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It’s party central over here, probably always. It’s party central overload right now, because both of my kids have June/July birthdays, and so do I, and we plan one giant party once a year. We always say this is the year it will be different and we’ll go easy, or rent out a movie theater or bounce place. We always say this is the year we will only invite a few friends. We always say this is the year we don’t save all of the planning until the last minute. That last one we may actually achieve.
I firmly believe that stress levels have gone down over the years. We have learned that we always do pull it off in the nick of time. Whether it’s adrenaline or working well under pressure, or more likely, recognizing that perfectionism is only in our heads, we have learned some stress-free tips along the way. We have also learned that good food, good company, and a bounce house and/or bubbles, are sometimes all it takes to please everyone. We can’t help overthinking our party strategy.
Finding a good ice cream is key for me, because I think ice cream is EVERYTHING. We’re fans of EDY’S® SLOW CHURNED® Caramel Delight Light Ice Cream, and, as Des calls it – “banilla.” (vanilla) Ice cream sets the tone for party togetherness!
After we mostly self-planned our wedding, or Cassidy did, we high-fived and said, “We could do this for a living!” Cassidy is an events and operations guy, both personally (totally ingrained in him), and also professionally. I’m not so much, but I’m good at small details – like foods, photos, guest lists, cake, ice cream, etc. I remember the birthday parties of my youth. My mom would make decorations and a theme, and put cheese curls and chocolate covered peanut butter candies in little cupcake liners for every kid at the party. Oh, how I miss that! She even did it to be cute when I turned 18. (thank you, Mom..)
So after my creative party upbringing with four siblings – imagine planning five birthday parties a year (!!!) – and with Cassidy’s great planning experience, here are ten stress-free party planning tips for YOU! It doesn’t have to be difficult.
Ten Stress-Free Party Planning Tips:
1. Determine your date and time. This is never the most fun, is it? Weekends are usually best, but summer gives you more possibility. If you have young kids, and are inviting young kids, you may want to factor in naps. Then there’s the matter of entertainment or catering – or whatever else might determine the date and time. I generally ask around with the kids’ grandparents and closest friends to “try” to lock in a date in which most of the important guests are free. Set duration too!
2. Decide for sure on your theme, because we usually have about two or three running through our heads, only to have our kids change it! Then set to work in transforming your party into whatever magic is about to happen. My favorite part!
3. Get organized. 3-4 weeks before the event, book, decide, or even confirm the venue, make a guest list, decide on a theme, and sent out invites. In the 1-2 weeks before the party, plan a menu and make shopping lists, and maybe make a master to-do list that covers every task – decorations, entertainment, food, music, RSVPs, dietary restrictions, contact information, etc. Keep it online and a hard copy too. I personally like to write tasks and check them off, as I complete them.
4. Planning your guest list. This is perhaps my biggest weakness, because I would invite the town mayor if he’d come. (around here, he might) Some wisdom I’ve learned from Cassidy and other event planners is to partly determine guest list by where you’re having the party. Some venues can only tolerate so much. Then really think about who would enjoy the party, and as your kids get older and make their own guest lists more, who do they really want there? This year we decided to invite good friends from school, and then a few friends from babyhood, toddlerhood, and preschool. We had to stop somewhere.
5. Send out invites. Should be simple, right? Whether you send out invites by mail, or do it online – best for last minute parties – there’s still a matter of compiling. It’s either addresses or email addresses, and then making sure people received their invites. An invitation sets the tone for a party, and also builds fun anticipation. There are plenty of store and online options.
6. Decide your budget. How much are you willing to spend? How much can you spend? You can throw a potluck to save money, although we prefer to serve our own stuff. Although if planning help is offered from relatives and loved ones, we accept!
7. Consider a self-serve drinks bar. Whether it’s alcohol, no-alcohol, or a mix, guests can be their own bartenders. Set up a pretty tray or table, with different kinds of drinks, cups, and straws. Also have markers for writing names on cups.
8. Keep food as simple as possible. For Scarlet’s second birthday, we did a “Food on a Stick” theme. It was great for both kids and adults alike. Instead of a sit-down meal, which is way too much for a family party, we did trays of mouth-watering appetizers. I also recommend easy to cook, and easy to assemble food. We love meatballs, fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato kabobs, dips and chips, cake pops, etc. We also rent a sno-cone machine or cotton candy machine for added touches.
9. Set up a kids’ table for food and favors. Or do they still call them goodie bags? I love to set up an area for kids to have their own fun. Some fun ideas are to cover the table with a fun tablecloth or butcher paper and crayons.
10. Cake and ice cream, of course. We love cake and cupcakes, and we love ice cream even more, especially for summer parties. I grew up on the great taste of EDY’S®, and now we have been loving EDY’S® SLOW CHURNED® Simple Recipes.
Two family and party favorites for us are EDY’S® SLOW CHURNED® Caramel Delight Light Ice Cream and EDY’S® SLOW CHURNED® Vanilla Light Ice Cream. I can’t imagine a more perfect way to bring people together, during summer, and always.
EDY’S® SLOW CHURNED® Caramel Delight Light Ice Cream is made with real, simple ingredients, and proudly made with fresh milk and cream with no rBST. There are no artificial colors or flavors, and no GMO ingredients. Celebrate togetherness!
Find out more about EDY’S® SLOW CHURNED® Simple Recipes!
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