This is a sponsored post. My opinions are my own.
Does the thought of throwing a party have you in a bit of a panic? The guests, the invites, the decorations, the food – and don’t even get me started on the cocktails. I love a great party but throwing one – well, let’s just say it took some time before I stopped being a frazzled mess before my guests arrived. If things were totally perfect, I learned to “let it go – let it go” (sorry – that song is stuck in my head now) and roll with the punches.
Parties, whether large or small, are all the same – you need a few things – the venue, the guests, decorations (if needed), the menu and, of course, the music. When my friends here in Philly throw a soiree – they do it up big – right down to organizing a club/restaurant and everyone gets together and has a blast. One thing that kept us all together when I’d have to plan our Philly parties while I was living in Orlando – Evite. With a fabulous invitation and the click of a mouse, we were able to get the invites to all of our friends everywhere in a hot second and they always looked amazing. Plus – we were able to keep track of who was going, who was a maybe and was able to coordinate with no sweat. Once we had that in play, everything else ran like clockwork.
With the summer upon us, there’s always a call for a party – whether it’s a BBQ, a potluck, a 4th of July picnic – you name it, you can plan it. Here are some of my favorite tried and true tips for the perfect party all while keeping yourself calm, cool and collected.
Let’s say you were going to throw a fabulous summer soiree like a 4th of July cookout, here’s my timeline of events
- Invites are always best sent out a few weeks prior – I am not a last minute gal and try to remember to give my guests the same consideration. Of course, last minute get-togethers are always fun, but when you are planning a party, narrow down your guest list and get it all together. You can design a great Evite with the who, what, where details and send it out to your friends and family.
- Checklists are your friend – after the invites are sent out and you know where you are holding the party, start thinking about what you will need to get for supplies – whether it’s for decorations, what you might already have on hand and if you need something special (like a grill, a large beverage container, etc.). I adore Celebrate Express – I was able to find fab things for every type of party under the sun, including a 4th of July soiree: .
- So – now we have the party supplies on lock, the Evites are out and now it’s time to do a little menu planning. First – are you going to be using tried and true recipes for the party menu or do you want to experiment a bit? If you are going to experiment with new recipes, try them BEFORE the party to make sure they taste fabulous, are easy to prep and won’t drive you crazy. If you love it, then serve it.
- Try to make dishes that allow for some pre-party prep. For example, if I was going to do hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, I might make a batch of my chipotle ketchup, hot dog relish and rustic balsamic mustard ahead of time and let the flavors marry in the fridge a day or two prior. The day before, I would make the Amish Macaroni Salad. Slow Cooked Maple Baked Beans and my fave coleslaw, along with the Rum Soaked Chocolate Chip Cookies and Spicy Smoky S’mores.
- On the day of, the burgers, dogs and buns would be ready for the grill and the Southern Meatballs would be in the slow cooker. The Watermelon Salad with Ricotta Salata would be chilling in the fridge along with this divine Berry Centric Salad from Sandra Lee along with pitchers of freshly made sangria. The more you can do ahead of time, the less you are frantic closer to the party and you can relax a bit.
- One tip to remember – if there’s something you think you are better off buying than making, then by all means do that. Balance some store-bought with some made from scratch. I often would buy bruschetta mix and a baguette and let me friends “make their own” on some toasted baguettes. It was always a hit. Remember – no stress is the objective.
- Now – for the best part – the cocktails. I love a fabulous signature cocktail and, during the summer, it’s often a great sangria. Some fruit, some wine, a bit of brandy or rum, a bit of seltzer. Store in huge beverage server which will let you be a guest at your own party and guests can serve themselves. Keep some lemonade, water, soda, beer and wine available and your guests will be happy. See – easy peasy.
- Finally – toss on some music – preheat that grill and have a cocktail in hand when you greet your guests. It’s party time!
To give you some ideas – I have a Tried and True Tips for the Perfect Party Pinterest Board that might give you a little inspiration
Hopefully these tried and true tips for the perfect party will help you throw soirees that you and your guests will love! Food, fun, and laughter – that’s what it’s all about.
Happy Party Planning!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Savings.com. My opinions are my own.
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