Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Attention all Brides!!! Surprise Giveaway!

I just ran across a post from the blog Hostess with the Mostess, and those girls have teamed up with Betsy White Stationary Boutique to bring one lucky winner a $100.00 shopping spree! Their wedding invitation designs are very chic and modern and just plain GORGEOUS, so please take advantage and sign up for the drawing, you could receive an early Christmas gift!

Hurry....go....SIGN UP!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday Parties!

Hosting a holiday party is fun and exciting, but can also be a stressful task! Here is a great article by Audra Dobson that I came across on several steps to follow for throwing a great holiday party.

Step #1: Gather Basic Information
The first step in planning a party is gathering basic information. This information includes the number of guests, where the party will be, if you will be serving dinner or snacks, and if anyone will be helping you. As you are planning, it is also important to be thinking about whom (family, club, coworkers, etc.) and what (Christmas, New Year's, birthday, reunion, etc.) this party is for. All of this information will ensure that you will not leave out any important details!
Another piece of basic information that you must decide on, is how large your budget will be for this event. This will help make certain decisions for you. If you have a large budget, than you know you can afford to have the food catered or buy some door prizes. If your budget is quite small, than have guests bring a dish to pass. A smaller budget may require you to be a little more creative, but you can still host an excellent party.

Step #2: Pick a Theme
If you are planning a holiday party, this step will be very simple, but you can still be creative! Your theme may just be the decorative colors you want to use or it could be a themed Christmas party (office Christmas party, teacher Christmas party, etc.). Do not worry about any of the decorating details just yet. You will have plenty of time for that, but you need to have a base to start from. A theme will make the party complete and help tie everything together from the food to the decorations to the entertainment.

Step #3: Decide on Food
After you have picked out your theme, it is now time to move on to the food. Your final decision for the food will rely heavily on the budget you have set aside. Can you afford a dinner or should you just serve appetizers? Will you make the food or get it catered?
When you decide on these two things, you can start writing down the menu to be served. There are two important aspects of the menu that you must remember as you plan. First, make sure that the food items on your menu fit together. For example, you probably should not serve cheese pizza with fancy desserts and side dishes. The other thing to remember is to serve a variety of dishes encompassing all of the food groups. Attempt to include fruit and vegetables so that any vegetarian who comes to your party will not go hungry.

Step #4: Decide on Décor
The decorations you decide on will revolve around the theme that you chose. As you can see, it is important to choose your theme first because it will affect the rest of your planning. According to your theme, your décor will be simple or extravagant. Your budget will also determine how much effort you put into your decorations. If you only chose a few colors for your theme, the extent of your work may just consist of purchasing the colored plates, napkins, etc.
To the other extreme, if you chose an actual theme, you can be more creative in your decorating, as well as have more fun! For themes, I insist that you pay attention to every detail. Let's say that you have been nominated to plan a party for the people who work in your office. Instead of simply decorating for Christmas, you could decorate using office equipment and supplies. Start by hanging pens and pencils from your Christmas tree, and put eating utensils in a pen cup. Details like these are simple, but will be quickly noticed by your guests.

Step #5: Decide on Entertainment (if any)
This step is optional according to the type of party you are having and the type of people you are inviting. Some groups of people are perfectly content chatting throughout the evening while others need a little more guidance in finding things to do. Also, be respectful of people you know who dislike games and do not enjoy being put on the spot. You definitely want to avoid embarrassing anyone or making them feel out of place.
The entertainment you choose does not have to be extravagant. You could have several board games available to play or have a gift exchange. If you have a large amount of people coming, you could even have karaoke or a comedian come. Anything you choose will add something more to your evening which your guests will always remember.
Step #6: Invite Guests

The final step in planning the perfect party is inviting your guests. I suggest doing this after you plan the basic details unless you have a short time before the party. You should wait to invite guests so you make sure to include all important details on the invitation before they are sent out. Make your invitations according to the theme of your party and make notes if they should bring a small gift, etc. If the guests know ahead of time, you could even have them bring a dish to pass or their own drinks.

One extremely important detail that will help you plan is to put a phone number or email where they can RSVP. If the guests obey this, you will be able to prepare the proper amount of food and make sure you have enough seating for everyone. You will also know exactly what types of people are coming and if they are bringing a significant other. This information will make sure you are not guessing as you prepare. If someone does not RSVP even though you asked, still expect them to come. It is better to have a little extra food if they do not come, than not enough food if they do come.

Hope this article alleviates all of your hosting jitters! Just remember, have fun with the details, be creative and enjoy the process, your guests will appreciate all your efforts!