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Planning & Invitations

Set a Date & Time

Set a date that works for you and your family. Summer is usually the best time of year to have parties because the weather is great for traveling and most kids are out of school. If you’re hosting a holiday party, keep in mind that these are the busiest travel days of the year, so make sure to find a date that works best for your traveling family and friends.

Setting the time of your party can vary based on the theme. If it’s a murder mystery party, for example, have it in the evening just as the sun goes down, so guests can travel in the daylight and celebrate in the mysterious evening hours. Switch gears if you’re throwing a baby shower. Early afternoon to midafternoon is a great time of day, so elderly relatives and friends can drive to and from the party in the daylight.

Decide on a Theme

Sometimes, random parties can be the most fun. Throw a “first weekend of the summer party” or a last-minute wine and cheese party. Get as creative as you want! Whether it’s a casual Super Bowl party or formal Thanksgiving dinner, tailor your guest list, invites and menu according to the special event you’re celebrating.

Make Out Your Guest List

Remember that not everyone will be able to make it to your party because of prior commitments, so decide on the maximum number of people your house (or facility) can hold and go from there.

Send the Invitations

Call, mail or e-mail invitations up to two weeks ahead of time. Add a personal touch by handwriting a little note to each guest in the card.

Plan Your Menu

Go grocery shopping two or three days before the party, and don’t forget to find out about any food allergies your guests may have, so you can provide appropriate alternatives.