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Party Planning 101

Martha Stewart Living, June 2010

When you're celebrating life's big moments -- graduations, showers, birthdays, anniversaries -- here are some things to consider. 

On Location
Choose a space that fits the event's theme and crowd size. Don't overlook details such as availability of heat, refrigeration, water, electrical sources, and restrooms. 

Guests of Honor
For a guest list that spans generations, plan for everyone. Kids need space to roam, while elders appreciate a place to sit. Don't clog up the bar area; leave room for the crowd to flow around a buffet, tables, or a dessert station. Choose the time and duration of your party with your guests in mind. 

Menu Matters
Offering fewer foods -- really good ones -- makes your work easier. Be strategic: Serve things that can be prepared in advance, and include store-bought items, in addition to those that are cooked on the day. For drinks, be sure to have options with and without alcohol. A bar that serves beer, wine, and a signature cocktail is more affordable than a fully stocked one. 

Thanks for the Memories
A shared activity, such as a photo booth, a lawn game, a dance lesson, or a "roast," makes the party fun and special. Remember, your budget may limit certain options, but not your ability to create a memorable celebration.

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