1. Venue- you can not even think about invitations (cause I was ahead of myself in that department) UNTIL you have the place. I chose to have it outside on the lawn. It was perfect!
2. Guest List- Considering how large your venue is, your guest list can begin. You need to get a count before you start making invitations (again, we aren't at the creative steps YET!)
3. Theme or colors- Don't go all crazy and try to make an extravagant plan. Make it simple. "lavender and green", "ice cream cones", "pinwheels", "princess"... what ever it may be, keep it simple.
4. Invitations- My FAVORITE part! I had so much fun making all of my invitations. I had the number I needed to make and worked all night putting them together and into their envelopes. I am the type of person who loves getting mail, especially something home made, and for a party! I believe it let all of my guests know that I specifically thought of them, instead of sending an email or text or whatever it may be nowadays.
- a main dish (we had hamburgers and hot dogs)
- one side dish (we had fruit salad)
- an appetizer (my hubby made guacamole dip)
- drinks (we had pink lemonade and water)
- and of course the birthday cake!
6. Decorations- You should have an idea of how many guests you are expecting before you can purchase the decorations. Go shopping with your theme in mind. There are a few necessities and also the option to go a little crazy... but that is all up to you. Here are your necessities:
- table cloths- you will know how many tables you have, which makes this step easy
- silverware- with the option of having a cute holder for them, or else you can use an extra cup :)
- napkins- if you're outside do not forget to have a paperweight! I always think it looks tacky when the plates or a food dish is sitting on the napkins.
- blankets- especially at my daughters party there were many infants. These were nice to spread on the grass with some toys.
7. Some things we forgot until the last minute.
- trash can and bags
- recycle bin
8. Aftermath- Clean up is just as important as the set up. I understand how exhausting a party can be. I know what it feels like to want to "do it later".
Some words of advice (of course I learned these from the party and will remember for the future!)
Don't feel guilty if you can't talk to everyone!
Don't open the gifts in front of the guests. They will feel obligated to stay and watch you. But before they leave offer to open their gift. Surprisingly, everyone at my party said not to open it right then!
RELAX, you want to enjoy the party as much as your guests. If they see you stressed out and running around, they will feel the tension.
Take a picture with everyone before they leave. You are sure to get a picture of everyone!