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Party Ideas & Tips

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Use Wedding and Party Network's party ideas and tips to assist you in planning your next party or special event wedding. Have you thought about when to consult a book a location or what you need to host an outdoor event? Everything from "how to keep food cool outdoors" to "how to hire a live band" can be found in Party Ideas and . View our Party Ideas and Tips and remember to check back often; we are always updating our site with the latest tips to keep your party planning efficient and easy. "Been Then – Done That" Share your party or special event ideas and tips.

by Tracy Brengard

Celebrating an anniversary is a milestone event for any couple. If you find yourself in charge of making plans for this type of party, consider these tips and ideas.

Type, Size and Budget
First, determine the type of party appropriate for the couple. A casual party or a more formal affair can be held depending on the preferences of the guests of honor. A budget needs to be considered and may help in making those types of decisions. You need to determine how large the party will be, as this will affect your location and cost. Let the couple make a guest list, including children, family and friends of their choice.

Date, Time and Place
Next, a date, time, and place must be selected for the party. It is a bonus if the party can be held on the actual anniversary date, but this must be coordinated with the couple. The place may be an outdoor location, a local venue, a church, or even your own home.

Invitations, Theme and Decorations
Once the details are nailed down, send out the invitations at least two weeks in advance. These can be store bought, handmade or printed professionally. Wherever you choose to host the party, you might select a theme relating to where the couple was married or where they went on their honeymoon. Identify a hobby or activity that connects them and use that as a springboard for ideas. If you want to keep it simple, look up the traditional anniversary gift for that particular year. For example, the 25th year anniversary gift is silver, and the flower is the Iris. Use those elements to decorate and accessorize. Flowers, balloons, confetti or other décor is up to you, depending on the time, budget and the space. It is always nice to display wedding photos along with other pictures of the couple through the years.

The party food served at your anniversary celebration will depend on your location and budget. Hire a caterer, cook a special meal yourself, or perhaps have family members help with the preparations. Consider your theme or a favorite meal of the couple when deciding on your menu. Usually a cake is served at anniversary gatherings. In recent years, bakeries have become creative with cake designs, and this could be a signature item on your food table. Of course a favorite family recipe would also be appropriate in this instance. Think about your guests, your venue, and the time that your party takes place when you make your food plans.

Entertainment and Activities
When you are planning the party events, there are many options to consider. For music, you can hire a band or musician, or simply play music of your choice in the background. Pictures are a must, and a professional photographer may be hired, or a family member can be enlisted to serve as photographer. Another option would be to have disposable cameras on tables to allow guests to capture candid photos. Speak to the guests of honor about their interest in renewing their wedding vows or providing pictures for a slide show. If their wedding video is available, it could be set up for viewing. As a special memento of the party, have a framed picture, memory book or other item that guests can sign as a tribute to the guests of honor.

Special Considerations
If your couple of honor and many of your guests are older, consider that in your planning. A party during the day might be a better choice. Think about a location that is not difficult to access with many stairs or other obstacles. Make sure plenty of seating is available for guests. Younger couples may enjoy an evening party with dancing or games. Talk to them and determine what type of party they would enjoy before making your plans.

With a little creative planning, you can host an anniversary party that will be memorable and fun! With your focus on the couple of honor, it will be the perfect way to celebrate their special day.

1. Binge Watch Your Favorite Show
After a long work week, sometimes the most fulfilling way to celebrate is a comfortable evening at home. If you and your sweetie aren't in the mood to brave the Valentine's Day crowds, plan a no-fuss evening with your favorite show. This is fun because it is a little bit of a challenge to see how many episodes you can watch in one night! If you have kids, try to get a sitter for the night so you two can stay up as late as you want. Make sure you're both dressed in your most comfy lounge-wear, order take-out or just have both of your favorite snacks set out, and turn the living room or bedroom into a cozy space for some much deserved TV and snuggle time!

2. Cooking Contest (Heart-shaped food)
This is great for the competitive types! It's also another staying-in option and can be good if you're on a tight budget. Set aside an evening to split up at the grocery store and buy ingredients you will need to cook your meals. You may each have to cook separate, or if you have a big enough kitchen to cook at the same time that would be ideal. The kicker is your food has to be heart-shaped or any variation of a Valentine's Day theme! Be creative together and see who can cook and/or bake the most unique food! Then, of course, enjoy eating your creations.

3. Be a Tourist (In your own city)
Whether you just moved to a new place or have lived in the same town your entire life, chances are there are still places you haven't explored. It may be a park, a scenic drive, certain shops or restaurants, a city museum, etc. There's always more to learn about where you live and Valentine's Day is a good time to make it a date and learn together!

Of course Valentine's Day isn't just a holiday for couples. You can do any of this with your friends, family members, and even your pets (I don't recommend letting your pet cook, though!). Let these three ideas be a guide into how you celebrate the holiday of love with those you most care about!

by Laken Watts

Brunch. The most versatile meal of the day. The time can be 11:00 in the morning and last till 3:00 in the afternoon. Relaxed, formal… You name it. We’ve got a few spins on the original brunch ideas on the blog today.

Bloody Mary Brunch
Nothing says brunch like a strong Bloody Mary. Currently trending on the DIY websites are Bloody Mary Bars. The idea is instead of having one signature Bloody Mary for your brunch, you give your guests the luxury of having all kinds of toppings, seasonings, alcohol and garnishes. To see this play out, we suggest getting ideas from a few different Bloody Mary recipes and laying it all out on the table (literally) for your guests. Make sure you have your BM mix ready and prepared and let the guests do the rest! Let the BM Bar be the star of the show while you offer light and simple brunch apps to enjoy. This is a super relaxed brunch, so feel free to send e-vites through email, social media or even texts. It’s a co-ed brunch too!

Champagne Brunch
Because just yes, we all need to feel a little fancy in our lives every once and a while. Champagne brunch is reserved for those very special occasions; bridal showers, baby celebrations, etc. This one’s for the girls, so leave the guys at home in bed and really do this thing up right. I’m envisioning glitter, gold and gorgeous flowers. Use light and airy florals along with white linens to give an elegant, timeless feel. Your invites should be formal, and include guest’s attire of “Sunday Best.” Menu should include decadent items such as chocolate covered strawberries, a thick crusted quiche, and big ol’ buttery croissants. Set the tone for your guests by having a frozen champagne cocktail when they arrive and meet and greet. For the actual meal, change it up to have a simple, classic champagne. Finally, top it off with a rose’ champagne to go with those delicious strawberries. Bringing different champagne drinks to your brunch really turns this party from a regular brunch to an actual champagne brunch! Your girls will feel honored and a bit bubbly by the end of the afternoon!

Love Brunch
Since we are quickly approaching the most celebrated day for love out of the whole year, we thought we’d do a special write up on a Valentine’s Day Brunch. Now, where most any other party you would invite your friends and family to come, this one is just for your and your love bird. Enjoy this meal at home. Could be served at the dinner table or hey, why not brunch in bed? You really need to know your audience for this kind of party. What is your sweetie’s favorite breakfast items? What is their favorite drink? Try incorporating their favorite into every element of the brunch. Do they love fresh flowers? What about bacon? (Can you ever go wrong with bacon?) Cater all the features to your one and only to make them feel special, loved and celebrated this Valentine’s Day.

There you have it. Fresh takes on brunch that you can use at your upcoming parties this spring. Happy planning!

For more great ideas and tips, visit the Wedding and Party Blog!


by Laken Watts

A new year has come and 2016 has big things in store for us. We’ve got three fresh, new party ideas to go along with events and movies of 2016!

1. Finding Dory Themed Party
We’ve wait been waiting for this one for a long time! The sequel to Disney’s Finding Nemo has finally arrived and I know it’s going to be a favorite for the year. The movie comes out this summer, so it’s perfect for summer swim parties. This is also a great gender neutral party! For food, keeping it light is best. PB&J sandwiches cut out fish shapes (use a cookie cutter), gold fish crackers, and watermelon cut out to look like an open mouth shark are a few simple ideas. Kids can run and grab a bite then head right back to the pool fun! Use a blue table cloth and tie some green streamers to the table to look like sea weed and you’re set!

2. Olympic Themed Party
The 2016 Olympic games are being held in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, and we are so excited about this theme! The possibilities are endless and ages don’t matter with this one. You can make your own mini Olympics with outdoor yard games like potato sack races, corn hole games, tug of war and a basketball shoot outs. Give gold, bronze and silver prizes to the winners. Have a decent amount of food since guests will be working hard. It would be a great time to grill out! Keep it simple for the main course—burgers and chips are easy. You can get fancy with your dessert by making cupcakes that look like the Olympic rings. Don’t forget to light a (tiki) torch!

3. Transit of Mercury Party
It’s been 10 years since we have been able to see the planet Mercury pass by Earth. This May, we will get to witness this spectacular event. Space themed parties are easy to put together and the main show will wow your guests. Have your telescope ready and be sure to have NASA’s website pulled up to see estimated viewing times. Just put out light snacks for your guests. Cheese puffs can be labeled as the planet Mercury, rice krispies cut out as stars, and last but not least, the Bomb rocket popsicles!

This year is going to be filled with many great memories and times to celebrate! For more great party tips and trends, visit the Wedding and Party Network Blog!

by Hannah Jackson

Do you know a special kid having a birthday this winter? Wanting to throw a fantastic party to celebrate? Here are three options for partying, even when it's too cold outside!

Indoor Campout Slumber Party
No need to be outside to go camping! Set up a "firepit" inside your living room with some logs and orange, yellow, and red construction paper cut into the shape of flames. Serve treats such as s'mores and hot dogs. Whatever camping traditions you and your family like to do, incorporate them in your indoor campout! Make it fun and set up fort with the family too!

Indoor Snowball Fight
When the weather outside is frightful, have a snowball fight–inside! For snowballs, use balled up white socks for big snowballs and cotton balls for small ones. Set up a course for kids to play around, with safety rules! Use things around your home like pillows, and empty laundry baskets as shields!

Gingerbread Man Cookie Decorating
Take a traditional holiday activity and add a little twist. Bake a big batch and let your kids decorate their gingerbread man as their favorite super hero or as them! This doesn't just have to be a holiday tradition, but a party tradition too!

The weather doesn't have to stop you from throwing your kids some amazing parties! For more great party tips, visit the Wedding and Party Blog too!

by Tracy Brengard

One of the most festive events of the holiday season can be spending New Year's Eve with friends or family. Save all those resolutions of January 1st and host a spectacular party to bid farewell to 2015!

Time for a Party!
Use clocks as your theme for this time-centered party. Declare “Time to Celebrate” on invitations for guests. Use all types of clocks as decorations. For example, some digital clocks will display time on walls or ceilings. Use numbers 1-12 along with streamers or balloons to set up a festive backdrop. Cookies or a cake can be decorated to look like a clock. Use toy watches as napkin rings or decorations on tables. Counting down the time is what this night is about, so plan to ring a bell on each hour and play a game or plan an activity. An hour before midnight, this could be as simple as distributing hats or party favors to prepare for the New Year’s celebration. Have a countdown and confetti to throw as the clock strikes twelve!

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody!
The glitz and glamour of the roaring 20’s is the perfect backdrop for your very own Great Gatsby themed party. Art Deco invitations and decorations are a must and are readily available online or in craft stores. Guests may come dressed in their very best flapper girl or gangster costumes. Set the mood with a signature drink, such as a mint julep or gin fizz.  Use solid classic colors such as gold and silver or black and white, and have food tables set with tiered trays. Choose flowers such as red roses or white gardenias.  Incorporate large feathers and pearls in your decorating. Helium balloons in solid colors will fill the space and make a statement. Hang stringed lights to add the right touch and don’t forget to keep the jazz music playing. Toast to the New Year by passing out trays of champagne or sparkling water as the countdown to 2016 begins.

Start Spreading the News!
Nothing says New Year’s Eve more than Times Square in New York City. Bring the party to your own home by hosting a Ball Drop party. Decorate with disco balls and silhouettes of the New York City skyline. Incorporate apples or other iconic New York symbols. This can be a casual night with party hats and noisemakers or a more formal black-tie affair.  Serve a signature drink, such as a Manhattan. Create a playlist of music including artists such as Frank Sinatra, along with other famous New York songs. Provide real-time coverage of the actual Times Square festivities on a centrally located television screen. Have your own “ball drop” with a large disco ball or balloons and count down to midnight with your guests.  

Organize a unique New Year’s Celebration this year! Whether you hire a caterer for a formal affair or decide on a casual potluck dinner, planning ahead will make your party an unforgettable one. Remember to provide safe ways for your guests to head home as the party ends. Consider your budget, choose a theme, and then welcome 2016 in style!

by Laken Watts

The holidays are here and decorations are in full force. They're everywhere we turn, from the grocery store to picking up the mail–the season is officially here.

It's a wonderful time of year and this year a simple tablescape will make your holiday events really stand out!

Bring the outside, in! Use pine branches and berries to decorate your table and sprinkle cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices in glass vases. Go with a cream colored table runner and you are all set with a beautifully simple holiday table!

For more great ideas and tips, check back with the Wedding and Party Network Blog.

by Tracy Brengard

Holiday movies and music, lists for Santa, and a shimmering tree–these are some of the things that make Christmas the most magical time of the year! Why not throw a party to remember this holiday season? Try a new theme or put a spin on your tradition holiday celebration with one these party ideas.

Polar Express Pajama Party
Ugly Christmas sweaters have been the go-to dress code for many recent holiday parties. Try something different this year with a pajama party for kids! Host a Polar Express pajama party with train tickets as invitations. Have someone, maybe Santa himself, read the story "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg or watch the movie. As a party favor, provide a bell for each guest, which fits in perfectly with the ending of the story.

Progressive Dinner Party
A progressive dinner party is another option for celebrating with friends and neighbors. Choose three host homes to visit–one for appetizers, then main course, and finally, dessert. Plan to stay an hour at each stop. Each guest may be assigned a menu item to bring to the host. One option is to do an around the world theme and have different foods from different countries with matching decorations and games.

Santa's Workshop Party
The holidays are a time for giving, and it would be great to encourage the generosity of  others in your holiday planning. Host a Santa's workshop party. Everyone that attends receives a Santa hat as they arrive. Guests bring a toy or other donation for needy families in the community. Then put on some music, bring out the hot cocoa, and wrap your gifts to give to a local charity.

Whether you decide to have a large event or simply go Christmas caroling around your neighborhood, plan a wonderful celebration to share with friends and family!

Recently engaged? Congrats! You are about to embark on a fantastic journey to your happily ever after. But there is one event that kicks off the crazy planning–your engagement party! Here are some simple do's and don'ts so your engagement celebration goes without a hitch!

Don't Assume Party Hosts
It is tradition that the bride's parents usually throw this celebration, but that is now not always the case. Make sure to double check with each set of parents and even consider letting both sets throw you a party! Don't forget that friends can throw you one too!

Do Give a Guest List
Normally those invited to the engagement party expect an invitation to the actual wedding shindig. Make sure to give your party host a guest list so no one's feelings get hurt!

Don't Make It Too Formal
The engagement party is usually a casual affair. There are plenty of wedding events that will call for the formal attire (like the wedding)!

Do Get Thank You Cards
While it's not always expected to give a gift at the engagement party, many do like to bring a little something. Make sure to prepare a registry, just in case, and thank you cards.

The engagement party is a time to celebrate the news of your upcoming nuptuals, so celebrate with family and friends! For more great tips, make sure to visit the Wedding and Party Network Blog.

by Karole Risker

While a good hostess makes an occasion memorable, a great one will extend it past the event itself. One easy way to do that is by giving tokens that guests will want to keep. Here are some great favor ideas that you can give out this Thanksgiving!

Cozy Gifts
Offer guests blankets or shawls for outdoor events when it gets chilly, and then allow guests to take them home.

S'mores To Go
How about wrapping up two squares of graham crackers, part of a chocolate bar and a couple of marshmallows? Then you'll have a personal s'more that's easy to transport.

Caramel Apple Treats
Don't overthink it" caramel apples are a simple token that can be easily made and packaged. For a twist, make mini caramel apples. Just use a melon baller to scoop out sections of an apple. Stick cake pop/sucker sticks in them, melt the caramel and (once the caramel has cooled and thickened a bit) dip them in! Then you have a little treat that's sure to get "oooohs" and "ahhhhs".

There you have it–easy ways to remember an event long after it's over. Remember, the best gifts are both usable and beautiful. Happy hosting!