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*The Basics of Party Planning

     Sometimes when party planning, you will find an item that really sets off the theme.  Generate ideas from that element.  Match colors and designs for the banners,  favors, treat bags,  food and table elements.  Finding that one great item can be really important for pulling the main idea of the party together; especially if there are not standard items available for your party theme. 

Party Planning ChecklistThere are a lot of details to planning the perfect party.  Use this checklist to make sure
that you have the basics covered...
  • Who:  -___________________________________________
  • What:  -___________________________________________
  • Where:  -__________________________________________
  • When:  -___________________________________________
  • Time:  -___________________________________________
  • Guest List:  -__________________________________________
  • Invitations:  -__________________________________________
  • Theme:  - __________________________________________
  • Food List:  -___________________________________________
  • Beverage List:  -________________________________________
  • Cake:  -__________________________________________
  • Decorations:  -_______________________________________
  • Favors:  -___________________________________________
  • Gift Bags/Treat Bags:  -_________________________________
  • Games:  -___________________________________________
  • Activities:  -_________________________________________
  • Music:  -___________________________________________
  • Seating:  -__________________________________________
  • Parking:  -__________________________________________
  • Attire:  -___________________________________________
  • Photography/Video:  -___________________________________
  • Thank yous:  -_______________________________________
Who:  Who is the party for?  What are their interests, hobbies and favorite things, etc.?  What kind of party would they prefer?  Is it a surprise?  Think about the person you are planning for first!  Gather information in order to make it a very special day.
What:  What kind of party?  A picnic... indoor get-together... activity centered(pool, skate park, baby, etc.) ?  They are many different kinds of parties for many different kinds of people.
Where:   Location, location, location... as they say.  Location is key when planning a party.  Once you decide what kind of party it is, you need a place to have it.  Home, a hall, popular play place, the park...  ? If you are having the party at a certain place, allow weeks, even months to check availability. Parties at the local parks require permits from the parks department.  If you don't live in the county you would like the party to be in, ask a family member or friend who does, to get the permit for you.  You could save a bunch of money.  If you are having it at home, be sure your guest list and amount of space you have match up.  Always consider the possibility of rain when planning outside parties. 
When & Time:  Try to consider the best day and time to accommodate most of your guests, (family first,) and plan accordingly.  But remember, you can't please everyone!  Changing the date five times for a cousin you hardly ever see, is not necessary!  : )
Guest List:  Who are the most important people in the lives of your guest-of-honor?  Always start with family, then friends.  Think about capacity of location and again, you can't please everyone.
Food List:  First and foremost, always go with the guest of honor's favorite food.  Ask for their input in planning the menu.  Also very important...  Gather allergy information from all guests who are attending and do your best to accommodate everyone!  Do not forget to inform the guest with a food allergy of a potentially hazardous food!  I usually leave out any ingredients in all foods and treats that guests are allergic to, even if it's just one guest.  You can make the brownies with no nuts this time.  If the guest of honor loves something someone else has an allergy to, just make it for them another time.  It's not worth the risk!  Also very important...  Gather special diet information and have different options available for consumption.  Most parents of kids with food allergies and other health problems are on top of it, but you can't be to careful.  It may be a brand new thing parents are dealing with and it is easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of the day.