1. THEME – You can decide this based on the holiday or event, or if the party is for someone in particular, think about their interests and find an idea from there.  Once the theme is decided the rest usually falls into place easily.  (the baby shower theme is “The Birds & The Bees”)
  2. COLORS – Next decide on 2-3 colors to go with your theme.  Do you want bold or subdued?  Fun patterns or elegant simplicity?  (the baby shower will be blue, yellow & white)
  3. ATMOSPHERE – This incorporates DECOR, LIGHTING & MUSIC.  What is the look & feel you’re going for?  Fun, elegant, whimsical, romantic?  Start planning by thinking about the area and tables that you’ll need to decorate.  I like to make a few separate areas and decorate them individually.  So think about the dining area, the sitting area and the entry area as separate entities.  You’ll incorporate the same colors into each area, but decorate them each a little differently. What should the lighting be like in each area? Do you want bright light or more subdued low lights? Also think about the music, which can really add to a great party.  People respond to soft music playing in the background, so think about your theme and go from there.  (Even my LOST party had a CD of music from the show playing in the background! and for the baby shower I’ll make a CD full of songs with “baby” or “mama” in the title.  The baby shower atmosphere will be elegant with a little vintage-y vibe thrown in.  There will be a dining area which will have the main seating table, buffet table and dessert table.  There will be a seating area where the gift opening will take place and an entry area for people to come in, drop off their gift and pick up a signature cocktail.  Plus I’ll have a table for decorating onesies & bibs)
  4. MENU – At this point I just think in generalities.  Decide if you’re doing a full sit down meal, buffet or dessert tables.  The menu will get sorted out later once you know how many people are coming too.  For now decide if you need a separate table for buffet or desserts or will everything be served off the main table.  I’m a huge fan of separate tables because you can decorate these areas in really amazing ways and it adds to the ambience of the entire party.  Plus it leaves your main table open for awesome centerpieces since you won’t have food on that table.  And finally think about a signature drink!  I do this for all my parties and it’s a big hit.  They should be inspired by your theme and color coordinated too.  (For my baby shower I’m doing a “Mocktail” since we will have several pregnant ladies there and I can’t serve alcohol.  I will have the main dining table with centerpieces, a separate table for the buffet food and a separate table for desserts)

Now you’ve gotta peruse the internet for INSPIRATION!  This will give you some great ideas that you can incorporate into your own party.  You can copy the ideas exactly or they can just inspire you with your own variation.  So now is when I put together an Inspiration Board!  I take all those pics that I really like or want to copy and put them into one picture.  Then I print this out and take it with me to the stores when shopping for supplies I need.  Here’s my inspiration board for the baby shower I’m throwing:


So you can see in my inspiration board several things: 

  • The Birds & The Bees theme (invitation)
  • some of my color combination (yellow, blue & white)
  • ideas for centerpieces (birds in branches)
  • ideas for food tables (decoration/setup with poms/tissue paper balls)
  • ideas for favors (tea, cup and honeybee swizzle stick)
  • some dessert ideas (baby block cakes)
  • some game/event ideas (decorating onesies)
  • drink ideas (martini glasses rimmed in theme color)

Now you are off and shopping!  Which I’m off to do today, so I’ll share shots of what I’m getting later today along with photos of Giselle (finally!).

About Shuga-Shug

I'm a practicing acupuncturist and in what little spare time I have, my hobbies include photography, dancing the Argentine Tango & collecting Ingerity's line of fashion dolls!
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