a taco bar or another easy do-it-yourself station for food.
4. Make a checklist
Write down everything, from “check RSVPs” to “set up self-serve bar.” Not only does it feel really satisfying to check off to-dos, but it’s the only way to know for sure what still needs to be done.
5. Enlist help
If the thought of cleaning your house is overwhelming, hire someone to clean it before and/or after the party. If friends or family are open to helping, delegating a few responsibilities—say, picking up ice or putting out flowers—is a huge help and one less thing for you to think of!
6. Keep the menu simple
Strategy is key here, and we recommend making dishes that can be prepped beforehand or that can reheat easily and still taste amazing. Order takeout or catering for items that round out your menu and to ease your load.
7. Serve one specialty cocktail
You don’t want to be shaking martinis all day, so select one drink you can make in pitchers (sangria, spiked lemonade) and stock up on plenty of beer and wine. A make-your-own cocktail set-up like a mimosa bar at brunch, with different juices to pair with champagne, is also great.
8. Order what you can online
If it’s a particular size tablecloth or shade of serving tray you’re after, save yourself the hassle of driving all over town looking for something and get it delivered to your doorstep.
9. Create a playlist
Music is essential at a party, and there's nothing like a playlist personally curated for your guests' tastes. Consider making a playlist specific to the party, for instance, an all-female playlist for a Galentine's Day Brunch.
10. Do as much as you can beforehand
Things always take longer than we expect! Whether it’s decorating, setting the table, or preparing foods that can sit overnight in the fridge, getting things done ahead of time is key. Creating the right ambiance for your party takes time, so tackle decor a couple of days before.