Both my husband and I have lived in the same area all of our lives. The majority of our family from both sides still lives near us, too. We both also happen to come from decent sized families that like to celebrate.
All of this means only one thing...big parties! With seven kids, there is always something to celebrate and if there isn't, we throw a party just for fun. When we lived out in the country we had a barn and every Fall we would throw a huge barn party. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.
It was during this time of the barn parties that I really became more organized about how to throw a party. Now that I'm in the groove, I follow this same basic plan for any party we throw.
1. I keep a list of everyone that is invited to the event. This way, the next time I throw a similar event, I can just pull out the previous list and work off of that. I'm also less likely to forget people, too!
2. I keep a list of what food people volunteer to bring as well as what food and drinks we will be providing. For most of our parties people usually volunteer to help out, so that is a nice bonus. We never cater our parties because it would just be too darn expensive, thus, it's up to me to figure out how to feed a lot of people for the least amount of money. Keeping track of the food and drinks in a list helps me to save money because I can plan everything out in minute detail and don't duplicate anything.
3. The week before a big party I make a list of all of the things that need to get done both inside and outside of the house. Any cleaning, shopping, errands and phone calls all get written down along with the day that they will be getting done. Once they are finished, they get crossed off the list - and boy does that feel good.
4. Then, finally, the day of the event, I make one last list with all of the things that have to get done that day and who will do them. I also make a schedule of events so that anyone who is helping me can see what time things are supposed to happen, the most important one being "WHAT TIME IS DINNER?"
I have found that the more I write things down, the easier the whole planning and implementing process is and the more likely things are to get done on time. This way, too, I can save my lists and use them to begin the planning stages for the next event.
We enjoy throwing big parties so I had to find a way to make it as stress free as possible. This system seems to work well for all of us.
To see the full list of posts in this series, go here.