Party Planning 101

As I have mentioned before, we are soon hosting a dinner party for 36+ people to celebrate my leap into the "30s" (or perhaps more so to commiserate the end of my 20s?? lol) . pic8 While I am someone who loves to organise parties, be them big or small, in order to keep my stress level down and I am a huge planner. Did you miss my other planning tips?

I have learned over time that catering for other people (be it 5 or 50) is never an easy thing to do. And, even if I have lot of friends and family willing to help, sometimes this comes with its own downfalls too. Perhaps it relates to the ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ phenomenon?! A few months ago, my sister in law and I managed to stay relatively stress-free when planning the "Day at the Races" party for my parents-in-laws’ joint 70th birthday party. We had to cater for over 110 people, which was also no easy feat. pic1 And so today, with another upcoming party to plan and prepare for, it got me thinking about what worked during the planning process for that, much bigger, party…. 1. Meetings My sister in law and I had quite a few face to face "meetings" when planning the party for her parents. Not only were they an opportunity to catch up for dinner (and a couple glasses of wine…), we were able to jointly finalise numbers, invitations and the food menu. These meetings, in conjunction with email, helped us stay on track and not double up or miss anything. 2. Utilise the skills of others We found out that a guest at the party was a keen BBQ-er, and he offered to not only man the BBQ for us,  but also to select and buy the meat. All we had to do was tell him how many people were coming (oh and pay for the meat of course!). 3. Learn to love online resources Given that my sister in law and I both work full time, it was not always possible to get away from work to hit the shops during business hours. We did, however, embrace the magic of the internet and purchased the invitations, the edible photo topper and various other balloons / decorations from online sources. pic6 Not only did it make the ordering process simple, and often saved us money, all the items were delivered directly to our door! 4. Know your numbers About a week before the party, we sat down to plan the final menu. Given it was a lunchtime party, we decided on a BBQ / salad combination. And, once the guest numbers had been finalised, we were able to decide just how many dishes to offer. While not having enough food is bad, I think having too much food and it going to waste is worse!! 5. Know your crowd We discovered that we had no vegetarians coming to the party, although we did have guests with both wheat and dairy allergies. pic3 Knowing this information upfront made it all the more easier to ensure that everyone’s dietary needs would be catered for. 5. Divide and conquer With our menu plan in mind, we then divided up the salads and appetisers – with each taking 4 specific salads and 2 dips. pic2 This meant that we were both able to contribute, without being overwhelmed. Also, by sitting down and allocating specific dishes, were made sure there would be no double ups. 6. Get together to create together Although we had allocated dishes between us, we wanted to work on the star of the show, aka the birthday cakes, together. So, the night before the party, we rallied at the BBB household and baked, tempered and shaped chocolate to our heart’s delight. pic4  Not only did it lighten the load in the kitchen, it was definitely a fun gals night in! 7. Create a timeline and stick to it Being a lunchtime party, we did not have the benefit of a full day in which to prepare food. This was complicated by the fact we could not get into the venue to set up until 1 hour before the party started. So, working backwards, we arranged an early morning get together to finalise the food preparation, then made our way to the venue together. Having completed all the food preparation before we arrived, all we had to do was decorate and we were set to party! pic7 I think it was a combination of the above that made the whole process run smoothly, without creating too much work / stress for either of us. While my 30th party is quite different in style (dinner party v casual lunch), I know that I will be implementing many of the above strategies to keep my sanity! _______________ Day 16 – MOVE it, TONE it, DRINK it

  • MOVE it – Cardio 1hr (Run 5km, Elliptical 20 mins, Bike 10 mins)
  • TONE it – Sit-ups 130 (mixed types)
  • DRINK it – 2L

______________ What about you? What is your number 1 tip when it comes to party planning? Happy Baking πŸ™‚

13 thoughts on “Party Planning 101

  1. I am in awe of your party planning abilities. I really don't have any tips because I never throw parties, but I guess don't wait until the last minute to figure out if there will be any activities or not. I waited until the last minute to get the onesies for my sisters diaper party and it was hard to find the sizes I wanted.

  2. I rarely cook for huge crowds but your advice seems sound – I have heard that the more people coming, the less food you need per head. I also think that some dishes lend themselves to big groups better than others – not the fiddly kind! And when cooking for quite a few people I like to fall back on some old favourites and have just one or two new ideas to stress about – though don't always do this.

  3. Wow you are so good at party planning, I'm jealous! I don't really have any tips to share, other than try to select a menu where most of the things can be done ahead of time. I've thrown a party before where things had to be cooked to order, and it was not good because I had to spend way too much time in the kitchen!

  4. I haven't organised a major party like that at all, I find it easier to just book a restaurant/function centre and let them do all the hard work!

Comments are closed.