Monday, April 19, 2010

party planning: part i.

So, Jessica’s comment about the pancake party pretty much made my day.

My pancake breakfast didn’t look exactly like the one featured on Design*Sponge (due in part to the fact that that particular party wasn’t real). But Jessica hit the nail on the head: It’s all about the doing.

Since so often, you only get to see the results of my labor, I thought I’d provide you with a little step-by-step into how to go from inspiration to motivation. In other words, how I take a picture like this:

And turn it into this:


 Step #1: Find an inspiration. This one shouldn’t be hard for most of us. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably reading other blogs, blogs that provide plenty of inspiration on everything from decorating your home to planning an event. If you see something you like, save the pictures in a folder on your computer. Or, do what I do, and write yourself an email with a link to the blog post that’s got you inspired. Eventually, you’ll have the need/means/time to throw a party, and you’ll have a folder of ideas ready and waiting. Case in point: At the last minute, I decided I wanted to throw myself a birthday party. I found my inspiration in a baby shower featured on OhBrooke:

I took note of the details I loved (girly colors, cute straws, colored soda, initials) and produced my own rendition:

{girly colors, colored soda in wire basket, fun straws, initialed popcorn bags}


Step #2: Don’t be intimidated. I think this is where a lot of people get stuck. We think our parties/dinners/get-togethers/weddings have to look exactly like the ones we see in magazines and on blogs. Well, folks, that’s just plain silly. Why? Well, I’m on a budget. I don’t have a stylist or photo editor living with me. I am not a professional event planner. I do not have unlimited resources. What I do have is the knowledge that my party (especially if I’m a time crunch) will not look exactly like my inspiration. Instead, it will look like me. It will be planned for the people I love on the budget I have with the supplies I own. And I’m perfectly okay with that.


Step #3: Start somewhere. Every party I ever throw starts with the invitation. I don’t always mail them (some people don’t like snail mail as much I do… and stamps can be expensive), but I’ll often design an invitation, turn it into a JPG, and embed it into an email I send out to potential guests. And the invitation often becomes the starting point for the rest of my event. Take a look at these invites and the parties they turned into:

Birthday party

Dinner party

Pancake breakfast

When guests get their invitation, they know what to expect. When they arrive at my home, they may not realize the color of the invitation matched the color of the tablecloth, but I do, and I think it’s a classy touch.

If invitations aren’t your thing, that’s fine. But pick some task you can tackle easily and quickly, and implement it. Just completing a task will give you the motivation you need to plan your party. For me, the invitation design comes fairly easily, and once those invitations are sent, it hits me: I am having this party. People have now been invited. I have to kick my rear into gear!


Step #3b: Pick a color. I think this inspiring lady had it exactly right: a good color scheme can get your party going. For our dinner party last fall, I chose dark blue and yellow (based on my wedding china). I created invitations in those colors, bought navy blue tablecloths, wore a navy blue dress, and used yellow sunflowers in blue mason jars as centerpieces. The entire event looked put together, mostly, I think, due to the color scheme I used throughout the entire planning process.


I'll share more tips tomorrow on how to actually put your plans into action, including ideas on how to throw a fun get-together as stress-free as possible! (Hint: Cooperative friends play a huge role!)


Jessica said...

Awww, Annie. This post pretty much made my day! I wish we lived closer. We might could even be real life friends! I love your blog. Thanks for inspiring us all daily!

katie said...

great job! i love throwing parties... it's a hobby. i should blog about it more... oh well.