Guest Blogger Shannon's Party Planning Tips

10 Essential Tips for the Everyday Hostess

Hi all, I'm Shannon! Lexi asked me about party planning tips so I decided to steal Basically Bubbly for a day to share some of my favorite secrets. I don't always plan extravagant festivities, but when I do, I knock them out of the park.

A year ago I married into a large family, so I am regularly planning for at least 14 people for small gatherings. His family, plus my family... and if we add friends and their significant others... the numbers escalate quickly.  So, from one  Southern girl to, well, everyone else, here are my best kept secrets. Okay, they aren't all secrets, but they need to be reiterated. Enjoy and happy planning!

Outside The Box Decorating

Use objects around your house for decor instead of buying something cheap or even something expensive. A lantern that has been sitting on your mantel mixed with some garden flowers will make a much better centerpiece than something you can buy at party city. Often times, using something that you already own will give your event a unique and lavish touch.

Plan Ahead. Start Early.

Timing is key when it comes to a properly planned event. A great party has lots of little touches and is well thought out. Unless its going to perish, nothing should wait until the last minute. If you think about something you want to add to your event, go ahead and get it done. You will feel great when it comes party time and you are not running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Give yourself at least 2 weeks before taking on any larger event. It takes practice to get the timing down right, but starting early is important. HERE is a great party planning download to ease some of that stress.

Shop In Bulk

Bulk discount stores such as Costco, Sams, or BJs should be your best friend when it comes to supplies for an event. These stores often will have the best prices and selection on flowers, meats, and fresh baked breads. I bought a bag of 36 small sesame rolls freshly made for $4.99 that made the most adorable slider buns. You will be able to stretch your budget much farther buy shopping bulk. Don’t have a membership? Have a friend that is? Have them take you with them!

Food Should Be Plentiful

It is always better to have too much food than not enough. The same goes for drinks. When the food and drink run out, the party is over. You will get the most comments on your event, if your guests are full and enjoyed the food. I tend to buy comfort foods. These never get passed by and people rant and rave often times over some of the easiest and cheapest menu items.

Try Something New

Break out of your norm and host guests in a different spot. If the kitchen is your usual entertaining spot, prepare a table outside or look for a fun spot in your neighborhood or park to use. Switching it up will help you learn to be a more creative hostess and bring something new and exciting to your guests.

A Reason To gather

Give your event a theme. This can be as small as “Italian Night” or as big as a “Hawaiian Luau”. From my personal experience, having a common reason to gather will rid your party of any “awkwardness”. Themes pull the event together and allow you to be super creative. Guests will see your event as one of a kind!

Worry Tomorrow

This is a small tip that goes a long way. Come to closure with the fact that dishes can be done the next day. Enjoy yourself and relax. Your guests will be comforted and you will have a better time. Be sure to thank and assure guests who offer to help with the cleaning that it will be done another time. After all, they are the guest!

Invest In Must Haves

If hostessing is something you plan to do often, invest in reusable must haves. These include (but aren’t limited to)  ikea wine glasses, platter for apps, solid cloth napkins, a few statement pieces. Some of the most beautiful tables are completely mismatched. So don’t be afraid to buy different color items.

Be Our guest

This is the most important time to take away! When it comes to being a primo hostess, your guest should be top of mind. Your event will be successful if the guests have a great time. You may like one type of food or drink, but they might not. Be sure to have choices for everyone and try to think ahead of time what they are going to want to eat and drink. Same goes for who you invite… often times a smaller, more dynamic group is much more enjoyable than a large melting pot of people.