I know it sounds silly but the first thing I do when planning a party, before I nail down any specific detail, I start to imagine it. I try to "see" who the party is for, I picture them enjoying themselves, greeting the guests, eating and admiring the pretty decorations. Maybe there is an activity or two, depending on the reason for the party. I know this sounds very nebulous, especially if you tend to be concrete, but it really isn't tricky. The main reason that I do this at the beginning is it helps me to start to think about what is driving the event: is it the budget? Is it the theme? Is it the particular reason I am having a party?
Knowing your own personality is probably the biggest thing that will help you. If you are shy and only have a few close friends, your gathering will probably be small. If you are outgoing and love a crowd, you should probably start to imagine a big group. If you are not a DIY kind of girl, then you probably will want to budget for purchasing decorations. If you are crafty, then you will probably get a thrill from hand-making them!
Don't try to force yourself to do what you hate! I don't love cooking, so most of the time if I am in charge of food, it is pretty simple. I don't picture myself serving a gourmet meal as the focal point of any party I'm in charge of! However, if that is your thing, you may already be imagining abundant platters of delicious goodies.
Don't let Pinterest (or the internet in general) boss you around, either. You don't have to have an elaborate banner of every month of your child's first year at their first birthday party if you're not a photographer. If you don't sew then you probably should not fixate on making aprons for every little guest at your daughter's tea. The point of a party is to have fun, not go crazy! As a matter of fact, I would stay off-line until you have a few more details nailed down.
However, at this point you are just starting to figure things out, so don't be afraid to dream big. I would say, roughly, I accomplish about 75% of what I conceptualize for a party. I run out of time, or money, or things simply don't work. I like to have a little wiggle room for error. I intentionally "bank" ideas so that I can substitute if I need to. I will talk more about that later in the series.
For today, though, start to think about what the party as a whole will be like. Not specific decorations, or dishes, or activities. But overall what the feel will be: carefully scheduled, relaxed come and go, day or night? Who would you like to be there? Are there specific requests or ideas you need to account for?
And truthfully, just to be transparent, I usually pray about it! A party is a blessing, in my mind. I want the person who it is for to feel loved and honored. So, I ask for direction and guidance on how to make it special. Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." I think a party qualifies as a situation, personally! I think that the Lord is honored when we invite Him to be foremost in *all* areas of our life! I think He is pleased when we want to celebrate the loved ones He has given us-whether family or friends.
To boil it down:
2.Brainstorm the "feel" of your party.
3. Begin to imagine where it will be.
4. Start to ask yourself if your ideas fit well with your personality and skill set.
5. Write down anything you know specifically must be accounted for, like a predetermined theme, or place for the party.
This is Day 3 in "31 Days of Perfect Party Planning". See the rest of the days here!