Entertaining Party Ideas From Start to Finish Tips

Read these 40 Entertaining Party Ideas From Start to Finish Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Party tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I plan for a party?

Party Supplies - Food Menu Selection

Now that you've set the theme and budget, it's time to talk FOOD. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind.

1) Select foods that will be appropriate for the type of party you are having.
For example: Finger Foods for a lunch time party.
2) Make a list PRIOR to going to the store of everything you will need. STICK to your list. This will prevent you from just picking up things and changing the menu while you're shopping.
3) If time permits, start shopping early. This will allow you time to clip coupons and check for sales.

What can I do to add illumination to an outdoor party?

Party Decoration Ideas - Easy Outside Illumination

To illuminate an evening gathering, turn cans destined for the recycling bin into hanging lanterns. Peel off labels, fill with water and freeze overnight; the ice will help the cans keep their shape while you make holes in the sides for candlelight to shine through.

On a 2-inch-wide piece of masking tape, sketch a simple repeating design. Wrap around can. Following pattern, lightly pound nails through can. Remove and discard the ice. Form 16-gauge wire into a handle with U-shape at each end. Make two more holes, one across from the other under top rim, attach handle, and place votives inside.

Terra-cotta pots can make your table setting shine. Use silver acrylic paint to coat the insides and top rims of 3-inch pots, allow to dry and place votives inside.

Checklist Sample

Party Planning Checklists

Party Checklist:

3 weeks prior to party
Select occasion for party
Select theme and staging
Create guest list
Send invitations
Date of party
Plan and select decorations
Begin collecting materials and creating props
Prepare menu and grocery list
Select and hire caterer/serving help (if needed)

A few days before the party:
Call any guests hwo have not responded
Buy groceries and beverages
Prepare and freeze/refrigerate food items that can be made in advance

One day before:
Clean party facility
Set up and arrange party room
Get out serving pieces
Decorate party room

Day of party
Set up appetizers
Set up food

--Taken in part from The Best Party Book by Penny Warner

What are party and event planning tips?

Party and Event Planning Tip

Chairs. How many should I have? There are two schools of thought here. The first; the less places to sit, the more people will mingle with each other. This can be great for office type parties when networking is important. The second; at a "typical party," you may find that if it looks like a chair, it is a chair. Do you want all your end tables, arms of couches, and counter tops – yes counter tops to become chairs? If you ever waited in line at your favorite theme park, you know what I mean. Find some chairs. Your partygoers will be glad to bring a few if you ask. Ask the neighbors, your church or club. If you can't borrow – rent.


It's Easy to be a Gracious Host

The doorbell rings. Open the door with a big smile and welcome them in. Ask what they'd like to drink, hand them a plate and point out some of the hors d'oeuvres. There's something about having food and drink in hand that makes conversation easier, even if it's only about the appetizers. After that, it's easy to guide your guests to someone they already know or someone with whom they might have something in common. A gracious host flavors the party with a welcoming smile and offering up good food and companionship.

How do I set up for a party?

Setting Up for the Party - Planning Checklists

Here are a few quick tips to setting up for the party.

The night before:
1) Set the table
2) Arrange seating, if needed
3) Pull out all serving trays, utensils etc. Have them washed and ready to use. This will cut down on a lot of time the next day.
4) Review your check list to ensure you have completed everything.

The day of the party:
1) If applicable, put up streamers, balloons, etc.

How do I set the mood of the party?

Entertaining Party Ideas - Setting the Mood

Setting the mood of the party can be handled in a simple manner.

1) Depending on the type of party you are having select some background music.

For example:
* Dinner party - play jazz or light music.
* Children's Party -- play different children's music.
* Fun Fiesta -- Up beat music.

2) Scents make a big difference.

For example:
* Light scented candles
* Burn incense
* Display fresh flowers

How do I set a budget for a party?

Budgeting for Party Planning

Party Planning does not have to be expensive but it does have to be organized. Part planning requires time, the more time you allow to plan the party, the better deals you can find. The fundamental rule of party planning is to organize the key elements immediately: theme, guest count, location. These three categories will make or break your budget. The sooner you decide upon the color and theme of the event, the number of guests and the location, the sooner you can establish a budget and begin working toward it.

How do I plan for a party?

Party Planning Ideas

In the excitement of planning a party, sometimes we forget details. Don't let "Oh no, I forgot!" become your mantra. Writing it down makes planning a party easier and reduces your stress.

When you first decide to have a party, create a checklist. Write down everything you want for your party: food ideas, games, supplies needed, people to invite. Tape your list to the refrigerator or write it in a notebook. When you think of something new (hey, I want to put ribbons on the ceiling), add it. When you complete something, like sending out the invitations (a check for each person), check it off. This is a great way to keep your party on track.

How do I plan for people to find my party?

Party Planning Checklists - Who has the Directions ?

Consider if your guests will need directions. Of course if you're a guy you can skip this tip (yeah, right!). In addition to your map and written directions consider some balloons or a small sign near your street sign. If your street signs are like mine- a 4x4 with the name written vertically only to be read if you turn your head sideways while staying on your side of the road, another landmark will be well appreciated. If you need motivation to do this, and this is for the graduate- guests bring presents!

How can I use live plants to decorate my table instead of cut flowers?

Potted Herb Party Centerpieces

Check out your local garden center before the flower shop. Living plants can often be cheaper in the long run. And check this out - no last minute running around, you can pick them up a few days before the party, and they can double as your party favor. The possibilities for enhancing your parties theme with live plants is endless. Mediterranean style food outdoors on the terrace by candlelight? Stagger groupings of different size pots of assorted herbs such as rosemary, thyme, dill, basil, and mint down the center of the table. Alternatively, (and to save even more money!) buy the smallest herb plants you can find, pot them in tiny teracotta pots and cluster them on all three levels of a tiered cake stand in the center of the table.

How do I add elegance to my party?

Party Decorations - Table Favors Ideas

A Flower and a Martini Please!
Place a red rose, bud only, in a martini glass. Put a small amount of water in the glass. Place several of these martini roses together in the center of the table or at individual place settings.

Easy elegance.

What are ideas for invitations for parties?

Invitation Ideas for Parties

It's always difficult when sending out invitations to try not to offend someone that is not going to be invited. It doesn't matter what age they are either. Adults can get just as upset as children. In the children's case, mail the Invitations and don't pass them out at school. This goes for adults too. Don't invite them to come when at work.

What´s a fun summer party invitation idea?

Summer Party Ideas - Beach Party

This is the coolest beach party invitation idea:

Purchase cheap plastic beach balls (try Oriental Trading Company...see our links section). Inflate the balls and write your invitation on the white section of the ball with a black or blue marker. Deflate the ball and send the invitation in a white manila envelope. You can decorate the envelope with beach scene stamps or drawings for extra impact.

What can I do the day before my party?

Day Before the Party Planning Checklist

Day Before the Party - Party Planning Checklist

*Set the table
*Set out Serving Accessories
*Shop for last minute groceries
*Cut veggies, prepare dips, cook entrees that can be prepared ahead of time
*Set up the coffee pot
*Refrigerate drinks
*Clean and straighten the house, mow the lawn, clean the grill

What´s a unique invitation I can send for a graduation party?

Party Supplies for Unique Graduation Party

Instead of sending the same old store-bought invitations for your graduation party try this:

Use a computer or hand-print your invitation on a piece of parchment, roll the paper up, tie with a ribbon and send in tiny mailing tubes

How do I send out invitations for parties?

When to Mail Invitations for Parties

Make sure you mail out the invitations in time. 3-4 weeks ahead of the party is a good amount of lead-time. Any less than that expect that some people are going to have other plans. Be sure to make a follow-up call to anyone you haven't heard from so you can make your final preparations.

Do you have some tips for quick and easy flower centerpieces?

Party Centerpieces

For a dramatic effect, use all one kind and color of flower, e.g. voluptuous cream roses or midnight purple tulips, and matching containers down the center of the table. What could be easier? No arranging necessary! No green foam! Cut all the stems to the same length, gather an appropriate number of blooms in your hand for your selected container, keeping your one hand tight around the stems, use your other hand to tug down on the stems of the outside flowers to create a domed shape to the arrangement, then trim the stems again to the same length, check out your creation at arms length for neatness, then carefully work your bouquet into your container. Repeat.

If you are feeling a little more creative, but still want a type of arrangement that is very forgiving, chose a variety of flowers and containers, but keep them all in the same color or color range. A monotone look is always sophisticated and this way you don't have to worry so much about balancing the color in the arrangement while accomodating various flower sizes and lengths.

What are party and event planning tips?

How to Plan Parties - Did You Forget Anything?

Are you sure you have everything you need for the party? Are you really sure? Did you write it down? I can't stress this enough. Many a party is short or absent of something. This means embarrassment, or someone running out to the store during the party.

Favors for a movie-themed, carnival or county-fair party?

Party Decorations - Popcorn Party Favors

Popcorn Party Favors

This is a great favor for a movie-themed or county-fair type party:

Fill a plastic or paper red-and-white-striped box with a package of microwave popcorn or fill a plastic baggie with popped popcorn and tie. Add trinkets and sweets such as kazoos, mini flags and large swirly lollipops.

What can I do to decorate a table?

Rose Petal Party Decorations

Here is an awesome party decoration that is absolutely FREE!!!

Contact your local grocery store that has a florist. Ask them to hold their rose petals for you. (These are from the roses that are no longer in a good condition to sell however they will last approx. 1 week) You can use them to sprinkle on the table, isle or place in a nice basket.

What the florists do is pull the petals off and place them in a box, bag etc. You may have to pick through a few of them but it is an elegant way to decorate that your guests will think you spent a small fortune.

How long should I hold dinner for a late guest?

Party Planning Checklists - What To Do If a Guest Arrives Late

When having a more formal type dinner party, hold dinner no longer than 15 to 20 minutes if waiting for the arrival of a late guest.

How do I set a budget for a party?

Setting a Budget for Planning Parties

Begin by jotting down everything you'll need -- food, decorations and flowers, invitations, music, any rentals (such as chairs or tables), even the baby-sitters' fee. Don't forget to set aside some money for unexpected expenses.

If your dream party turns out to be too expensive, look for simple ways to revise your plans. You can scale back the number of guests, substitute chicken for those expensive shrimp, or plan a simpler type of party -- perhaps serving appetizers or dessert rather than a whole meal.

What is a good party planning checklists?

Planning Parties - Plan Your Party Right

I know. I know. You have heard it a million times. Plan your party. It works. As a matter of fact if we planned and wrote down things like shopping lists and goals we would be scary! Plan, plan, plan, plan, and plan again.

What is an aperitif?

Beverages for Planning Parties - Aperitif Drinks

An aperitif is a drink used to "open" the gastric juices and stimulate the appetite before a meal. Common aperitifs include sherry, Dubonnet and Campari

Do you have some tips for quick and easy flower centerpieces?

Flower Centerpieces for Parties

Use the single floating "I'm hip, chic and not afraid of simplicity" flower bloom effect. A single, beautiful bloom foating in a glass dish is a perfect complement to an unfussy yet elegrant menu. Purchase cheap glass prep dishes from a department store - pick a container the right size for the bloom you have in mind and make sure it is wider than it is deep. For dramatic, large flowers such as peonies, magnolias, poppies, gardenias, lilies, alternate the dishes down the center of the table with matching candles. For small, delicate blooms such as helebore blossoms, orchids, or zinnias, place one at each placesetting and match the bloom color to the plates and napkin color.

How do I go about planning a party?

Planning Parties The 4WH Way

A lot of people have trouble doing something, whether it's putting on a party, completing a bunch of chores around the house or getting that presentation to the boss on time.

It doesn't have to be a nail biter!


Read on.


Where have you heard these words before?

Dale Carnegie? Napoleon Hill?

If you are an MLMer – you know what I mean!

Any party or get-together requires some basic planning. Forget the fine points until you master the 4WH program.

Oh yes, you heard of it. Maybe way back in school, but I guarantee you have heard it.

Ask any newspaper reporter.

4WH: What, When, Where, Why and How.

Go ahead, try it.

Plug 4WH into any party you are planning. What am I planning? When is it? Where is it? Why am I doing this? And How am I going to pull this off.

Then look at types of food and partyware. Is there a theme?

Use the 4WH program for each item.

With a little stick-to-it you can become a pro!

What makes a good toast?

Party Planning - Have Your Toast Ready

A good toast would be one that comes straight from the heart. I'm sure the honoree is a special friend. Think of a special moment the two of you have shared and reflect on that. By doing the toast this way, it will be more meaningful to the honoree. It does not have to be long and mushy. It could be something like: Happy birthday to a special friend. (Tell a brief but funny story or tell the honoree how much your friendship means to you.)

Where Can I get lights for a good price?

Party Decorations - Christmas

After Christmas sales are great to pick up novelty lights for your party collection. I found heart lights for 75% off after Christmas and used them for Valentine's day decorations.

How do I send out invitations for parties?

Ideas for Party Invitations

I have often been asked about invitations. I say definitely yes for younger birthday parties. Mom and Dad surely need to make arrangements for siblings or other activities. If the party is formal or semi-formal and you might not know someone you are inviting that well, an Invitations works well. As for everything else, if you are comfortable picking up the phone and calling and have a lot of time on your hands (or just like to talk) it's a great invention.

How do I decorate a room?

Party Decoration Ideas

One of my favorite ways to decorate for a party is to take varying lengths of curling ribbon and attach them to the ceiling. For Christmas, I use red and white if I'm having a general-type event or I use gold for elegance. For Halloween, I use black and orange. The ribbons really adds depth and festiveness to your room.

What is proper etiquette when making a guest list?

Planning Parties - Who to Invite to Party

Your guest list is up to you 100%. Believe it or not people will understand the need to keep the guest list limited to close friends and family. Here are some quick guidelines.

1) If you choose to only invite a select group of people from work, send the invitations directly to their homes. To prevent feelings from getting hurt, avoid discussing the party during working hours.

2) If you plan to invite only the wife and not the husband, address the envelope: Mrs. Jane Doe 123 Street Anytown, State 12345 3) If you plan to invite both husband and wife address the envelope: Mr. and Mrs. John Doe 123 Street Anytown, State 12345.

How do I contdition flowers?

Party Centerpieces Order Flowers Directly From the Grower

Cut out the middleman. Save money by ordering the flowers yourself directly from the grower over the internet. Have the flowers shipped overnight to arrive on the day of the party. Revive the flowers by cutting their stems at a 45 degree angle under water, and placing them in a bucket of tepid water. Make sure to remove any foliage that would sit under the water line and sprinkle flower food in the water (sugar works well too).

Who should I invite to my child´s party?

Children's Party Ideas - Rule 1

An unspoken rule is to invite a child to your child's party if your child was invited to that child's party.

From Diane Warner's Big Book of Parties

I'm planning a halloween party, outside for 3rd grade kids--any special ideas for making a haunted forest walk actually in the forest?

Haunted Halloween Walk for Kids

Kids love Halloween and what better way to get in the spirit than to plan a few creepy outdoor activities. When planning a walk through the forest, take into consideration the age of the children. Younger children should have glow sticks to carry (if the walk takes place in the twilight or early evening), and they should have a safe, clean path to walk on. Steer children clear of any exposed tree roots, large rocks, or anything that could cause injury. Take the walk yourself, before the big event, so that you can strategically place markers to guide the way. Plant a tape recorder with ghostly music somewhere along the path! Make ghosts out of bedsheets and drape them over branches! Have friends patrol the path wearing Halloween costumes. The unsuspected kids will have a little scare and a laugh along the way. Make sure to promise them a reward for making it through the Haunted Forest! Having ghostly treats awaiting them will make it all worthwhile.

How can I keep picnic food safe?

More Party Planning Tips - Keeping Picnic Food Safe at Parties

Use two small coolers -- one for fruit and beverages, which will be opened frequently, and one for such perishables as meats, poultry, salads, sandwiches, and cheese.

What is flan?

Food for Parties - Flan

Flan is a Spanish baked custard coated in caramel, an interesting treat for food for parties.

What can I give away at my Barbeque Party?

Party Decorations - Picnic or Barbeque Party Favors

Here are some ideas for favors or prizes for your barbeque party:

BBQ tongs inside a barbeque mitt
BBQ apron
Plastic baggie filled with mesquite chips
Small basket with miniature condiments
Cool can drink holders

How do I thank the host?

Party and Event Planning Tips - Etiquette

Putting together any kind of party, know matter how simple it looks, is always a lot of work for the host.
Remember to always thank the host for the party before you leave. Better yet, send a thank you note. It'll make the host feel great.

What are some ideas for food at parties?

Finger Food at Parties

When your deciding on the finger food, it makes more sense to put a theme to it. The ideas as to what to have are easier – and it's a lot more fun! You know, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, apple pie and...

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Guru Spotlight
Susan Sayour