As mentioned in my post last week, my mum will shortly be leaving full-time employment. Cue lots of party poppers, champagne and Pinterest boards. My sister and I have just started to plan the details of a garden party to celebrate her new found freedom so these party planning tips from Alyssa at Peach Blossom couldn’t come at a better time. We’re planning a hefty dessert display but can’t decide between a rustic or more elegant style. Decision, decisions. After getting completely frazzled hosting parties in the past, one things for sure, we’ll definitely be asking folk to bring along a cake or two! Over to Alyssa…
I think it’s so important to celebrate and add magic to most moments in life. Whether it’s a birthday, graduation or you haven’t seen your loved ones in a while, making those moments extra special will have you and your guests treasuring them for years to come. But, as fun as it to entertain and get together with your friends and family, it can feel daunting playing the host so I’ve put together some tips to have you planning parties like a pro.
Have A Theme
You don’t need to be really specific about a theme for your party (unless you want a Frozen theme, of course!) You just need to think about what ‘look’ you want your party to have. Do you want classic, neutral colours for a laid back dinner or do you want a brightly coloured garden party? Having a theme in mind allows you to make decisions about your party quickly and simply because all you have to think is, ‘will this idea match my party theme?’. To get the ball rolling, think about who your guests will be, where the party will be held and your own or the guest of honour’s tastes.
Manage Guests Expectations
When sending out invitations be clear to guests what they can expect at your party. Will they be having a full three course meal, buffet food, nibbles or just sweet treats? If it’s a children’s party, make it clear to parents whether they can stay for the duration of the party or whether you just want them to drop off and collect their child at a set time. This might sound a little controlled but it actually makes for a more relaxed affair because everyone is on the same page.
Manage Your Own Expectations
It can be incredibly easy to get sucked in to the mountain of ideas you’ll no doubt find on Pinterest but don’t feel like you should be using every single one of them for your party. Choosing to DIY every piece of decor and then baking and cooking all the food is only going to leave you in a meltdown and you certainly won’t enjoy the party if you’re tired. Select the most important elements to you and stay within your comfort zone (don’t attempt a dish for the first time at the party!). If you want to focus on decor, buy in the food or ask friends and family to bring some dishes. If you want the food to be centre stage, choose some really simple decor (see below). Don’t be afraid to delegate either, you don’t have to pull everything off by yourself and people like to help. If someone offers to get stuck in, let them pour some drinks or put out tableware and serveware so that you can concentrate on more important elements.
You might think that decorating for a party means you need to decorate your entire home or venue but this can feel overwhelming. Instead, choose one area or one focal point to decorate (this is why dessert tables work so well!). Whether it’s a birthday party, baby shower or engagement party, you can put all your energy in to just dressing the table with food, desserts, accessories and decorations. Even without a dessert table, there are plenty of ways to decorate a space. Some of my favourite simple but effective decor pieces are: Honeycomb Balls which you just open out and, *ta-da*, they’re ready to be clustered together for a pop of colour. I also love Crepe Paper Streamers, which are so versatile and long, meaning you can hang them straight down a wall to create a backdrop or drape them around your venue to instantly transform the room. Finally, Ribbon is my go-to when it comes to dressing up a table or space – I put it on everything. For example, you could add a bow on the back of each chair, tie ribbon around cutlery for a simple place setting or wrap ribbon around vases or serving dishes to instantly dress them up. These ideas sound simple but each makes for a thought-out touch which will transform your party, and guests love attention to detail!
Vibrant and creative party brand Peach Blossom is an online boutique filled with stylish and original party and wedding decorations. Founder, Alyssa Williamson, has always loved planning and styling parties and saw a need to inject some fresh inspiration into the party market and decided to offer an exciting alternative to the more traditional party and wedding decorations.
Having spent years sourcing beautiful decorations and helping others plan their weddings and parties, she now has the challenge of planning her own wedding having recently got engaged!
Make your guests feel at home whether they’re in your home or at a venue. Consider small touches like making sure there are enough serving spoons for a buffet or labelling food so guests don’t have to keep asking you what something is. Thinking about the party from the guests’ point of view can go a long way in helping everyone feel relaxed. Try to stay flexible to what might happen before or during a party; some guests might have forgotten to RSVP and might just show up or some may not turn up at all. Decide ahead of time that this isn’t an issue and be prepared to make slight adjustments at the last minute. If mistakes happen, keep schtum. Without a doubt, your guests won’t even notice so don’t shine a light on anything you think is less than perfect. And most of all, relax so you can enjoy yourself. If you’re having fun, your guests will too!
Are you hosting any parties over the summer? Any great plans for food or decorations? Any other tips you’d like to share for ensuring you’re the hostess with the mostess?
Photography | Pippa Heath