This past weekend I held my first party ever. I’ve grown up going to some really fabulous parties.The pressure to compete with the past parties was immense. When I started planning the party I did extensive research trying to figure out where to start. It was definitely an overwhelming process. I wanted to hold a party where I could spend time with friends and family that I might not be able to be with on Thanksgiving. I decided to hold a Friendsgiving. I started first by making a list of people that I wanted to spend time with. By deciding who/ how many people I wanted to invite it really helped me decide where to focus on where to hold the party.
Choosing a Location: Currently, I live in a one bedroom apartment and there was no way to have all the people that we wanted to have over in the apartment. I started looking at different venues and the prices varied greatly. I knew that I didn’t want to spend a significant amount of money on the venue but wanted it to look nice. I decided on going with the clubhouse at my apartment. The price was the cheapest ($75) but also the proximity was nice for day of set up.
Choosing a Date: The next big decision was picking a date. I tried to feel several of the guests out for a good date to pick. I realized that I was never going to be able to accommodate everyone. I decided a date that worked for me and I stuck with it. I wanted it to be before the Thanksgiving & December Holidays.
One of my favorite parts of the process was designing the invitations. At first I thought that I was going to use a set of pre-made cards. I found the cutest cards at target but they were $30 for 25 cards. I found the cards a little pricey and impersonal. Michael’s had plain cards that I could decorate my own way. I was able to get 50 plain cards for $6. (http://www.michaels.com/recollections-cards-and-envelopes/M10205015.html?dwvar_M10205015_color=White#q=cards&start=2) I found a can of glitter spray paint for 6$. (http://www.michaels.com/design-master-glitter-spray/M10151035.html?dwvar_M10151035_color=Silver#q=gold+spray+paint&start=6). I also purchased a bag of fake fall leaves for $1. I spent a total of $13 on 50 cards vs. 60$. I spent approximately 4-5 hours decorating the cards (with the help of a friend). Next time I send a cards out I will send them 2 months prior to the start of the party. I sent the cards out one month early and because of this some people received the cards after the party happened. I struggled with doing an Evite or Facebook event since I am in the marketing industry. I felt that since it was a more formal (invitation only) party it was better to send out cards.
Potluck vs. Cooking Cooking is not my forte. But I really enjoy baking pies. I cooked: pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, peanut butter pie (my favorite) http://www.aspicyperspective.com/2013/10/chocolate-peanut-butter-pie.html#_a5y_p=1011863 and cookie dough cheesecake(http://www.copycatrecipeguide.com/How_to_Make_Cheesecake_Factory_Chocolate_Chip_Cookie-Dough_Cheesecake) . I asked all of the guests to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish. I thought this would be fun to see what everyone brought. Several of the guests were very concerned about having duplicate dishes. This wasn’t a concern to me personally because I figured that if a dish was multiple peoples favorites then more people would eat it. The only duplicate food that was at the party was 2 pumpkin pies.
Drinks All of the articles online tell you to not pretend you are a bar and buy one of every drink. I only purchased beer, soda, and wine. I completely overpurchased on the drinks. Soda can’t go bad so I was okay with that. Several guests bought their favorite drinks which was helpful.
Music Music makes or breaks a party to me. We brought a speaker system to the venue that was blue tooth capable. This was a nice feature because anyone could connect to their phones to the speaker and play a song that they wanted.
Day of Event I had a to do list for the day of the event. Literally every detail of the preparation I had written down. This is really helpful because not one single person can do everything for the event. By having everything written down it allowed for other people to help and jump in when needed.
Clean up One of the best things that I did to help clean up was having several boxes and baskets onsite to make carrying everything out of the venue. It was great that a few guests stayed to clean.
What I would change While I found my party a success there are still several changes that I will implement earlier to make the party even better. Firstly I need to send out invitations earlier. I sent the invitations out approximately 1 month early. Next time I need to send the invitations at least 2 months prior. In regards to food I will have all of the guests RSVP with the food that they plan to bring.I also over purchased drinks. I am not sure if there is a specific ratio of people per drinks. Music makes or breaks a party. It would be better to have a set play list for music that way no one would have to be consumed with worrying about picking the next song. A big time sucker is picking out an outfit no matter where you are going. When its your party and you have a million other things to worry about I think it would be better to have an outfit picked out prior to day of event. The day before the event I found out that the venue had to be cleaned by 9 AM the next day. We partied until 4 AM. It really was hard to clean up after partying for so long. I think I would plan to have a definate end time in the party to allow for clean up time.After the dinner was over the party turned from eating to mostly drinking. Next time I will plan to bring additional munchies/snacks for everyone to eat while playing games. I also will plan for a designated driver/ someone to ensure everyone’s return home safely.