Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oh So Sweet Parties! - Guest Post

Hi! I'm Shan from Sweet Stella's, party decor and stationery shop. I'm a mom by day and mompreneur by night (and naptime) and love helping my customer's plan the perfect party! I've had my work featured at the 63rd Primetime Emmy's Gifting Suite hosted by GBK Productions, and am thrilled to be on my way to BlogHer'12 to meet up with some amazing bloggers, like Mama G!!

When I heard that Mama G was looking for guest bloggers my brain immediately jumped to party planning, given that her adorable little girl is going to be turning one in a few months!

So...here are my top 5 party planning tips from someone who handmakes party decor...so it's kind of my job!

1) Find inspiration in your theme.

A theme can come from anywhere...a colour, character, idea, holiday, flower, toy. Once you have your theme, your possibilities are endless...but you have to do with it with grace. Coordinate within the theme. For example, if you're planning a campout birthday party, think about the colours, textures, sounds and smells that you would find there. That will inspire the linens, venue, food, and music! Make a list, within your theme, of everything you can think of that pertains to it. It could be as simple as , to use the campout theme again, gingham patterns and s'mores, or as complicated as firefly lanterns and fishing poles. Once you have your list, pick out a few key things that you think you can pull off really well. It's always better to excel at a few things than slack on alot of things!

2) Divide and conquer!

I cannot stress this one enough...start EARLY and divide your list into things that need to be done now, things that can wait a few weeks (or months depending on how early you start), and things that cannot be done until the week of the party. From there, make some brainstorm charts of those three categories and decide how and when you will attack those tasks. Is there any food that you can make now and freeze, or does it all need to be done the night before? Make a visual, and check things off as you go.

3) Hire someone to do the cake

If you're hosting a birthday party, I do not recommend taking on the task of making the birthday cake, unless you are getting all of the other food catered by someone else and know for certain that you will have the time to bake, fill, frost and decorate your masterpiece. If you're doing cupcakes, make them the night before, and frost them the morning of your party so that they are super fresh or better yet, have a cupcake decoration station with different filled piping bags for the kids, sprinkles and decorations! Cakes take a lot of time and detail, and if you're the type of person who will stress the week of the party, this is not the task to be taking on.

4) Loot bags aren't just for kids!

Consider doing a fun favour for the parents at your child's party, or if you're hosting an adult event, do up some fun favours for your quests. For the summer, think of drink mixes, ice cube trays and a funky glass, tied with bright ribbon. A baby shower, maybe handmade chocolates from a local shop or cake pops from your favourite bakery. Using the campout birthday example, for the parents get some gourmet s'mores made by a local chocolatier, and have them packaged in clear cello bags so you can print off a "thank you" sticker and put it on the top. Little gifts of sweetness go a long way, and aren't just for kids anymore!

5) Consider activities other than games.

This is moreso for baby and bridal showers, but we've all been to them where you have to talk to people you either don't know or have to be centred out in a large group to yell BINGO! No one likes it, so why does everyone do those silly games? Consider doing something fun and interactive, yet simple like a DIY Bib or Onesie station - all you need are blank Onesies or bibs, and paint markers...then voila! Custom gear for the mama-to-be! For a bridal shower, consider doing an advice book for the bride where people can privately write notes of advice for her, in a lovely journal for her to keep special memories in.

Whatever the case, make your event your own and choose those few things to do really really well, coordinating everything with a dominant colour or pattern. Have fun with it, and please please please...hire someone to do the cake!!

Happy planning!

Love from Sweet Stella's

Thanks for taking over for the day, Shan! I thought this post would be perfect, since I know lots of my Mommy friends will be celebrating their babies' first birthdays in the next couple months! I can't believe Carina's first birthday is less than two months away...

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