Party Planning Guide

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Holiday Your Way: Party Planning Guide is your complete checklist for planning the best, stressfree party.

The ultimate party planning guide.

Party Planning Guide

Have you ever wanted to host a party, but just didn’t know where to start?

Party planning and hosting is one of my favorite things. From choosing a theme to planning the menu and decorating, I enjoy it all.

Furthermore, I don’t really have to do it by myself. My husband loves to entertain. He loves the social side, but since he also enjoys cooking, I know I can depend on him to help with cooking. We never have a party catered. To me menu planning and executing that plan is part of the fun.

Party Planning Guide , A blurry image of people at a festival.

Even if you don’t have party planning experience, you can plan a successful, memorable party.

Parties are about bringing people together and having fun. Plan and prepare as much as you can beforehand so that you aren’t stressed the day of the event.

At the party, you have one job be relaxed. If the host is relaxed and having fun everyone else will too!

Party planning, where do I start?

Regardless if you’re having a child’s birthday party, afternoon tea with friends, or hosting an engagement party, the steps to planning are the same.

When you first decide to host an event ask yourself these questions so you can get the basics down first.

  • Who is the party for? (business, family, friends)
  • What’s the reason for the party? (theme, birthday, special occasion)
  • When is a convenient date?
  • Where will the party be?
  • How many people are you inviting?
  • What type of party is it? (brunch, lunch, dinner, hors d’oeuvres, dessert, buffet, sit-down meal)

Party Planning Guide, A group of friends having a picnic in a garden.

Holiday Entertaining and your Party Planning Guide

  • Create a timeline
  • Choose a theme
  • Set up a bar
  • Consider a special event cocktail
  • Plan the food

1. The first step is to plan out my timeline so I know I’m not behind and stressed at the last minute.

2. Next, choose a theme.

3. I like to have a bar set up in an area that’s not in the middle of everything. (Because it will be very popular!)

Here are some fun ways to set up your bar.

Liquor wall

4. When planning for a holiday party. I plan the food menu, but I also like to have a specialty cocktail like this Fruity Red Sangria.

Pink Mojito
Pink Mojito
Pineapple Lemonade Punch Recipe (no mix) is the perfect tropical fruit drink for summer! A simple, tasty summer punch perfect for entertaining.
Pineapple Lemonade Punch


5. And, last but not least, you need great food. People will remember if you have great food. They’ll also remember if you have terrible food!

Cheesy Bacon Rotel Appetizer Cups

No Fuss Bacon Tomato and Cheese Cups

I used phyllo sheets and molded them in mini muffin tins in the picture above because I had phyllo that needed to be used. Fill free to use the sheets, or the pre-formed phyllo cups which are easier and faster to work with.
make this recipe
cinnamon roasted almonds

Easy Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds is a sugar coated nut recipe for flavored almonds with a hint of cinnamon. Easy to make in 15 min. for a snack or gift!
make this recipe
Spicy Charred Street Corn {Elote} Dip is the best dip to serve during the Summer months and with Mexican-inspired foods.


Spicy Charred Street Corn {Elote} Dip is the best dip to serve during the Summer months and with Mexican-inspired foods.
make this recipe
Baked Cheddar Roast Beef Sliders

Baked Cheddar Roast Beef Sliders

Baked Cheddar Roast Beef Sliders can be made quick and easy with deli-sliced roast beef. Assemble and bake is all you have to do for this party, tailgate, and quick dinner meal.

make this recipe

What are some of your entertaining tips? Do you have go-to recipes for when you host? Also, see Cinnamon Roll Recipe Roundup and Easy Recipes To Feed A Crowd

I updated this post from an earlier version dated December 20, 2013.


  1. Thanks for this great guide to holiday party planning, great tips and post 🙂 Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend Paula 🙂

    1. grrr, that is my pet peeve, Gloria. I hate when people don’t reply, how the heck are you supposed to plan for food and drink?

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