Party Guide | Celebration Stylist | Popular Party Planning Blog

Party Guide

I'm so excited to share my Party Guide with you! I've worked so hard on it to create the most comprehensive, DIY party guide I could with easy to follow instructions. I've been styling and planning parties since 2005 so I have lots of party tips to share with you. Join our Facebook Group to see some great parties ideas, ask for help, and share your parties too.

Plan Your Party - The Ultimate Party Guide

how to set up a cake table for a party

How To Plan Your Own Party Step By Step:

1. First you need a Location, Date, and Time.

Figure out where you'd like to host your event, keeping in mind, your budget and estimated number of guests. The time of your party will determine the food you serve which will also reflect on your budget. Plan on providing more food if your event falls during a mealtime. 

2. Pick a Party Theme

Start looking for party inspiration and create a Pinterest board to help define your theme and any ideas you love. Once you have chosen a theme for your party, you will be able to pick out your invitations.

3. Send out Invitations

Decide on email invites or traditional printed invitations. For most events, "e-vites" are the way to go. Evite and Pingg are the best for emailed invitations. For printed invites, I love Etsy and Minted. Usually about a month in advance is the best time to send out party invitations. 

4. Plan and Order Your Food, Drinks, and Dessert

Based on the time of your event, figure out your menu {don't forget drinks & dessert} and determine where you will be catering from or if you will be cooking. Unless it's a small dinner party, for most events, I usually recommend catering to avoid getting overwhelmed on a day that should be enjoyable. Catering doesn't have to be as expensive as it sounds. My personal favorite for catering casual events is Chipotle because it's inexpensive to feed a lot of people and your guests can create their own dish to their liking.

5. Plan Your Activities

What will you do at your party? You'll want to plan out any activities and make a list of supplies that you'll need. If you are having a cocktail party, for example, you may not need any activities at all. If you are hosting a kids birthday party or maybe a baby shower, try to imagine what your guests will do while they are there. I usually recommend self serve activities for parties. Whatever you decide, be sure to make a music playlist to play in the background too, every party should have music even if there isn't dancing. 

6. Time Line

Certainly not every party needs a scheduled time line. If you are hosting a dinner party or a cocktail party for example, you probably don't need to plan that out so specifically. However if you are hosting a birthday party or bridal shower, for example, you will need to have a basic idea of when you'll be playing games, serving food, and cutting cake. For parties like this, as a general rule, 2 hours is the ideal amount of time. Cue the Confetti includes timelines and party planning sheets for all types of parties.

7. Layout

While you're planning, try to come up with a basic idea of how you want the layout of the party. Some of it, you will just figure out as you set up but having somewhat of a plan will save you time on the day of the party.  Decide in advance what areas you want to decorate and where they will go. Consider the cake table, seated tables, gift tables, food and drink tables, and any activities too.

8. Party Decorations

Your party decor will depend on the theme your chose, of course. Take a good look at the pictures you saved for inspiration. What do you love the most in each one? Do they have anything in common?

Don’t feel the need to decorate every inch of your party space. Try to focus your efforts in just a few areas like a cake table or a bar cart. Generally, you'll want a welcome sign at the entrance, a party focal point, like the cake table, and centerpieces for any seated tables. For cake tables, I always recommend cake stands as part of the decor for cakes, desserts, drinks, props, almost anything! Also, consider what’s behind your party focal point. You may need a backdrop of some kind.

My absolute favorite places to buy party supplies from are Amazon and Target. Visit our Amazon storefront where we have saved some of our favorite party supplies on Prime. For more unique themes, you can always find something on EtsyBeau-coup and Etsy are my favorite sources for party favors.

Pro Tip: Try to imagine walking through your party as a guest. What will they see and do from the moment they walk in? Consider serving drinks on a bar cart by the door for guests to grab on their way in or have a clear route to an activity or food so they aren't standing around awkwardly.

Party Guide - What You'll Need for the Perfect Cake Table:

how to create a cake table or dessert table for a party
Place food, other drinks, and activities on separate tables. 
For a kids party, swap out the "pretty drinks" for cute party favors. 

Some of the links above may be affiliate links meaning if you click and make a purchase,
I may receive commission at no additional cost to you.