Aug 2, 2012

PARTY PLANNING TIPS , STYLING TIPS& SOME DIY DESSERT BUFFET TIPS

Having worked in the party/event planning and styling industry for a number of years which was part of my drive to set up Little big Co store and as a party planner and event stylist I thought I would share some ideas with you re doing your own party table and organising your own party -  at LBC we get alot of emails and I thought I would share some tips-  and I would love to read about your ideas too! After Alphabet Street asked me to write some party tips thought I would share some with our blog readers.

Stay tuned for a party we are doing on a tight budget, we have been set a task to do a party within a small budget and we are going to share that with you very soon.. We will be doing a Super Hero 30+ party - I love getting bargains and finding and creating things to make a party super fun. So looking forward to sharing this with you and sharing how we did it.

We absolutely LOVE receiving your parties, so keep those coming through to info@littlebigcompany.com.au

Most of these suggestions are common sense but I thought I would share a party checklist for you to be able to do your own party and have some planning tips for the day.

  1. Pick a theme, some theme ideas...

-  Favourite Colours, Sports Team Colour etc, Fairies, Pirates, Tea party, Olympics, Jungle Party, Sugar and Spice, Safari, Pink Party, Princess, Dinosaurs, Space, Snow white, The Hungry Caterpillar, Space party, Pirate party, Milk and Cookies party, Sugar and Spice, Pinwheel party, Paper Doll Party, favourite book themes, Ice-cream party, cupcake decorating party, train party, Paris party, Teddy Bear's Picnic, Rainbow Party, Cooking party, Fashion Party, Winter Wonderland, Hot Air Balloon Party, Honey Bee Party, Hoot Party, Pink Party, Hunger Games party, Dorothy Dinosaur, Dora Party, Construction party, Wild Wild West party, Cowboy party, Pony Party, Polkadot party

Create a moodboard, cut out magazine photos, buy a notebook, I carry around a notebook all the time,  or do it online with some free collage programs, put all your favourite photos and inspiration into one moodboard, http://www.pinterest.com is a great resource for party inspiration. Also there are great party companies on Facebook for getting some fabulous inspiration from.






Dala Horse Baby Shower by The Little Big Company, Just Call me Martha and Lily ChicEvents..We picked a theme, collated a moodboard and sourced all the things that we needed from that moodboard to create the Dala Horse Party above. To see where we got everything click here, Vessels from The Little Big Company online store photography by See be Art photography


Swizzle Sticks from The Little Big Company

DESSERT OR CANDY BUFFET

1. Pick a Theme - I have some theme ideas here on my PINBOARD, it's always a good idea to work out where you are going to place your table and if at different venue check out the space where you are going to have it, book your cake and sweets maker asap as they get booked in very quickly.

2. Gather your party props- printables, backdrops, balloons etc 

We bought this plastic Fence from The Reject Shop to use for a party table, it was $10 we added it with things from our store here



This Metal Flower Cart we got from Dealsdirect online a similar one here  for $29.95 for our Magic Faraway Tree party, we painted it white.


We got this flower cart on sale at Deals direct for $20! we painted it white, flowers by Velvet Lily Florist, photography by Lee Bird Photography

3. work on desserts for the table, work on how many desserts you need for the amount of people, say you are allocating 3 desserts each to a person. Work on the symmetry of the table, balance, height... how many jars you will need, cake stands etc  - I like to do a mock up in my notebook..plan your backdrop some printable designers do great backdrops like Style Me Gorgeous, Green Beansie Ink, Ham and Pea Paperie, Lajari, Little Soiree and many more all found on the web.


All Jars, cake stands, beverage dispenser from The Little  Big Company, Our work with Just Call Me Martha, The Inspired Occasion and Love JK printables

4. Work out how much candy you need for the jars. Colour coordinate the candy, we have Rock Candy Swizzle Sticks here and lollipops here at Little big Company, it's a great idea to have different size jars and also remembering how much candy you require for the jars.


Jars from The Little Big Company  photography by Lee Bird Photography
5. Spotlight is a great place to buy things for your party table, like ribbon for the jars, fiskars cutters for the printables (for the cupcake toppers- tag toppers) Spotlight is also great for the foam risers, or bunnings is a great place for small crates to put your cake or Jars on...


Cowboy party with Just Call Me Martha, Ham N Pea Paperie and Design and Petit Atelier photography by Sofi P Photography

6 The Reject Shop is great for affordable props, like a wagon wheel (for a cowboy party) or a boat for a nautical party, or an eiffel tower for a paris party. Or search your local op shop for affordable party props. IKEA is great for tall wooden candleholders for plates...



This IKEA frame for $1.99 is perfect for Candy or Dessert Buffet Welcome Signs


Some quick tips- we have a theme, then we work on a backdrop intitially, if we get a printed backdrop which we work with a printable designer with,  which we usually get printed off at Officeworks on a 2 metre by 1 metre paper backdrop,  a backdrop that you get a printable designer to do via etsy.com (search party printables and some of the designers do them) and get your lolly jar tags at the same time, which you get when you search "party printables" on the etsy site and you are responsible for printing those off at a printer, or DIY at home or Officeworks or you can also buy premade ones off various party printable companies. 

For a backdrop, you can also put a piece of fabric up behind the table and tape it on the wall or make your own streamers, or place a canvas as the backdrop or a beautiful print or poster, or paper fans..the skys the limit with backdrop, some wall decals look fab for a backdrop aswell.


BACKDROP IDEAS FOR YOUR DESSERT OR CANDY BUFFET/PARTY TABLE


Using a Wall Decal like this Love Mae Decal, which is a tea party theme you can buy here


Paris Wall Decal perfect for a backdrop for a Paris Party from here

Places like Backdrop Addiction has fantastic Backdrops for your party

Crumbs of Comfort Cake Design used Backdrop's Addiction backdrop for her party, photograph by Musie J photography



Just Call Me Martha used this great Paris Wall Decal for her Paris in Winter Party Below

Paris in Winter Party by Just Call Me Martha


Examples of how we have used Backdrops for our parties

Hot Air Balloon by The Little Big Company featuring our Swizzle Sticks, Favour Bags and Jars, Backdrop by Green Beansie Ink and Printables by Ham N Pea Design and Paperie

Little Big Company collaboration with Just Call Me Martha and Lily  Chic Events, Leoni from Just Call Me Marthafound a beautiful piece of fabric which we double sided table to the wall and we used the paper fans from The Little Big Company online store to add a few more styling details, photography by Clair Bremmer photography

Some other ideas for placing behind your party table..

Some paper fans or honeycomb lanterns to use at the backdrop



or Paper Fans


I absolutely love this backdrop that Lily made herself

Lily from Lily Chic Events Handmade this paper flower backdrop, I say very creative!


You want to add height on the table so foam covered risers with pretty paper, fabric or ribbon is a great idea to place your jars on.  We usually get our foam risers from Spotlight. Then work on the design for the table, for instance we might place 12 cookies, 12 cupcakes, 12 cake pops, a cake, to balance the table with corresponding numbers for the food styling part of it.


Sharnel Dollar Designs has a great tutorial on how to make a beautifully decorated foam risers with paper, see her photo below.

If you go to her blog which full of party ideas and her gorgeous parties you will see the tip




We used foam risers with ribbon on them below wrapped around them for this party below, printables from Love JK Cake and sweet treats by Just Call Me Martha joint styling with The Inspired Occasion, Little Big Company and Just Call Me Martha
All jars, vessels, cakes stand, mini milk bottles from THE LITTLE BIG COMPANY







Little Big Company Pink and Paisley Tea Party which we used boxes bought from our local $2 store, Cake pops by The Inspired Occasion and Printables by Green Beansie Jars and cake stands from The Little Big Company store


  1. Gather up your Shopping List and work on a budget, it's important to work on a budget and try and stick to it.

Tally approximate Food and beverage costs, it's really important to stick to a budget, also sometimes it's handy to place one or two items for the party in your shopping trolley weeks before the event, so it doesn't get overwhelming prior to the event. Some op shops have bits of lace, ribbon, buttons or beautiful belt embellishments which you can use as jar decorations. The $2 Shops have great boxes for risers for your Dessert or Candy buffet.



Shopping List:

Cake 
Cupcakes
Cookies
Printables
Printing of Printables
Party Food
Beverages
Glass Apothecary Jars
Ribbon
Bunting
Balloons
Party Favours
Table Cloth
Cutlery
Paper Napkins
Lollies
Drinking cups: Paper/Plastic or Hire of glasses
NB: Homemade decorations can be cost free or cheaper. If children and other family members and friends gather to make the decorations this adds to the fun, anticipation, family and/or community spirit.  Their are some great DIY party decorations on http://www.pinterest.com

Some great ideas for Party food are fruit in cupcake wrappers

Like this great idea from The Sugar Therapist where she used fruit to place in these paper cupcake wrappers.



Another food idea, chocolate mousse placed in small glasses below



2.  Organise Venue


Confirm where you are going to have the party, if you are going to have it at home or at another venue, (make sure if you are having it another venue ie a hired hall that insurance costs are covered by the hall or you may have to be covered for insurance yourself)

-          Access and distance to Venue

Directions:  Apart from providing address on invitations consider whether the location is not generally known to guests and/or out-of-town guests.   Supply a map on the back of the invitation or a loose insert map .

- Universal Accessibility:

When choosing a venue, consider guests level of ability and disability.
Ramp, lift or ground-floor off street access may be required.  This is also helpful to parents with prams.

-Parking

If you are having party at home or at a different venue, just make sure there is enough parking in the street available or in front of your house , or if there is a specific place you would like your guests to park, just let them know by slipping in a note within the invitation, let your neighbours know if you are having a party and give them advance warning.

You could always buddy up arrangements for transport and parking.

If organising an event of approximately 100 to 140 people ask a friend to be parking monitor.


Make sure you have Signage

- at Venue
- written signs
- traditional balloon on the gatepost for children‘s parties etc..


  1. Invitations
Invitations should be organised atleast 6- 8weeks before the party and ideally sent out four weeks before the event. So if you organise those via your printable designer. We print our printables off at Officeworks on card stock, ask Officeworks to print off one to give you an example

With the invitations make sure:

 You have the right numbers.

RSVP required for catering purposes.  Cut off date for response - for venue booking requirements etc.

With invitations consider your quantity of guests = quantity of food and liquid refreshment required and refer back to your budget with considerations such as Appropriate food and refreshment for age groups. Also sometimes it's a great idea to place a little note in the envelope please let us know if their is any Dietary considerations or allergy considerations.

If applicable:  Dress requirements

(A couple of days before your party ring up any guests who have not responded, with our busy lives sometimes people forget to RSVP)

4. Make Sure Before your party.

That you have appropriate Beverages for thirsty active children.
That you have checked that no children have any allergies.

Some beverage ideas e,g, Punch fountain of pomegranate juice mixed with ginger ale for adults (recipe from Nigella Lawson) and look great with the Little Big Company Beverage Dispenser

Fruit juice/cordial punch for children and adults alike especially in summer.  Keep enough supplies in frig for refill/top up.




The Beverage Dispenser which we have in different sizes, see the one Gallon one which we used for our nautical party buy here at Little Big company which is great for parties. 

Our Mini Milk Glass Bottles from The Little Big Company at $1.95 each and Retro Straws available at The Little Big Company online store are a great way to serve up drinks, juice or colour coordinated cordial!





5. Pets 

Make sure pets are placed away in a safe area away from the party.


6  Party Room Considerations

Make space for your party, draw up a plan of your party table and what the room is going to look like in your notebook.

Depending on the type of party and how much activity planned e.g. dancing, musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey/pg etc. 

Remove delicate or precious items.

Moving furniture for extra space

Hiring/borrowing chairs

Supplying sufficient tabletop space for food

Table protector under cloth

Music provision

Check electrical cords out of harms way

Check candles position e.g. not near curtains.


7. Behind the Scenes Team requirements: 

Food preparation space

If having at another venue BYO Rubber gloves/aprons/supply or byo tea towels/ rubbish bags for quick cleanup of plastic cups/paper plates etc.

Gladwrap/alfoil

Ovens, Microwaves
Hot Water Urns
Breadboards/breadknives/can and bottle openers.

Mugs for tea and coffee for workers!

Supply large container of Wet Wipes for sticky fingers and easy clean of fingermarks on sofas etc and other accidents.

8. Household preparation:

 Household cleaning.

Winter/wet weather considerations:  Place for coats and umbrellas.

Place to change babies.

Bathroom supplies adequate:  toilet paper/handtowels/soap

Make sure chemicals and medication is placed up high and away from kids reach.

9. Wet Weather Plan

Alternative shelter arrangements.

e.g.  If an outdoor bbq or picnic or concert is organised outdoors, is there a nearby room or verandah big enough to shelter under I.e. what is Battle Plan “B”

10. Floral arrangements.

Flowers themed to event or to colour d├ęcor of house. 
Other decoration.

Baubles/Shells/Pinecones (sprayed to colour theme) driftwood, birds animals and butterflies in various materials source from family collections or purchase.

And of course most important of all

11. Acknowledgements and Thankyous

For a big party If speeches are being made add Thankyous and acknowledgements to volunteers and donors etc.
For a small childrens party:
Write/emails thankyous to the children for their presents.


TIMELINE

So a brief summary/check list with approx dates, this is just a loose schedule..

8 weeks before party – Set your party budget - Create a Theme, make a moodboard, collect ideas in a notebook, paste magazine pictures or go on sites such as http://www.pinterest.com to create an online pinboard for your party.

8 - 12 weeks before the party – organize the cake with cake maker or if you are doing it, plan what cake you are going to do in terms of design. Some cake makers are booked months in advance.

6 weeks before the party – organise invitations, confirm numbers, send out invitations- have a start and finish time on the invitations

6- 8 weeks before the party,always organise your personalized party printables with the party printable designer, get cupcake toppers, bunting, labels for food on the table


A couple of  weeks before the party, buy all the treats for your party favour bags or boxes, buy party decorations, have a large box or a big plastic $2 striped candy bag with handles and put everything in there ready for the party or those clear boxes with lids that you can buy from your local Reject shop. Refer back to your budget

1 week  before the party, confirm numbers, ring anyone that hasn’t responded, make sure you check if anyone has any allergies

A couple of days before the party, go food shopping, include tea and coffee/ milk some food for adults  too if they decide to stay if you  are having a children’s party, refer to your budget and shopping list.
  • Set up your party table/Dessert Table/Candy buffet the night before, iron the tablecloth, place jars and the coordinated candy 
  • Prepare all the party favour bags or boxes a couple of days before, some ideas for party favour bags are lollipops, stickers, fruit, pencils, notepads, plastic jewellery, samll plastic balls, make sure all the decorations are ready, make sure all the prizes for the party are ready and wrapped

  • Make sure you have planned all the party games and activities and set out an allocated area for the party games. Sometimes you have to be flexible because it depends on the childrens ages, pass the parcel, circus tricks, pin the tail on the donkey, egg races, find the feather hunt, treasure hunt, make crafts as an activity sometimes one feature on the day is enough, like make a craft activity and other quick and easy games for the kids

  • Have a timeline/schedule on a piece of paper how the party is going to run (this doesn’t necessarily work on the day – but it’s a great piece of paper to refer back to, ie pass the parcel first, make a craft second, eat cake…etc)

  • Check out your local paper or weather website for the weather report, checking parking is available, if at another venue - confirm venue, confirm insurance if you are having it at another venue, confirm with the cake maker that you are going to pick up the cake the day before or some cake makers deliver the cake/cupcakes to you - sometimes it’s great also having a party at a park..but always check the weather report the week prior

  • It's important to involve your child with preparing all the decorations and let him/her know how the day is going to run. Make it fun preparing for the party, also some great tips for making decorations on the web and great party sites to refer too. Again I love http://www.pinterest.com

  • Allocate a friend, family member or someone else to take your photos on the day because you are going to be busy on the day you won't have time to take some pics, we also take some before guests arrive.

  • Make sure all the music is prepared/The party room – space is free from dangerous things and is kid safe, all cleaning products are put up high and make sure the front door is closed when all the guests have arrived, you don’t want the door left open because of safety and in particular if you have toddlers running around.

On the day of the party –

 - Give yourself plenty of time for set up, we find it very useful to set up most of it the night before.

 - Getting your Favour Bags done the night before is a great idea.


Sambellina Favour Bags available to purchase from The Little Big Company

Also if you are planning a high tea party or a baby shower party, pretty handmade favours are a great idea.

From Little Big Company, Just Call Me Martha, Lily Chic Events, Sip and See Party, Homemade Jam as favours, also nests from The Little Big Company

  • Make sure you have matches, lighter ready for the cake - put somewhere safe, near the cake table
  • Have your kids outfits ready the night before.

  • Set out your party table with tablecloth, jars with ribbon, printable labels for the party buffet, decorate your party space, remove any potential dangerous things from the party space. ie electrical cords, TVs on cabinets - that little children can pull down, breakable house decorations, cleaning products are put up high etc 

  • Make sure you have easy accessibility for prams etc. A baby change area – the bathroom is stocked up with requirements, dangerous things are put away.
  • Pets - any pets are put away some safe, make sure your party games are ready and set up.

  • Have a pencil and pad ready to note down all what presents were given so you can send out thank you notes.

  • Set up a main pretty cake table or dessert/candy buffet and have a separate table set up with paper plates, paper cups and napkins for the children to sit down at.

  • Have all the prizes ready near where you are going to have the games.

  • Place your sign out for the party with balloons or just balloons.

  • Make sure a table or chairs is set up if any parents are going to stay at the event.

  • Ask for help from a friend to help you out on the day it’s always helpful to have another set of hands. Also if you have younger children, ie toddler or baby make sure you allocate someone to look after their safety on the day, because you are going to be busy with running the party. 

The Little Big Company Event Team, always have in their “tool box” 3M adhesive hooks, double sided tape, fiskars round cutter from spotlight for the cupcake toppers,blu-tak, scissors, sticky tape, wet wipes for sticky hands, cloths for any spills, a first aid kit with bandaids etc in it, glue gun and a multitude of other things, so a “party tool box” is always great to have stored near by. Do thank yous after the event, thank you for coming and thanks for the lovely present.

Most of all have fun, enjoy and create a lovely day…Love Louisa at The Little Big Company http://www.tlbc.com.au


1 comment:

  1. Wow! Amazing post-excellent styling/party tips!

    ReplyDelete