We beyond LOVE throwing parties here at Along Came A Box, but it's sooo important that you get to have fun at your own party too! So we've compiled a list of awesome tips and a timeline to help take some of the stress out of planning your next party.
The Week Before
- Plan the activities for your party and make a list of any materials to buy for those activities
- Plan out your menu and write a list of ingredients
- Compile a list of any decorations and party materials (paper plates, napkins, glasses, etc.) that you'll need to buy
- Go shopping! Buy materials for the activities, decorations, and party materials.
Two Days Before
- Go grocery shopping for all of your ingredients
The Day Before
- Clean your home. Every room if guests have never been to your house before (they always ask for a tour!)
- Make the desserts. Pick desserts that can be made ahead of time (no bananas foster!). Most cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bars, pies, and other desserts can be made the day before and still taste awesome the next day.
The Day Of
- Prep meals. Do any chopping or marinating in the morning. This way when it comes to making the meal you can just add in the pre-chopped veggies. If you have any cold dishes to make, like a potato or pasta salad, make these at this time as well
- Decorate your home with all your awesome decorations and have fun! This is the most exciting part of throwing a party for me and I usually start pretty early.
- Cook your recipes and keep them warm in the oven
- Get ready for your party
- Plate and garnish your meals and set them out for guests
- Choose dishes that can bake in the oven and don't require a lot of tending to. This way you can get ready in between and they'll be done just as guests arrive.
- If you do pick recipes that are hands-on throughout the entire process, set your oven to 125 degrees and place the dish in the oven once it's done cooking. This temperature will keep it warm until your guests arrive.
- Use paper plates and forks. There are so many cute options out there. Check online if you have the time, it may even inspire your party theme!
- If you do choose to use dishes, empty the dishwasher in the morning so it's ready for you to put dishes in right away.
- Buy more drinks than you think you'll need. We never have soda in the house, so that basically just leaves water and red wine. I always make sure to buy soda for guests and bottle white wine for more options. If the event is causal I'll also include 2 types of beer, a light and medium.
- Have disposable tupperware on hand. I always have extra food and my guests love taking it home afterwards. They instantly help clean up when they know they're preparing their own container, it makes me feel great that food won't go to waste, and they feel awesome when they have lunch for the next day.
- Have an activity or two in mind, even if you don't think you'll need it. I've been to way too many dinner parties or casual hang outs where everyone wants to play a game or do something, but the host doesn't have anything on hand. As silly as it is I've done an egg hunt on Easter....for an adults only party, have brought out board games during the coffee portion of a dinner party, and have had impromptu video game competitions. I've also incorporated the activity into the meal, with a build your own pizza party, a taco bar, a cookie decorating party, and a cupcake decorating party. It makes sure there's never a dull moment :)
Do you have any tips for hosting a stress-free party? I'd love to hear them and incorporate them into our next party.