Party Planning.

31 Jan

What a wealth of expertise we have within our own MomTime walls!  The four panelists helping us plan purposeful parties are MomTime veterans:

Anna Clark, Certified Meeting Professional, Neva Meetings and Events
Kim Hicks, Professional Chef and Special Events/Marketing at Wine Cellars (the Bottleshop) of Stapleton
Leah Oliver, Mom and occasional birthday party planner
Heather Weldon, former corporate event planner, entertaining aficionado and mom of two

The ladies shared their best practices for party planning – involving their kids (when appropriate) to brainstorm birthday party themes and create invitations, Excel spreadsheets for all your to-do and to-make items, homemade invitation ideas, and how to present the humble cheese & crackers plate in a way that will impress your guests.

Kim’s cheese plate BEFORE:
20140131_105309(dump cheese and crackers on a plate)

Kim’s cheese plate AFTER:
20140131_105326(elevate the board/platter on an upturned bowl or chafing dish draped with a small tablecloth, arrange the food artfully, garnish with fresh herbs and fruit)

To download their presentation with resources, tips, and lots of photos of past parties, click here: Purposeful Parties

Other resources:

Miscellaneous tips:

  • Don’t feel that your home needs to be perfect/clean to invite people over.  And don’t feel the need to cook either.  Buy store-bought prepared foods, put them in simple white dishes, and serve them to your guests.  They are looking to spend time with you, not to critique a gourmet meal. Use Kim’s line “I didn’t make it, but someone else did!”
  • On the day of your party, put the to-do/to-serve list on a cabinet where helpers can see what is left to be done.  That way your husband, mom, best friend don’t all have to keep coming to you to ask what else they can do – they can consult the list and stay out of your hair.
  • If you child receives an abundance of birthday gifts at a party, have them choose an agreed-upon number to play with immediately, and put the rest away for later… a snowy or rainy day, a night with a new babysitter, etc.  This way your child can fully appreciate the gifts and remember who gave them to him or her.
  • The dollar store is a great place to buy paper plates, party decorations, and favors for birthday parties, baby showers, etc.  The closest one to Park Hill and Stapleton is at Colfax & Elm St.
  • When decorating for a party, consider keeping the decor focused in one room for the most impact.  For example, tie balloons to the chairs and hang the majority of decorations in the dining room – or whichever room will be used most for the party.
  • Call local community resources to see if they will serve as free party “entertainment” – for example, over the years Leah has called the local fire station, police station, a veterinarian, and monster truck enthusiasts club to visit or host her kids’ parties.  Ask her for details.
  • Try to prep as much as possible prior to the actual party – decor, crafts/activities, food, favors.  If you are making the cake yourself, you can bake the cake and freeze it up to 2 weeks in advance (tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and foil) and make frosting up to 3 days ahead (refrigerate immediately, then bring to room temp the morning of your party).
  • Remember that MOST of the parties you see on Pinterest, blogs, and planning websites are styled and executed by paid party planners – they are not just thrown together by busy moms at the last minute!

If you have tips or ideas to share, please leave a comment…

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