Sunday, September 26, 2010

Party Planning Tips

Image by Sarah Thompson of Style Me Gorgeous

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. Ours is a long weekend here in Perth for the Queen’s Birthday and we’ve had lots of fun things keeping us busy. This morning I had my cousin’s baby shower which I organized the invitations and decorations for. I will share some photos of the morning tea in the next few days.

One of my favourite things about holding a party is the actual planning stage and gathering of ideas for decorations and invitations and all the small details. Today I thought I’d share my top five tips for planning a successful party, accompanied by some images from my favourite blogs about entertaining…

1. Have a colour scheme

Everything looks more cohesive and less busy when you stick to a few key colours or patterns. You don’t have to have everything matching but small decorative details like napkins, table runners, flowers, balloons or bunting look more pleasing to the eye when you stick to a ‘colour theme’ or style.

Image from I Am Baker

2. Balance the savoury and sweet dishes

When deciding on the types of food I am going to make for a party where finger food is being served, I try and aim for a balance. Usually I will have a few savoury dishes and a few sweet dishes. With savouries I try to have a few different choices such as sandwiches, something involving pastry like sausage rolls and something vegetarian such as quiches. For the sweets, I try and incorporate something with chocolate, something cake-y, something with cream and a platter of fruit.

Image by Sharnel of My Life My Loves

3. Make a sketch of your food table

Whether I have a dessert style ‘help yourself’ food table, or am placing the food in the middle of the table around which guests are seated, I always have a good idea of how I’d like the table to look and how things will be positioned. I usually make a brief sketch and try and have plates positioned at various heights using things like cupcake stands, cake stands and even boxes covered with decorative paper. I like food to be served on white dishes or ones only with a small pattern which compliments the colour or style I am focusing on.

Photo by Leo Patrone via Green Wedding Shoes

4. Encourage guests to mix

If you have a small number of guests seated around a table, make sure that things placed in the centre of the table aren’t too tall or an obstruction which will make conversation difficult. For parties with larger numbers, rather than having seats placed in one huge circle where guests can only talk to those on either side of them, I like leave clusters of chairs around smaller tables so that small groups can talk more easily.

Original photo by Anna of Around My Table found via Birthday Girl

5. Plan a timeline for yourself

I always have ‘to do lists’ for things to be organized before the party day itself as well as a more specific order of things to do on the actual day. I try to do as much as possible beforehand, especially when it comes to preparing food. Anything that can be made in advance and frozen is a lifesaver and food that can be cooked earlier and just reheated on the day is also perfect. Besides the food, things that can be done in the days before the party include ironing tablecloths, having platters and cutlery out ready, hanging any decorations (so long as they are safe from the elements) and positioning tables and chairs.

Hope you enjoyed my little list of party hints. Are there any tips you agree with or would you add something different to what I’ve suggested?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…


  1. Hi lovey, I hope the party went well, I bet it was all gorgeous and super tasty with you at the helm!! You got a stunning day for it too ;)
    Loved your tips mate, and I completely agree, love getting pre-organised if possible!
    Flick xo

  2. Organisation is absolutely key! Thanks for sharing your tips. Michelle

  3. Sounds like the perfect party planning to me!! I also do a time schedule of the week leading up to the party - exactly what is done on each day - this helps so I don't say,'oh I'll do that tomorrow' and then everything gets left to the last day. I also do a time schedule for the day - what time the food goes int he oven etc. It sounds a bit cooky but it really works!!

  4. I love these tips Amanda! You are such an organised person, I'm sure the baby shower was a huge sucess! I can't wait to see the pics. I hope you had a great weekend my dear,

  5. Fab tips, Amanda. Thanks for sharing. I'm big on parties and am in the planning stage from my daughter's upcoming 5th birthday. I crave another grown up affair, though, so I think I'll start getting a theme together for a Christmas soiree!! x

  6. Hi Amanda, Thank you so much for featuring a photo from my party :) I love the post - so useful! It's also nice to get to know your blog.
    Anna, xxx

  7. Great tips Amanda! Looking forward to seeing the baby shower photos.

  8. Amanda, you are so super organised! I'm not sure I could ever be like that but your tips make a lot of sense!
    Enjoy the long weekend!

  9. Thanks for the tips,it exactly what i needed as i still have to prepare Ayden's bday very are very organized.i'm sure the baby shower is going to look and be fantastic.. cant wait for you to share photos with us.have a lovely day Amanda xx

  10. These are awesome tips. I will be back to use them when it comes to planning the Baby Space toddler's 3rd birthday that's coming up. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Such wonderful tips Amanda, thank you for sharing!! I always lack the confidence to hold a party, but with your wonderful tips, I may have to jump in and give it a go. Wishing you a wonderful week as always ~ Tina xx

  12. Have you checked out Amy Atlas?? You'll love her. We're having a long weekend here in Canberra ACT, Family & Community Day - makes little difference to school holiday fun though. Love Posie

  13. Anna - was happy to include a photo from your wonderful party :)

    Posie - yes, Amy Atlas has such inspirational dessert tables - love them!

  14. What great tips!! I loved your post. My girls' birthdays are coming up in two months in November, so your post made me think of what I need to do and how I want to plan a birthday party for my older daughter. I need to buy a cake stand. I also love to use white dishes when I entertain. The smaller table tip is a good point. It's very hard to talk if we're at a large round table if the table is really big. I also enjoy seeing the photos you pulled from other blogs. It's such a nice way to find out about other blogs.

  15. These are such great tips, Amanda, I don't think I could add anything else - you have it covered. I think any of us would be really lucky to attend an event that you organised!

  16. Great post and tips I agree with them all, although have to admit I'm not always that good at balancing the savory, just a sweet tooth at heart. Planning and doing anything ahead of time like you suggested is essential.

  17. What a fantastic round-up of tips. Thanks Amanda! Looking forward to pics of the baby shower :)

  18. Great post Amanda, loved your party planning advice! Hope the baby shower went well, looking forward to seeing the photos. Have a great week, Christine x

  19. This is brilliant advice, no wonder you are so great at throwing party's. xx Marie Claire

  20. Wow - this post was so timely and exciting and inspiring for me! I spent the last 2 days of my holidays running around trying to coordinate my wedding and I needed you! My mum is 3 hours away, my sister is in Sydney and I don't want to spoil the surprise of my dress/colour theme with Paul so I had to trust my instincts and at times I was really doubting myself!

    I have decided upon a colour and a theme and last night I breathed a sigh of relief, now knowing the direction I want to take with things. YOU ARE RIGHT - until I had decided on my colour - NOTHING ELSE COULD COME TOGETHER! I couldn't price flowers or do anything until I found my colour. I am so looking forward to it all. I really, love this post - I re-read it several times. Loved the matching pics - thanks Amanda it made me so excited about planning our wedding !!!!!!!!
    Love Tracey xo

  21. I have replied to your other posts below - I have enjoyed every one of them.
    Tracey xo

  22. Thanks for the great party tips, they make for a very organised party and preparation. I'll b keeping them in mind for my next birthday party. Thank you. xo

  23. Sorry for my late respond to your lovely comments...
    It makes we very happy to hear that you like me blog.

    I added myself as a follower to your blog, so I can find my way back. I love it!



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