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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How To Throw Together A Party in 2 Weeks


We recently celebrated my husband's 40th with a big shindig at our home.  I am a planner who believes  that it's all in the details, so imagine my panic and anxiety when my husband finally decided on his birthday celebration and guest list 2 1/2 weeks before the proposed party date.  After I calmed down from the reality of the situation, I went into execution mode.  The party came out beautifully and everyone had a blast.  Here's how I made it happen.

2 1/2 weeks before:
  • Sent out the invitations via Postmark: Online invitations are a great option when you are sending out less than a month in advance.  I usually use Evite, but this company had some designs that were a bit more elegant and in line with what I was looking for.

2 weeks before:
  • Booked the entertainment and food: Luckily, my husband is a simple man.  He wanted a DJ (Check!), a food truck (We booked his favorite, Me So Hungry - they were fantastic.), and craft cocktails (This required a bit of research, but I found an awesome craft bartender who came up with some delicious cocktails.  I will definitely be using him again.)
  • Planned appetizer menus: Hooray for Pinterest!  I wanted food that people could carry and eat easily while walking around, so I planned a homemade party mix, a couple of antipasto platters, Asian quinoa salad cups, and veggie/hummus cups.
  • Ordered the cake: Our local, favorite bakery made a beautiful cake with my husband's favorite frosting and filling.
  • Ordered the rentals (tables, heaters, linens)

1 week before:
  • Purchased the alcohol, water, and party supplies: BevMo's 5 cent sale could not have come at a better time!  I shopped there and Smart 'N Final to get everything I needed.
  • Coordinated theme and decorations: I have been using the great team at Society Picnic for the past couple of years.  They create decorations, invitations, themes, centerpieces and more - basically anything you need to make your party look beautiful, thematic and amazing.  I gave them my "This is 40" theme, along with some childhood photos of my husband, and they created a fantastic "chalkboard" chic theme that was masculine and elegant.  I loved every detail they put together for me, including the pretzel stick favors with tags that read "Keep Calm and Party On...it's only 40!"  They were incredible to pull this all together for me in just a week, for which I am eternally grateful.  I picked up a few things at Party City to complement what they were doing and I was set.

5 days before:
  • Purchased the food: One stop at Costco and a few items during my weekly Trader Joe's run got this item taken care of.

3 days before:
  • Ordered balloons: I wanted something special beyond regular balloons.  I brought a picture of something I saw on Pinterest and had these wonderful ribbons and streamers tied to the ends of the balloons.  They really added to the decorations.  I loved the look so much that I might never do my balloons without them again!

The day and night before:
  • Picked up the decorations and flowers from Society Picnic
  • Made the party mix, prepped the vegetables for appetizers and made the quinoa salad
  • Cleaned the house and set up the appetizer table minus food
  • Made centerpieces and hung party banner

The day of:
  • Picked up the balloons and cake
  • Set up the tables and bar
  • Plated the appetizers

Below are a few pictures of how it all came together.

Food spread for 40th Party
Decor for 40th Party