Seven Tips for a Great Event

Friends, I am so excited to have Jen, one of our newest sponsors, here today. She has a keen eye for decorating, keeping details sharp, simple, and classic. I wish we lived closer so we could collaborate on fabulous events, but this guest post will have to do for now. Enjoy reading her tips as you think about your own summer soirees!

+ + +

Hello fabulous readers of the Scribble Pad!

I'm Jen from Migonis Home blog where I blog about our home renovation and decorating adventures, party planning and just life stuff. Shannon and I decided to do a guest post swap today and she asked me to talk about the makings of a great party. I left my job as a full-time event planner for a college (Shannon and my alma matter) in June of 2011 to stay home with my son, Drew, full time. Since then I've taken on planning or decorating gigs and have loved working with clients to pull together that perfect party!

Let get started, shall we?

Tip One:
Everything should look well planned out. Invitations should coordinate with the placecards, the cards on the food table and the favors. It creates a flow to the entire event. Take this baby shower I threw for my best friend, Danielle... here are the invites:

Then, here is the food table (the lighting in that room made it so hard to take the photos); the item descriptors match the invitations with both colors and fonts.

None of this was done in any fancy program, either, I made the invites and the cards for the table in Word and sent them to a printer (I think you could use a Staples or a Kinkos). The cohesive feel is easy to do and it wasn't that expensive, either.

Tip Two:
When planning your guest list think through every aspect of your party. If you don't have a large budget or a large space to work with then make your party smaller, it seems basic but it is better to have a nicer meal for six of your closest friends and have some nice food than have cupcakes for 30 people (obviously there are exceptions to this rule).

While you are planning your guest list make sure that everyone knows someone else. If this isn't possible let the person who is the odd man out bring a guest. Hospitality is making people feel comfortable!

For our Easter dinner this year AJ and I made this flower box out of an old pallet. It was nice to have such a small group (five of us plus Drew) because it meant conversation was easier over just one table (I was worried it could be up to 12 people and I wasn't sure what to do...) and we could make a fun centerpiece like this because it was for just one table.

Tip Three:
Work with what you have. If you don't have bucco bucks to work with then NO problem, and I mean that. Do you want centerpieces that look fab without spending the money? Think creatively. I threw a luncheon for my girlfriends the day of my wedding and used hydrangeas growing in my mom and dad's yard and some lemons from the grocery store. It was easy and definitely worked in my budget.

Tip Four:
Choose your theme and run with it. Sometimes it's really nice to have limitations because it forces you to be creative, sometimes all you need are pops of color. For this set up I didn't have a large budget or tons of time so I used inexpensive yarn, balloons and ribbon to give the pop of red that I needed. This was for a Valentine's Day snack time after school or I made simple boxed mixed brownies and cupcakes (healthy, I know...) and added hearts or red sprinkles.

Tip Five:
Think through every aspect of your party and what could go wrong.  Lately I've been trying to only put my email address (no phone number) on invitations because I know that 90% of people have an email address now, it helps me to monitor my RSVPs and have them in a central location instead of receiving a call on my cell while I'm in the grocery store with nothing to make a note. But, monitor your guest list, know who may not have an email address and contact them yourself.

My friend Heather gives us a very good example of thinking through every aspect of a party. She threw her son a Curious George birthday party in June and it was adorable. She knew guests wouldn't know that the party was around back by the pool so she put this cute little display by the front door directing them where to go.

Tip Six:
Be creative about your meal planning. Maybe you aren't a cook. Trust me, I understand, I'm definitely more of a baker and if every party could be about desserts I'd be okay, but I'm not great at making food, that isn't appetizers, for a large crowd. Here was my solution for my son Drew's first birthday: a make your own salad bar and pizza ordered from our favorite place. It was easy and didn't make for any prep while guests were at the party. If you don't want guests to know that you bought the food then just put it into your own large serving dishes, it's an easy way to fool people. :)

Let's go back to Danielle's shower that I mentioned in the beginning. I made two frittatas and baby pancakes ahead of time and then just kept them warm in the oven. I had two people bring fruit salad and then put it in my own large bowl. I like to make sure I'm not doing a lot of work with the food while the guests are there, otherwise it'll take away from the party.

Tip Seven:
Create height in your displays, it adds interest and drama! If this was a real dinner party it wouldn't work that well because you couldn't see the person across the table from you, but something like this could be really great on a food or gift table.

Tip Eight: (I won't charge you extra for this one.)
If you are a party loving person invest in some white dishes. I find some great unique ones at Home Goods, Marshalls or TJ Maxx and they are so great and interchangeable when hosting large events.

That's all, folks! I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday and that you'll stop over to Migonis Home and introduce yourself... and really, I mean that, I thrive off emails and comments. :)


  1. Yeah! I'm glad this worked out for us to do this! It was a lot of fun writing this and having you come on over to Migonis Home. :)

  2. I love this! Thanks for sharing Shannon!

  3. These are some good tips, thanks! I love throwing parties but don't like dealing with all the details, but often those are what makes it feel that much more special.

  4. awesome ideas! i love the last table idea! so unique!

  5. Great tips!! I'm throwing a backyard BBQ this Friday and I didn't do half of this stuff-- but I guess, ya live and you learn right?? Also, trying to keep it on the casual side-- although, knowing me last minute I'll throw together some fancy buffet table. I just know myself too well.

    Also, I love the idea of the sign in the front, telling people to come to the back. Definitely doing that!



Related Posts with Thumbnails
Land Of Nod: Design for Kids and People That Used to be Kids