How to Plan a Summer Party

Good, hum, whatever time of day it is where you are, dear reader!

Today we start planning our easy breezy summer party. It’ll be quick and painless, promise 😉

summer party planning

This is what the beginning of most of my planning sessions look like. Pajamas, smoothie, and iPad. Still in bed, I like to go over my tried and tested checklist and fill in the blanks, until I know exactly what I’m going to do.

Want to see what my checklist looks like?

Checklist

Now, I might be organized, but I don’t use spreadsheets for party planning (though I love them for basically every other area of my life, from meal scheduling to writing organizing). Instead, I keep a blank note on my iPad’s notes app, copying the basics and filling in the blanks as required.

Here’s what that basic structure looks like.

party planning checklist

Theme

I say the theme is optional, but I don’t actually think it is. I mean, you need to know what you’re doing for your party, how things go together and create a cohesive whole! Without a theme, you might end up mixing elements that don’t go together, like serving fondue in the summer, mixing different types of clashing cuisines or, God help us, using napkins that don’t go with your towel!

(Am I being type A? Maybe.)

All joking aside, a theme will help you find a direction for your party. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or overly complicated, just the line of thinking for your party.

For example, for my party, I decided to throw a garden Summer Party that used a pink and yellow color scheme. See? Nothing too complex, but something that guides my planning.

Budget

There are four main categories to budget for: decorations, food, drinks, and entertainment.

If we’re being honest, I’m not the best at budgeting parties (my one weakness!). I normally know roughly how much I’ll spend but it’s always an estimation at best.

This is bad party planning practice and I do not recommend it at all!

Think to yourself how much you’re willing to spend in each of the main categories and write it down. For example, I’m not a heavy drinker and neither are my local friends, so my drinks budget is minimal, but I have out of town friends who are really into wine and whiskey and as such their drinks budget is always roughly 50% of their party budget. It’s all about prioritie.

So figure out those priorites and write them down! Once you know how much you can spend on each category, it makes the rest of the planning (and shopping) much easier.

Location and Guest List

Once you know exactly how many people you can afford to invite, you need to decide who exactly to ask and where to throw yout shindig.

These two items go together because they’re inevitably linked; where you throw your party normally limits who the guest list will include. For my summer party, and because the weather has been delightful, I’ll be using the garden behind my house, which means I can invite more people than I could if I was holding the party at home.

Decide on both of these before you advance in your plans. Once you got them down, invite your guests. I always text, but you can do formal e-vites (I have a couple friend of mine that does this and it’s hella adorable). Just make sure everyone knows they’re invited and RSVPs so you know the supplies you’ll need to get.

Decor

Again, optional in the strictest sense of the word, but you have to put something on the table beside food, even if it’s just plates, glasses, and cutlery (and those can be all the decorations you need, by the way, you just have to pick them wisely).

One of my favorite bits about throwing a party is figuring out how to decorate for it. If I’m having an indoors party, I normally go all out; candles, flower arrangements, fancy napkin foldings and fine china, the works. However, if I’m throwing an outside party, where the elements play a big role in the outcome of anything, I keep everything to a minimum, which means having disposable dishes function as the main decor.

How do you do that? By choosing disposable things that are so interesting on their own they can easily play the dual role.

For example, the paper things I picked up for my summer party.

summer party planning decor

Colorful, aren’t they? Sticking with my pink and yellow theme, I bought some Happy Jackson paper plates, cups, and straws, and combined it with regular pink and yellow straws (pretty sure they came from Ikea), and colorful chevron napkins I picked up at a local supermarket for a buck a piece. Just by themselves, these pieces brighten up a table enough that I only need to add food and voila.

Party table done!

(For those who are unaware of them, Happy Jackson are a British brand I got slightly obsessed with when I lived in England. They have a myriad of colorful products with sassy sayings that delight my colorful heart! They’re not sold everywhere, but if you jump off to eBay, the exact items I bought are currently available at very reasonable prices!)

 

Now that we have our budget, location, guest list, and decor, we can advance to the next part of our list: the food!

Wait, did I write now? I mean next post.

Happy plannings and I’ll see you then, dear reader!

Sara A.

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