Party Planning 101

Once you have a child, you can expect to have a house full of people every year for their birthday.

Here are a few of the things that I have learned that make party planning a whole lot easier.

Here are a few of the items I know I will always need to put on my shopping list:


  • Paper Plates
  • Plastic Silverware
  • Plastic Cups
  • Table Cloths


  • Food (see ideas below)
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • Alcoholic Beverage
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Condiments


  • Game / Cards

Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned over the years:

  • You can always put out more food but you can’t always save extras that sat out all-day
  • If you have helpers, assign everyone a job for the day as soon as they get there so that you don’t have to keep reminding people what you need help with throughout the day  (greeter, filling up empty food dishes, emptying the garbage, writing down who gave each gift)

I have come to find, that when it comes to the food that is provided at parties people love variety. Here are a few of my favorite party menu themes:

Cheese Burger Bar

  • Beverage: Milkshakes in Mason Jars
  • Items in Bar: Burger Toppings (relish, mustard, mayo, pickles, fried eggs, onion straws)
  • Side Dish: Season your own French Fries
  • Decor: Cookout/Grilling, red and white table cloths, baskets instead of plates)

Sundae Bar

  • Beverage: Soda (of Juice) in Tall Ice Cream Glasses with Red and White Striped Straws
  • Items in Bar: Multiple Flavors of Ice Cream, Sprinkles, Waffle and Cake Cones, Fudges, Syrups and Sauces, Marshmallows, Fruit, and Candy.
  • Side Dish: Small Sandwiches
  • Decor: This could go in two different directions
    • Option A: Sprinkle Theme – Bright Colors and “Sweet” Quotes
    • Option B: 50’s Sock Hop / Retro
  • Notes: I avoid the inclusion of Peanuts unless you are certain all of your guests are positive they don’t have allergies.

Taco Bar

  • Beverage: Margaritas (or beverages in Margarita glasses)
  • Items in Bar:  Meat/Seafood, Salsas,
  • Side Dish: Chips and Salsa
  • Decor: I like to go with bright fun colors (orange, red, yellow) and white table cloths.
  • Notes: If you are putting out a variety of salsa flavors, make sure to label them so everyone knows what to expect.

Cookie Exchange

  • Beverage: Milk in Mugs
  • Items in Bar: Cookies from each participant (for the tasting contest of course)
  • Side Dish: Chicken Noodle Soup in Mugs
  • Decor: Think simple and romantic. You should feel like it’s the night before Christmas. Excited but SO comfortable.
  • Notes: Tell everyone to wear their pajamas (assuming that’s appropriate for the crowd).

What are some of your favorite tips, tricks, and tasty treats?

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