Perfect Party Planning Online
by Laura Emery, Field Editor
Parties are not only a good way to celebrate holidays
and momentous life occasions; they’re also an excuse to bring together
family and friends. But party planning isn’t easy. Here are some websites to
help you all along your party-planning way.
Dressed To Party. When it comes to birthday parties for
younger children, the party outfit is usually an indication of the overall
theme of the party. Etsy.com’s “Lil’ Bit of Whimsy Coutur”
offers many popular options — from sock monkeys to elephants, Minnie
Mouse to Cookie Monster. The shop’s two featured items include applique
pillowcase-style side-bow dresses for the girls and suspender applique
tee-shirts for the boys. Need a coordinating bow for the birthday girl?
Check out Etsy shop “Sweetest Bug Bows” (www.etsy.com/shop/SweetestBugBows).
Simply email the shop owner a photo of your little one’s birthday
outfit and she will do her best to create the perfect match.
Invitations & Save-the-Dates. The first step to
successful party planning is extending a memorable invitation or
save-the-date. Etsy.com has thousands of options when it comes to custom
invitations and save-the-dates. One such option is “StudioWDesigns”
It specializes in custom invitations and announcements that
will “wow” your guests. From weddings, showers, births and graduations to
corporate events and beyond, StudioWDesigns can handle all of your design
and printed needs with professionalism and patience. After you purchase your
invitation, the shop owner will work with you to personalize your invite
with photos and party information. When the final proof has been approved,
you’ll be mailed completely assembled invitations. All you have to do is
address them to your guests and add a stamp. It’s that easy.
All About the Décor. Once you’ve established the theme
for your party, the next step is getting inspiration for your décor. Party
blogs have recently exploded online, which means there are plenty of
websites featuring party-planning ideas and photos for almost any theme you
could possibly imagine. Need inspiration? Over at Kara’s Party ideas (www.karaspartyideas.com),
you’ll find plenty of party ideas to peruse. Not only does she show you
gorgeous photos of every party theme you can imagine, but she also tells you
how to achieve the same look for yourself. However, if you don’t have a lot
of time and want to go the party-in-a-box route, check out
your theme and choosing your party décor, for the most part, is done.
Another recommended way to “plan” your perfect party
and keep track of all your ideas in a fun, visually appealing way is to use
Pinterest.com. Create a board dedicated to your party and start pinning
ideas to your board — from the party outfit to the cake recipe. Here’s how
Pinterest works, in a nutshell: If you’re planning a baby shower with a
Noah’s Ark theme, for example, simply search those keywords at the upper
left-hand corner of the Pinterest homepage. Thousands of photos will pop up.
Each photo will then link to the website or blog where that photo is
Sliced or Smashed. Parties almost always come with some
sort of sweet treat or cake feature. Visit
http://spoonful.com/recipes/creative-cakes-gallery for a gallery of fun,
unique cake ideas — for recipes or just for inspiration. Or visit
www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/howtocook/dishes/cake for more
sophisticated options (weddings, showers, etc.).
It’s All About the Details. Perhaps you need to polish
off your special party with some personalized water bottle or candy bar
wraps — or with personalized cupcake toppers or party favor stickers. For
personalized favor stickers, check out Etsy shop “partyINK”
to create a custom sticker for the perfect parting gift for party
guests. Whether it’s “Tricks and Treats for you from the Johnsons” or
“Thanks for swinging by Brielle’s First Birthday Party” — the shop owner
will work with you to create something special. For water bottle wrappers
and other popular printables, visit Etsy shop “BellePrintables.”
Cheese! No party is complete without a professional
photographer on hand to capture every single special moment. At
www.vppa.org, home to Virginia
Professional Photographers, you can find the perfect person to photograph
your party or gathering.
Menu Planning. For everything you need to know to plan
the perfect menu for any holiday gathering, check out
www.bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/all-holidays. Or for
beautiful holiday “tablescapes” sure to wow your guests, Sandra Lee’s
is the perfect place to go.