The peak of summer is fast approaching, and what a great opportunity to gather with friends and family for a fun backyard bash! Planning and pulling off a party that everyone will be talking about for weeks to come doesn’t have to be difficult.
Of course, I fully recognize that not every party needs to be planned to the hilt (See also, #5 on my summer bucket list), but if you love throwing a party like I do, then why not? With a little time and effort, you’ll have a bash that everyone’s sure to enjoy and remember.
I’ve talked talked before about my method for planning a party.
Here’s a little refresher:
Step 1: Get Organized. Create a page in your “Notes” app, in Evernote, or in an old-school notebook to keep all of your thoughts organized.
Step 2: Pick a theme and a color scheme and hold yourself to it. The more elements you can pull together that fit your theme, the stronger it will be.
Step 3: Seek out inspiration, both online, in places like Etsy, Pinterest, Blogs, AND in real life, dig through the toy bin, garage, garden shed, etc.
Step 4: Pull it all together. Give yourself some time before the party to start pulling everything together and finalizing details. Do as much as you can, as far in advance as you can.
Step 5: THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP- Be Present. The moment your guests arrive, no matter what you still have on your to-do list, be present with them. The whole purpose of a party is to create shared memories, and you must to be present to do that.
Now, on to the current party at hand! This backyard bash happened to be a 70th Wedding Anniversary for my grandparents. Family and friends came from far and wide to celebrate together.
I pulled inspiration from a vintage color scheme of gold, coral and mint green. I searched all of the usual places, (Etsy, Amazon, Ebay and Pinterest) for ideas and items that fit within my theme and scheme.
Tip #1: Straw Bale Seating Covered with Vintage Quilt Tops
One of the elements that I knew I wanted to incorporate was straw bale seating. I found bales at a local farm store for about $6 per bale. They provided the practical seating that we needed while also adding to the decor.
Straw bales aren’t super comfortable on their own, so I thought I could add some color, and dimension by throwing vintage quilts on top of the bales. Before planning this party, I didn’t realize how expensive quilts are! However, I found on eBay that I could purchase just the quilt TOPS (the colorful part) for about $20-30. This worked out perfectly! It added just enough thickness to cover the sharp straw, without breaking the bank.
Tip #2: Farmers Market Flowers in Mason Jars
I love to go to the local farmer’s market the day of a party and grab a bunch of gorgeous flowers. We brought 5 gallon buckets with a little water in them and picked a variety of flowers . We cut and arranged the flowers, and put them in large canning jars placed on tables and in hanging containers around the yard to add to the vintage feel. Fresh flowers bring things to a whole new level!
Tip #3: Entertainment for All Ages
Providing entertainment for all ages makes for a memorable experience. We set a variety of lawn games around the yard, including a giant DIY Connect Four. We made sure the sandbox, trampoline and swimming pool were ready to go. We arranged a water table, inflatable splash pad, and Fubbles (no spill bubbles) for the youngest party go-ers.
Tip #4: Let the Music set the Mood
Music can make or break a party, as we all know. When I was in my early twenties and planning a party, I once googled, “What music do people over 40 listen to?” No lie. I’ve since fine-tuned my playlist skills. Finding just the right mix, at just the right volume, can really crank up a party. I love to use Spotify and I spend time before the party fine-tuning the perfect playlist that someone else has created for a similar party. (Oldies playlists work really well for a mixed age crowd). Pandora and Apple Music have similar features as well. (Also note, it’s important to take into consideration where your guests will be seated, and make sure the speakers are a good distance from all guests.)
Tip #5: Splurge on Fun Party Accessories
Let me tell you about my popcorn machine, because, HELLO! POPCORN! This is what I asked my husband to get me for our 10th wedding anniversary. Romantic, right? My love of a good party runs DEEP. Wondering where I would find such a gem? Craigslist, of course. (Someday soon I’ll have to do a post on how everything I own has come from Craigslist. I talk about it a little in this interview.)
I think it’s OK to have a few fun party accessories on hand, like the popcorn machine, good outdoor speakers, comfortable outdoor seating, yard games, etc. Although they take up some storage space, they can really make things fun!
Tip #6: Before Your Guests Arrive- Be your own Guest
I try to walk myself through the party from start to finish, as if I were a guest. Not literally, of course, but just a little run-through in my mind. Does this make me sound a little crazy? Hopefully not! And hopefully it’s helpful for you too.
Here are few questions you could ask yourself:
Is the entrance to the party welcoming and inviting?
Does the music greet guests and set the mood?
Is there a place for shoes/coats/gifts?
Can my guests easily access drinks/appetizers/food?
Is the flow to and from the food/drinks comfortable?
Do my guests know where the bathrooms are located? I try to leave a basket of essential items in the bathroom of things that someone might need, like a breath mint, hairspray, and personal items. It’s is much appreciated in an emergency.
Is there a place for people to comfortably sit and chat? A variety of seating in smaller groups works very well.
If it’s particularly warm outside, are there ice cold drinks for everyone outside as well as inside?
Is there a place for trash and recycling? It works well to have them outside and inside.
Are things in their place? Make a quick scan and grab anything left out accidentally.
Summertime is such a great opportunity to soak in the sun and make the most of the long days and warm nights. I hope your summer is filled with wonderful, memory making gatherings and that these tips help you along the way.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post.
I’d love to hear from you,
What are your best tips for hosting a great party?