Throwing a Party 101
*ALL PHOTOS FEATURED WERE TAKEN BY BRONWYN SCHELLER*
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My sister Olivia ties the knot in just a few short weeks and 9 months ago she asked me to be her maid of honor… and well, I was honored. But I am also 18 years old and have never been in a wedding before (excluding being a flower girl) and I didn’t know the first thing about being a bridesmaid, let alone the maid of honor. However, I did know I got to spoil her with a beautiful shower! And lucky me, it ended up being two!! BACK TO BACK.
Just to expand on the party throwing aspect of my life: I am an avid celebrater. It’s my birthday? I wanna party. It’s your birthday? I wanna party. It’s Christmas? Yup, party time. New Years Eve? Party. Minor holiday? Party, party, party. So, yeah, I love parties. But I wanted this party to be a memorable affair, and I wanted Olivia to feel special…in other words: the pressure was on.
T I P #1: PLAYFULLY PERSONAL.
For me this manifested in a few different ways. One way I customized this shower to Olivia was by using her engagement photos in my DIY projects. Olivia’s engagement photos were taken at the Abbotsford Tulip Festival and they were the inspiration for the entire “theme” of the shower. With the use of PicMonkey I made signs for the food table, and for the names on the little goodie bag. This was a personal touch to the party that no other party will have, and that incorporates the bride directly. Luckily this sort of personalization is very flexible to suit any occasion and any person.
T I P #2: HAVE A VISION or STARTING PLACE
Until I saw my sister’s engagement photos I did not have a vision or theme or really any coherent idea of what I wanted the shower to look like. I wasted a lot of time trying to cultivate a theme and it felt forced, unnatural, and not right for Olivia. When I saw her gorgeous photos of fields of tulips, I knew right then what the theme was going to be: gold, black and white stripes, and tulips. It just hit me. Having those guidelines set up for decorations was so helpful. Without an idea it is hard to pull things together.
T I P #3: ASK & BE CREATIVE.
First of all, this is great advice just for life in general, but in reference to party throwing I mean something different. One of the pieces of her shower that I was most excited about was the gold sequence table cloth and the black and white table runner. Do you want to know what those two things technically are? The gold sequence table cloth is technically a curtain that I borrowed from my previous high school, and the black and white runner is wrapping paper. Yup. I posted on my town’s FaceBook page asking for things that fit my theme, and I got them…for cheap! If you are willing to search for items and to be creative, you will find success!
T I P #4: FIT THE PARTY TO THE PERSON
With the exception of a birthday party, most parties are about people other than yourself. In those cases it’s so important to cater the party to their personal taste. I am extroverted to my core, and the more people around–the better! My sister does not share the same extrovertness as me, and so one way I accommodated her preferences was to invite only her closest friends. It can be hard in some scenarios to not impose what we (as the party planner) want, but to always keep the person celebrated at the fore-front of our planning.
T I P #5: BE ORGANIZED AND CORRESPOND WELL
If you are so brave as to plan an entire party on your own… pass on by. Luckily, I wasn’t on my own entirely while planning this. My sister and her friends are all 7+ years older than me and are far more experienced with planning bridal showers. They offered me so much guidance and were the biggest help to me! When putting together a celebration it is hard to successfully communicate with other people involved if you are not organized. If you were to look at my planner in the weeks prior to Olivia’s shower you would see absolute organization. I wrote down everything from what I had to purchase or pick up on specific days, to who I needed to contact on that day, to the expenses of the shower. It was all laid out for me, which was a godsend by the end because I also was working more than full time hours in the weeks before the shower and I could not think straight! Organization is always beneficial!
T I P #6: TWENTY DOLLARS HERE, TEN DOLLARS HERE
Set a budget. I did NOT do this, and I should have. It’s not that this shower was SOOOO expensive, rather it’s that I ended up frivolously spending money on things that I didn’t even end up using. If you set a budget you’ll probably think through what you actually need and want, and be less inclined to drop money on non-essentials.
T I P #7: TAKE REQUESTS
At the beginning of planning process I asked my sister what her requests were. This was important because I wanted my sister to be surprised by what I had planned, but not disappointed! She told me that she wanted 1) donuts and 2) mimosas. I pulled through on both fronts and then got to fill in all the blanks with what I know about Olivia’s taste!
Well, that’s about as many tips that I can think of. Planning a party for my sister was such a treat, and truly an honor. Unfortunately for me, she stopped celebrating her birthday a long time ago and so this is the first party I’ve gotten to plan for her. It is such a blessing to see her get married and to celebrate that!
If you ever need helping hands at your party, or planning it, my contact info can be found under the “Contact” tab on my blog.
A special thanks to Bronwyn Scheller for her talents! So happy with the photos you took! Be sure to check out her instagram and blog!