An Information to Put on Invitations Checklist

Information to Put on Invitations Checklist Title Picture

Writing invitations for a party is one of the easiest and hardest steps of party planning.

Honestly, it’s so easy to go on evite and fill in the blanks.  It’s always easy to write down the basic information on a sheet of paper.  The time.  The place.  The date.

Then you write it all down.  You look at it.  And you really start to think about it.  The party starts at 6:00, but it’s a surprise, so people need to get there early.  The date for the party might be June 2, but is there a rain date for the party just in case.  The place for the party is definitely Joe’s house, but you probably want to let people know that it’s the red mailbox at the end of the dead-end street so that they don’t have to guess.

There are so many details that can be included on that invitation just to make things easier – for both the host and the guest.  And you want to make sure that you catch them all.  (Kind of like Pokémon.)  And spell them right.  (Kind of like Leapfrog.)  And double-check them.  (Kind of like Santa Claus.)

I am definitely guilty of writing wrong information on an invitation and then needing to go back and change them all by hand.  Or email everybody individually.  Or text everybody individually.  You would think I would have learned my lesson right now, but somehow it just seems the more parties that I have the more mistakes that I can make.

I’ve made a handy checklist for y’all of questions to ask yourself when writing invtiations – wedding invitations, party invitiations, dinner invitations – it works any way you’d like it to.

Information to Put on Invitations Checklist

(Click the picture above to download.)

How to Throw a 1920’s Party – Part 2

Today’s blog post is a continuation of how to throw a 1920s party – part 1, which included colors & theme, food, drinks, and music – playlist included!  It is written by my friend Miranda.  She is awesome and blogs at  The Good Groupie and she threw herself a really awesome 1920s party themed 30th birthday party with the theme of saying goodbye to the roaring 20s.  I definitely have some tips to learn from her, the girl is good.  Enjoy!

How To Throw an awesome 1920s Party including the decor, activities, and tips and tricks to make it awesome by The Good Groupie via Chrystina Noel.

For my 30th birthday, I decided to say goodbye to the roaring 20s with a 1920s party game night.  So far, we’ve covered the basics, food, drinks and music. Now it’s time to get down to the details that will help set your party apart and make your party space feel like your guests were transported back to the 1920s.

How to Throw a 1920s Party - The Decor

The Décor

The details of your décor will depend on what type of 1920s party you’re hosting. Speakeasies were dim, smoky places with an intimate feel while garden parties lend themselves well to a light and airy atmosphere. No matter which direction your party theme goes, there are few essential décor items you can use to give your party space a healthy dose of the decade:

  • Candles
  • Martini glasses
  • Champagne coupes
  • Mason jars
  • Strings of pearls
  • Peacock feathers
  • Empty champagne or gin bottles
  • Twinkle lights

Candelabras or using empty wine and liquor bottles as candle holders will elevate the feel of the party space. String costume pearls over chandeliers or light fixtures for some extra shimmer or wrap them around the neck of an empty champagne bottle for a centerpiece. Place tealights in martini glasses and champagne coupes for extra ambiance and glitz. Using strings of twinkle lights will also add a beautiful touch of glamour to an outdoor garden party or an indoor speakeasy party.

For my party, I bought martini glasses from a dollar store and added tealights I already had. Using plastic champagne coupes I bought at Party City, my friend Katie made a beautiful champagne glass tower and draped it with some gold ribbon I had on hand.  I also saved a few champagne bottles and oh-so-popular Mason jars to use for general decor. I bought two strings of pearl garlands at Hobby Lobby to drape over light fixtures, wrap around a champagne bottle neck and then drape in an over-sized martini glass I purchased (and shamefully returned the next day – because who actually has use for a plastic 64 oz martini glass besides martini drinkers?).

To round out my party décor and make it a little more birthday festive, my mom and I went on a garland making spree courtesy of Pinterest. We made these tissue paper tassels and these tissue paper fringe banners in my party theme colors – both of which require a lot of patience if you’re not a regular crafter. I’m also a pennant junkie and love buying large books of scrapbook paper to use for pennants, so I was thrilled when I came across an art deco book in black, gold and white patterns. Finally, I bought a Happy Birthday banner on Etsy (the thing that inspired my colors) and made a “Goodbye to the roaring 20s” banner myself using InDesign. I also made a few quote prints, put them in picture frames from a dollar store and scattered them around the house. Quick, cheap and easy touches that made the party feel special – and all of which you can download right here!

The great thing about most of these items is they’re relatively cheap and easy to find – or they might be items you already have or can borrow from friends.

How to Throw a 1920s Party - The Party Activities

The Activities

So you’ve made your deviled eggs, poured your guests glasses of champagne, hit play on that 1920s playlist and they’re dazzled by your décor.

Now what?

Here’s a quick list of great party activities for your 1920s party:

  • Games: If you’re hosting a game night, like I did, set up a few tables around your party space with various games. Dominos, Yahtzee and Bunco were all games that gained popularity in the 20s. Card games like poker, black jack or Canasta are perfect for this theme too.
  • Lawn games: Hosting an afternoon garden party? Enjoy a round of croquet or bocce ball in the back yard while you sip on your mint juleps.
  • Photobooth: I bought these cute 1920s photobooth props on Etsy, and with the help of my sister-in-law made them functional and durable with a little laminating and bamboo skewers! (To create my photobooth, I bought two gold metallic fringe curtains at Party City, strung them up in front of a window and then added one of the tassel banners I made – it was a huge hit!)
  • Murder Mystery Game: There are tons and tons of 1920s murder mystery games out there. I’d love to use this in a few years for my annual Halloween party!
  • Costume party: I loved seeing all my friends show up at my house in their 1920s costumes! Some bought a flapper dress or gangster gear. Others used what they had in their closet. Turn it into a contest with a fun 1920s themed prize, like a bottle of champagne or gin!

How to Throw a 1920s Party - Tips and Tricks

Credit: AJG Photography, Etc.

Tips & Tricks to make it awesome

You’re set! You’ve got everything you need to host an roaring 1920s themed party. But just to make sure it’s extra awesome, here’s a few more tips to make it awesome:

  • Silent movie: Find a silent movie on Netflix to play for background ambiance. Or, if you’re going to party Gatsby style, play the 1974 or 2013 version of the film on mute.
  • Secret entrance: Speakeasies often had a secret entrance to hide from the fuzz. If you’re hosting a party at home, create a secret entrance at your back door and placed a “closed” sign on the front door to redirect guests.
  • Speakeasy card, password: Many speakeasies also had secret membership cards. Make your party invitation your guest’s speakeasy membership card and be sure to include the secret password they need to get in!
  • Phonograph: This one is my dream party idea. Grab yourself an awesome phonograph speaker for your iPhone to play your killed 1920s playlist all night long.
  • Free printables: Need a little help with your décor? Here are printables of all the signs I created for my party, plus my “Goodbye to the Roaring 20s” banner and a blank drink menu for you to customize! All free for you to use at your 1920s party.

Hosting a 1920s party? I hope you’ve found some of my ideas helpful for your own party, and I’d love to see your photos! Tweet them to me – and don’t forget to have a roaring good time.



Miranda Enzor The Good Groupie Spooky Little HalloweenMiranda Enzor is a writer and blogger from Houston, TX. She currently writes The Good Groupie, a music blog for music fans, where she takes you backstage with up-and-coming bands, finds new music you’ll fall in love with, hosts a Rock Novel Reading Club and teaches you how to be a good groupie for your favorite bands. In 2015, Miranda launched Spooky Little Halloween, a blog for fellow Halloween junkies who believe in celebrating the magic of October 31st year-round.

 


PS. Don’t forget to check out How To Throw a 1920s Party, Part 1 if you missed it. It talks about colors & theme, food, drinks, and music (playlist included!).

PPS. Click here for more Party hosting tips and tricks.

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My 25th Birthday Party: Invitations and Guests

my-25th-birthday-party-for-blog

The only picture I have of (only) myself for the evening.  Thanks, Mom!

Well, it’s about time I share some details about this birthday party that I’ve been talking about for months now, huh?  I’m going to break it down into four posts: invitations and guest list, alcohol (that’s right, it gets a whole category to itself), party details, and costs.

Why am I documenting this party in such detail?  Well there are a few reasons for that (1) I feel like I’ve been a huge tease about this and for that I apologize, (2) so that I can learn something from my experience, (3) so that somebody else might be able to learn something from it, and (4) so I can google it later to see exactly what I did.  Also, for the record, the reason that I do so much detailed planning before (and after) a party is that when I actually do execute these parties, it seems simple.

The theme for my 25th birthday party was a late night boozy brunch.  I rented my favorite brunch venue in Philadelphia, Cafe Lift – a BYOB restaurant that holds approximately 65 people.  Also, I found a DJ for the occasion. 🙂

Then I started making the birthday party list, in Excel, of course.  I made a preliminary list of all of the people that I usually hang out with, then scrolled through my cell phone, and then I looked down my gchat.  I did a final quick glance over Facebook, but that probably wasn’t my best idea, it made things far more complicated in my brain.

At the end of the day I had a list of my 158 closest friends and family (including their other halves) – which can essentially be separated into church choir, co-workers, college, resident assistants, and friends from home.  Yes, that number sounds crazy, but 73 of them lived out of state, which leaves me with 85.  That being said, come the day of the party I looked around and I felt so honored and blessed and loved by everybody who had made it in to visit me from out of state, in a snowstorm, – people from NYC, New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas, and a bunch from towns over an hour outside of PA.

I decided to email the invitations to everybody so that I would have a more direct line of communication with everyone.  I was shocked to find out how many of my friends email addresses I didn’t have, so that was an adventure in itself.  Also, I made the executive decision to email groups of people together so that people knew who else was invited to the party that they would know.Here’s the invitation I created.

Chrystina's Birthday Party copy

I tried to keep it simple and I tried to figure out what questions people were going to ask before it came up.  A big one at my parties is dress code, I don’t know when it started – probably at the murder mystery parties, but people always think they’re supposed to dress a certain way – I should probably take advantage of this at some point, but this time I didn’t.  I ended up deciding on Smart Casual.  Mainly because – just look presentable and jeans are totally fine, but if you want to wear a dress with me that’s totally legit too, but don’t forget it’s going to be cold because it’s January in Philadelphia – was too long.  I also liked how in the end it ended up being $25 on the 25th of January for my 25th birthday.  I also asked for homemade cards, because you’re allowed to do that on your birthday.

As for the RSVP situation, I really really needed that number, so I was pretty much a woman on a mission about it.  I emailed everybody a week before to remind them that I needed them to RSVP in a week.  Then I texted/called/IM-ed/and g-chatted everyone I could think of on the 10th.

So you know how my life is a little bit… out of the ordinary?  Always in a different state, never quite sure when I’m going to be anywhere.  Well, there’s a bunch of my friends that are the same way (and I love them for it and wouldn’t have it any other way).  My two favorite, “I’m not sure if I can come yet” reasons were – (a) I’m not sure what day I’m flying back from Chile yet, and (b) she doesn’t have a visa to the country yet so she’s not sure she’s going to be here.

A few days before the party I sent out an email to everybody who had RSVP-ed yes with every detail they ever could have wanted divided into the following categories: the basics, the food and drink, the atmosphere, the dress code, the payment, and what to bring.  I also inserted this nifty pie chart that I created.

25th Birthday Party Pie Chart

I figured it would grab people’s attention.  And it did.  I got text messages of everybody asking which group they were in if it overlapped.

So, I’m sure you’re asking yourself at this point, but I thought the venue only held approximately 65?  Well, at the end of the day, we ended up with 70 people total so it all worked out just fine.  Although, I admit there were a few moments when I was a little bit nervous.  And nervous about where all of these people were going to stay.

What an adventure.  Stay tuned for the next post about, so, how much alcohol exactly do you bring for 70 people?

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How to Create a Guest List

how to create a guest list

Now, I could sit here and write a procedure for how to plan an event that has caterers and room rentals and hired performers, but #1) I’m not fully versed in that level of event planning yet and #2) I’ve got to believe that most people reading this blog aren’t at that level yet either.  We can get there together 🙂

Most people planning events are planning birthday parties, small gatherings – shindigs if you will, and holiday parties for no more than 30 people at a time.  So that’s where we begin.

Step one: the possible guest list

Start with the guest list.  This is going to determine so many other factors that it would be silly to start anywhere else.  Separate your guest list into groups by how you know people – college, choir, high school, middle school, work, etc.  Include every possible person that you may want to invite to the party.

Step two: narrow down the guest list

Look at the list that you have created and take a highlighter to it.  Separate people into the “must haves”, “want to haves”, “would be cool to have” and “why did I put this person on the list again?”.  Now, remember, there is no reason for anybody else to be seeing this list, so you can be completely honest on it.

Step three: complete the guest list

Once the list has been color coded, make the finalized guest list.  Put all of the “must haves” on the list and then fill in the gaps.  Think about who else usually hangs out with that group of people, think about who’s really good at being the life of the party, or think about who makes the best dessert.  If there’s somebody that doesn’t seem like they know anybody else, tell her that she can bring a friend and then the ball is in her court.

Step four: asking the tough questions

Look at how many people you’re dealing with.  Look to see if there’s anything that these people have in common.  Are you dealing with a group of people that really likes to go out to the bars or a group of people that loves to play board games in on a Saturday night?  Nothing is wrong with either scenario, but unless your heart is set on a specific type of party, the affair will run much smoother if the guests feel comfortable.  Here are some questions you now want to ask yourself.

  • Do I want to pay for this party?  What is my budget?
  • Will every person pay his or her own way?  What is a reasonable cost to ask each of them to pay?
  • How much prep work do I want to do the day of the event?
  • How will people be getting to the event?
  • Is there public transportation or a place for people to stay if there will be drinking?
  • Do I want to have the party at my house or will it be at a different venue?

 Here are some ideas –

A night in:
Potluck, wine and cheese, brunch, baked potato party, taco night, ice cream sundae party, breakfast for dinner, game night, movie night, a specific food themed party, arts and crafts, holiday sweaters party, ladies night in with manicures and Sex and the City

Out in the country:
A kickball game, a recess themed party – hop scotch, tag, playgrounds, scavenger hunt, line dancing, pumpkin picking, apple picking

Out in the city:
Karaoke, fondue, concert, musical, theater, movies, bowling

Events somebody else can host for you:
Wine tasting, brewery tour, pottery painting, jewelry making, swing dancing, salsa dancing, pole dancing, rock climbing, volunteering, food tour

Foolproof & easy to execute:
Dinner and/or drinks

Some tips that I’ve learned along the way:

  • If you’re having an event where people need to pay their own way, it may be worth it to put “no gifts necessary” on the invitation
  • If you’re going to have a dinner and you can get a fixed rate, tell everybody the fixed rate including tax and tip and round it to a nice whole number
  • If it’s cash only, tell your guests that ahead of time
  • Sometimes it’s cheaper if you don’t tell the venue that you’re throwing a party.  For example, if you are going to go pottery painting, they’ll usually give you a fixed sitting fee for everybody that is higher than the normal sitting fee – so just call and make a reservation for however many people you need.  This works the same with bowling as well.
  • Check for coupons online
  • Ask for a lower rate from vendors, it can’t hurt
  • Ask your guests if they have an interest in bringing food or wine to an event – most people are glad to help out!

Step five: the invitations

Either make your invitations or send them out using a website such as Evite.  I’ve learned that handmade invitations are an awesome idea – unless you lack the means to get them to everybody ahead of time.  Now, the best part is that you are pretty much done until the day of the party, all you need to do is keep tabs on the RSVPs.

the finishing touches

Now that the party is planned, there are a few more details that you can start thinking about to make the event a little bit more personalized.  Is there a specific party favor that you want to give out to guests to remind them of the party?  Something that I have done in the past that has worked very well is created a collage of pictures, printed that collage on a 4”x6” picture and writing a thank you note on the back for each person.  Also, now is the time to start getting people psyched up for the party.  The more you talk about it and the more excited that you are for it, the more excited that your guests will be!  (No, seriously.)

Also – I’ve been horrible about this recently, but thank you cards are a very nice gesture, even if there was no present involved.  The reason that you invited somebody is to spend time with him or her and it was nice of that person to make time in his or her schedule to attend the gathering.  I hope to be better about this in the future.

Other posts that could follow this one:

  • Planning a menu
  • Prep work the day of the event
  • Decorations
  • Budgeting

Let me know what you’re most interested in hearing about!