This past weekend, I hosted a Kentucky Derby party to celebrate my 27th birthday.
It was probably my favorite party that I've ever hosted.
I've recently received a lot of requests for a few detailed posts about how I plan my parties.
So, consider this your first tutorial!
I'll take y'all step-by-step through how I bring my party plans to fruition.
Of course, every party for me starts with a little tiny spark, a baby idea of something I want to do.
Sometimes these ideas hatch WAY before I host the actual party.
For example, I know that I want my Bachelorette Party to be Bar Golf themed,
and I know I want my 30th Birthday to be a Gatsby soiree to say goodbye to my Roaring Twenties.
I'm quite far from either of these things, but I just know I'll make them happen in due time!
Four years ago, in 2009, I knew I wanted to host a Kentucky Derby party after seeing the gorgeous photographs in Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Entertaining.
Honestly, right after my Golden Birthday last year, I set my sights on a Derby theme for lucky 27.
Here's my first party-planning tip:
Start your party prep so early that people think you're a nut for doing things that early.
To me, fabulous parties are in the little tiny details.
Little tiny details happen by starting early.
On any given night, I'm working on some random little project while I'm watching TV.
It's nothing big.
I'm stamping macarons onto placecards.
I'm tying bows around silverware.
I'm spray painting plastic horses silver.
I'm making pink chocolate horses with a candy mold.
These are all very small things that make a party fabulous.
But, they're also the things that don't make the cut if you're in a rush or doing something last-minute.
So, pick a theme. Pick it early.
Now, keep your eyes peeled over the next six months.
About nine months ago, I found gorgeous equestrian Threshold vases in the shape of trophy cups on clearance.
I found bulk plastic horses for CHEAP on Amazon.
I thought they'd be cute painted silver and placed at each place setting.
See the perfect party favor at Forever 21 for $3.80/each? Buy 20.
This also helps me space out my spending.
I'd much rather spend $50 a month over six months than drop a quick $300 at one time.
Know what I mean? Things are easier to swallow in small doses!
Truth be told, very often I pick a theme based on a cute invitation that I found.
So, when it comes to the chicken or the egg, sometimes the invitation comes before the theme for me.
For the Derby party, I found these adorable julep invitations from Twist Paper.
I loved the invitation so much that it also determined the color scheme.
Not that I vary too greatly in my color preferences,
so (surprise, surprise!) I went with pink, green, silver, gold & a touch of blue!
I'm a BIG believer in sending real invitations (boo to evites!), and I try to send mine out four weeks in advance.
For holiday parties, I'll even send a save-the-date three months out since December fills up so quickly for most people.
OK, that was party tutorial numero uno!
Next up? The who, what, where.