5 Easy Steps for Party Setup

This is part three of my party planning series.  Be sure to check out part one and two!

The day has come- it's party time! Hopefully you've checked out my other articles, and are fully prepared for the party that's about to happen ;) Before everyone comes over, here are a few tips to get your party started on the right foot!

 

Budget your time. Plan out how long you think it will take you to set up, and add an hour. It always takes me so much longer to set up than I think! Save yourself the stress, and budget at least an extra hour for your prep time. This way you won't have to be getting dressed or doing your hair as your guests arrive.

Label all your food. Unless you want to spend the entire party listing out each item on your table, I recommend creating simple labels to let your guests know what's being served. You can find lots of printables online, or use items related to your theme. For example, I used heart shaped doilies to label the food at my Valentine's Day Party. This prevented me from having to explain and looked much cuter than keeping everything in its jar. If someone has a food allergy or dietary restrictions, it can be helpful to label that as well. Make small toothpick flags that say "gluten free", "vegetarian", or "nut safe" and place them in the appropriate dishes.

Prep your plates. Clear off all your surfaces and put on your tablecloths and table runners. Place all platters onto your table and take some time to arrange them in a way that is visually appealing. It's better to do this before the food comes because you can play around with the layout and decide what looks best where. Then, you can grab each plate and put the food items on it- bonus points if your labels are placed next to each plate beforehand as well!

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Start early. If possible, start decorating the night before. Put up wall hangings and lanterns, set up the photo booth, or string up the lights. The less you have to do on the day of the event, the better! You never know if something will come up and leave you scrambling at the last minute.

Be helpful to those helping you. If you're lucky enough to have assistance prepping for your party, take a little time to plan out what exactly you'll need them to do. Are they heating up the food? Make a list of the items in the order they need to be cooked, and at which temperature.  Are they doing decor? Draw a quick diagram of how you want things to go and where basic supplies are located. This way, you don't spend the whole time delegating tasks and can instead focus on what you need to finish up!

What if you didn't plan ahead and don't have enough time- now what?! The first step is to relax. Even though you're out of time, take a minute to take some deep breaths. Make your exhales longer than your inhales. If you haven't showered, do that. It will give you some time to relax and make a game plan. Then, start to eliminate unnecessary tasks. Maybe you don't need to make that super complicated drink you were planning. Or, only do the things you can't do after guests arrive, like cleaning the house or decorating. If your food won't be ready in time, put out some simple appetizers and encourage conversations between guests so you can focus on finishing. Accept help if someone offers, but avoid putting everyone to work- you want them feeling like a guest, not restaurant staff.

Be sure to follow my Party Inspiration Pinterest Board for TONS of fun party ideas!

Have any tips for party setup? Let me know in the comments below!

Related: How to Plan an Awesome Party in 10 Easy Steps