Caught in the Web

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” (www.etsy.com/shop/LilBitofWhimsyCoutur) 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” (www.etsy.com/shop/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 www.birthdayinabox.com. Find 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 featured.

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” (www.etsy.com/shop/partyINKto 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.marthastewart.com/856503/holiday-parties-and-menus or www.bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/all-holidays. Or for beautiful holiday “tablescapes” sure to wow your guests, Sandra Lee’s website (www.semihomemade.com/gathering/holiday-tablescapes) is the perfect place to go. 

 

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