There are a few major categories you need to focus on when deciding to have a party.
*WWWWW&H: Who (the guest list) What (what are you celebrating) When (the time and date) Where (party spot) Why (do we need a reason to throw a party? the answer is really no) & How ($$$- Budget and enlist a party planning partner in crime, mine is always without a doubt mi madre…THANKS MOM!)
*Decorations (this is when your theme comes into play)
*Music (make a party playlist)
*Activities (break out them board games or create some fun games of your own!)
*Food (what are you serving; appetizers? dinner? or both?) *Beverages (alcoholic, soda, water, coffee, tea?) *Dessert (cake, cookies, fruit platter?)
*Favors (something for your guest to take home)
*Attire (do you want your guests to dress in costume, or dress up glamorously or do you wanna keep things casual cool….and hey I’d never knock a pajama party!)
So once you map out your party, now it’s time to get things going. Let me walk you through my Girls Gala, I recently had this past weekend for Valentine’s Day or should I say Gal-entine’s Day.
My Guest List always includes friends that I’ve known for quite some time. They are made up of childhood friends, high school friends, my brother’s girlfriend who has been in my life since college and a best friend who I’ve known basically my entire life. Life gets busy and it’s not like how it used to be that we’d all hang out every Friday night playing rock band or dance dance revolution or spending way too many long hours overstaying our welcome at Starbucks or various local restaurants. So when we do get together it’s really special to all of us.
I’m a big fan of hosting parties so I usually do them in my home, it saves me a fee to rent out a place, and you just have more flexibility with what you can do. For this particular Valentine’s Day party I knew that having it on Valentine’s Day would have just been rude, considering most of my friends have boyfriends, so I opted to have my party the night before. I wanted to have something for just us girls to celebrate our friendships and the bonds we’ve formed over the past years. You don’t need to be in love to celebrate a day based on love. I love all my girls so this was my gift to them.
….are my favorite part! I love having a theme for my parties. I just feel like it gives you more to work with visually. So being that this was a Valentine’s Day party I color schemed a lot of pinks, reds, whites, and purples. Hearts, Cupids, and Roses, all that jazz. I also love a good bargain so most of the stuff I purchased was from the dollar store.
I love music, I feel like the right playlist can just instantly transfer the mood of a party. For my party I opted to include a lot of the romantic vocal stylings of Justin Timberlake (uh duh?), Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, and a few others. Hey I may be single but I can appreciate a good love song. 😉 But you know it’s never wrong to throw little Tay Swift in the mix, and have a little “shake it off” dance party…which we did. And I have proof.
Ok this is an important one… (Aren’t they all?)
-The last party I hosted was my 80’s party for my birthday last year, and although we all had a good time, I felt like I didn’t have any activities to occupy our time. So this time I did a little online researching and came up with some fun valentine inspired games to play. It gets your guests to loosen up and since it was after a long work day for most it was a stress release too. Grab a glass of wine and laugh as your friend tries to act out weird things during charades. Or blindfold them and tell them to “Kiss the Stud”… isn’t Oliver cute? (Where my “How To Get Away With Murder” fans at….Oliver is my favorite!)
-I also had a little “activity box” if you will, full of fun little games that the guest could play in between dinner and dessert. I filled it with games like fortune-teller; Who’s Your Celebrity Valentine?, Marry Kiss or Ditch, M.A.S.H (who remembers MASH?), and labeled them and left the box on the couch for my guests to open at their leisure.
-Build your own Photo booth.
I did this at my 80’s party and it was huge hit! So I had to do one again this time around. Throw up a funky curtain and set up a prop table with funky hats, sunglasses, scarves, accessories and make some saying sticks and Viola homemade photo booth! Seeing as it was Valentine’s Day inspired I opted for conversation heart colors and wrote some funny quotes and sayings on them. You can even make a hashtag, so that when your guests post to social media you can easily find all the images in one place! I love taking pictures, I feel like you are making memories when you take pictures, and although being present in life is important it’s nice to have those images to look back on, because 20 years from now memories may alter or fade but pictures bring you back to that moment.
*Food, *Beverages, *Desserts
It makes me crazy when people ask me if they should eat before coming. Like what? Do you not know me? I’m a foodie, and I will never host a party without FOOD??? With that being said, for my Girls Gala I opted for a healthy meal to balance out a very UN-healthy dessert spread.
-My Menu consisted of:
-Appetizers: A cinnamon dip with pita chips and a salty/sweet popcorn, pretzels, Swedish Fish mix.
-Dinner: Sliced Grilled chicken (marinated overnight in Lemon Pepper marinade) Grilled on a George Foreman Grill. Served on sourdough bread with either a choice of an avocado spread or a roasted pepper.
To go along with that I made a spinach salad topped with feta cheese, walnuts, olive oil & vinegar dressing, and strawberries!
-Dessert: I made heart-shaped sugar cookies and Chocolate chip cookies with m&m’s and mini fruit kabobs. Then my friends each brought something which I didn’t expect and we ended having an entire spread! I mean it is Valentine’s Day….don’t judge us!
-Beverages: All of my friends and I are of age so I set up a little wine tasting station, I had a few bottles of wine in my house and champagne and one of my friends brought sangria and another brought a few other bottles of wine so we had quite a good selection. I also like to have some soda on hand and water for other non-alcoholic options. And tea and coffee in case anyone wants a cup with their desserts.
Now this is an optional step, not everyone does it, but I usually like to let my guests leave with a little something. So I decided to do a mini candy bar. Where they could make their own candy bags as they left. I mean in all that dessert where was the chocolate? It isn’t Valentine’s Day without the chocolate! And near the candy bar I placed some handmade paper fortune cookies for my guest to open, they were filled with inspirational, feel good quotes.
When I sent out my mass text (so fancy….But I do have a way with words…) I initially said to get dressed up. We all settled for a more casual dress up vibe. Nothing too crazy, but I have to say… were my girls working the red lips or what? I’m so proud. I opted for a pink shade lip and stuck to the color that never goes out of style…black, for my outfit. With a few fuchsia pink accents and gold jewelry. Basically I have these fuchsia pink heels that I use any excuse to wear them. And by wear them I mean they come on and off throughout the party. Hence I’m not a heels girl, I love my fuzzy socks more than anything. I’m siting here wearing a Valentine’s Day pair right now as I type!
So there you have it, my go to party planning tips. When all is said and done and the stress of planning is over with, I can sit back knowing my friends enjoyed themselves and looking at the pictures we took I know that it was one for the books. Check out some photo booth snap shots below!
Thank you ladies for being your amazing selves!
So folks whether you’re single, in a relationship, kinda sort of maybe seeing someone, you are loved by someone (most likely many someones #family #friends.) And what better way to reciprocate that love than by throwing your girlfriends an awesome GNI (girls night in).
** All images and videos are my own**
(I apologize for the crappy quality vlog camera…
but at least my photo booth pics are on point!)