DIY/Crafts,  Events,  Family Fun,  Printables

Party Planning and Hosting Tips + FREE Printable Checklist

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A New Year, a new beginning, and a whole new year of birthdays and parties to plan.

Will this be a milestone year for you or someone you love? A baby shower? A wedding shower? Or, do you just enjoy planning out your year with each upcoming birthday or event (like me!)?

My husband and I love to host—whether it is one of our daughter’s birthdays or just a fun gathering for friends. Other than birthday parties for our girls, this year we will be hosting our 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Crawfish Boil and hoping to continue this tradition with friends and family every year!

I wanted to share with you some of my party planning and hosting tips for whatever kind of event you are planning this year! Some of these tips may seem a little obvious, but it’s all in the details!

Tip 1: Pick a Date and Time

Time should be based on your own personal preference. I have hosted my daughter’s birthday party at 11:00 am before and I will never do that again! For children’s parties, I typically set the time around 2:00 pm (or a little later if it interferes with nap times).

For adult gatherings, I typically set a time around 4:00 pm—this gives time for people to socialize, have appetizers, and take the pressure off  “being on time”.

Time and day of the week are completely preferential and can be dependent on what type of event you are planning. Try to think about who will be invited and what day and time would be most convenient for your guests.

Tip 2: Pick a Theme

Will you be throwing a Princess Tea Party, Super Hero Birthday, 40th Birthday, or a celebration for a new engagement? Whatever type of event you are hosting, pick a theme and go with it!

For our St. Patrick’s Day Crawfish Boil I like to tie in green and gold with fish netting and crawfish. I like to choose between 3 and 4 colors that I will tie in throughout my decorations. For instance, last year my daughter had an Under the Sea theme and I used shades of purple, pink, teal, and gold. For my husband’s 40th Birthday I used black and gold with a Cheers to 40 Years theme.

Tip 3: Know your Palette

Where and what are you planning to decorate? Do you have a certain area in your home that people tend to gather in or a nice outdoor space for hosting? Choose the area in or outside (or both!) that you would like to be the main area of your event.

In my home, I have certain areas that I typically always decorate. For example, I usually hang a banner on my fireplace, create centerpieces for the dining room table, and decorate around the French doors in my kitchen.

Once you have an idea of what areas you want to decorate, it will make buying or making decorations less overwhelming.

Tip 4: Decorations

DIY or buy your decorations…or both! Use online idea boards or visit the craft/hobby store to get some inspiration.

Banners, centerpieces, and tablecloths are a great way to tie in a color from your theme. Paper plates, napkins, and utensils in the theme color are a nice touch.

I typically mix store-bought decorations, especially for “character” themed parties, and DIY decorations. For my daughter’s Trolls themed birthday party I made “troll hair” with tulle and headbands for the kids as well as used Trolls decorations from the store.

Tip 5: Food and Beverage

This category is greatly about personal preference, time of day, and who will be attending the party. For children’s parties, make sure that you have a lot of grab and go items for the kids. Any birthday party that I have hosted, the kids are way too busy playing to sit down for a meal. I have found it most efficient to have a wide variety of heavy appetizers and side dishes. I suggest having several options that cover all your bases so that everyone has a least one thing they will eat and drink.

Tip 6: Special Touches

Party favors are a special way to thank your guests for attending. Favors are another great way to tie in your theme and can range from a simple bag of goodies to allowing your guests to pick and choose treats from a candy or dessert bar.

Above all, have fun and take lots of pictures! If you plan and create ahead, the day of the party will be more organized and less stressful!

Here is a simple party planning printable checklist that will help you stay organized while you plan.

Click to print or PIN for later.


One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to take more pictures of my creations and parties—and hopefully share with ya’ll!

Happy planning in 2019!




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