On October 19th, 2013, I got engaged. It was the perfect setting. My boyfriend, Quinn, had all of my family over to our house for what I thought was a party for my sister’s birthday but surprised me with a marriage proposal instead. If you want all the juicy details, you can read my engagement story here. After our engagement, we were torn about what to do for our wedding. We have a huge family between the two of us and neither of us cared for an over the top wedding. After it was all said and done, we had a courthouse wedding that was absolutely perfect.
We only invited our immediate family to our wedding but we still wanted to celebrate with our friends and extended family. We had recently remodeled our entire house so what better way to break in the new furniture with a casual party at home. I’m a bit of a procrastinator and I’m not ashamed of it. I work best under pressure so it works out well but when I decided to throw a party at my house in less than two weeks, there was a bit of a freak out moment. The planning and preparing wasn’t bad at all, there was just a bunch of stuff to get done in less than 2 weeks. If you’re a procrastinator like me or just have a quick party to throw, I’m breaking down the basics for you to have the most successful party ever.
Use an Excel Spreadsheet to map everything out.
When I was playing online one day, I randomly came across Google Wedding. This spreadsheet was a Godsend. Create and collaborate with tools like Google Docs and Sheets. Just add email addresses to invite others to your doc and instantly start your guest list, budget, schedule and other wedding day necessities. Even if you aren’t planning a wedding, I would highly recommend using their spreadsheets that are already made.
Make a budget
Budgeting really isn’t my thing. I had many other expenses other than the party to pay for such as decorations for my house, last minute contractor work, etc. A budget is something I recommend setting whether you want to or not so you don’t end up spending way more money then planned.
Making lists aren’t an every day occurrence to me. I will usually make them but forget about or lose them but I realized how important my lists were when planning my party. I made lists for everything; food, drinks, guests, things to do, things to buy. It helped me get my thoughts on paper and to also get help from those around me.
Decide what food and drinks to serve
Are you going to feed your guests a complete meal or will there only be passed appetizers? Having a budget will help you determine which you will be serving. Another large factor in your budget is decided whether or not you will be serving alcoholic beverages or just cokes and water.
For my party, I knew from the start that there would be alcohol served. We aren’t big drinkers, but I wanted our guests to have the option of drinking if they wanted. To slim down our budget a bit, we decided to only serve wine and beer along with non alcoholic drinks. We bought a large variety of beers and stuck to one brand of wine called Manuscript Cellars. We were introduced to Manuscript Wines months ago and instantly fell in love.
There were a few reasons why I chose to specifically highlight Manuscript Cellars at my party. I love to support local and they’re owned by a local Dallas based company called Prairie Creek Beverages. The most important reason I chose Manuscript Wines is because I knew everybody would enjoy their wine. My favorite drink for the night was the Manuscript Cellars Limited Edition Sauvignon Blanc. The weather was perfect for a crisp wine that was full of flavor.
Quinn opted for the Pinot Noir, he doesn’t usually drink anything but red wines so I wasn’t too surprised. This varietal has a mix of strawberry, lychee, black cherry and pomegranate—with gentle, earthy layers of cedar, vanilla and crème fraîche. It’s truly a wine you don’t want to miss.
One thing I would suggest is to get an idea of who will be drinking at your party. I didn’t realize there would be so many wine drinkers. Of course, I knew everybody loves wine but since I had lots of beer, I thought there would be a good mix of wine vs beer drinkers. We provided 15 bottles of Manuscript Wine (all varieties) and they were all gone within 1.5 hours after our party started. The wine we provided is absolutely delicious, which is why I think everyone opted for wine instead of beer.
To make things easy, we purchased all of our wine and beer at Sigel’s. We love to shop there because they are a one stop shop for all things to do with alcohol. We were able to grab all of our wine, beer and drinking accessories there.
Assign tasks to your family and friends.
I made a list of everything that I could have other people do and I assigned family members tasks for the day. Some of the tasks included making sure the trash wasn’t full, adding more cookies to the tray, greeting guests upon arrival, making sure the house didn’t burn down – you know the most important things. Thankfully, I have some amazing family members that were on top of making sure the party ran smoothly. Quinn and I were able to just relax and enjoy everything without having to worry the whole night.
Hire a maid.
Not to clean before the party, but for them to clean after the party. I booked Homejoy to come to my house on the Monday after my party. This made my life so much easier because I didn’t have to worry about deep cleaning after the party. I knew that someone else was coming to do it for me and I could just truly relax.
I think this is the most important thing to do – just enjoy the moment. Everything always comes together and works it self out so don’t sweat the small stuff. I couldn’t have asked for a better time and I know my guests enjoyed themselves also.
What would you add to the list?