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Each time I throw a party (regardless of the size), I learn ways to streamline the preparation the next time around.  My husband’s birthday is quickly approaching, and we wanted to celebrate with a small group of close friends.  I decided to center the party around the Tucson Rodeo, which will be in town over his birthday.  We’ll start with lunch at our house, and then head to the Rodeo.  Here are some basics to consider when planning a theme party:

  • Get excited! – The most important aspect of any event is the feel – and a warm, inviting atmosphere is the goal.  Your guests can tell when you are emotionally invested in the party and happy to be hosting.  And, your interest and dedication throughout the planning process will show.
  • Party Basics – Choose your destination and make sure it fits with the theme.  Also, be sure to consider if you will need to provide transportation.  And, think about the type of food you’ll serve – depending on the time of the event.
  • Create Invitations – If it’s economically possible, I always prefer paper invitations.  First of all, it’s fun to get an invite in the mail.  Second,  an invitation has the ability to set the tone for the event – and a paper invitation just makes more of an impression.  This is especially, but not exclusively, true for a theme party.  The invitation will be the first thing that your guest sees, so use it to grab her interest.

John's Invitation

  • Carry the Theme – while it’s not necessary to go overboard to make an impact (less is usually more), the details really matter.  So if you’re having a theme party, keep things consistent with that theme, and be creative!  For example, the rodeo party will start with lunch at our house.  I’m not doing any crazy decorations, but in keeping with the theme, I’m serving a picnic type lunch – sandwiches, chips, fruit, Bloody Marys, Texas sheet cake for dessert, etc.  The table cloths will be casual.  I’m even using – gasp – paper plates and cups – which is completely unexpected for me, but works with this casual theme.  So, once you decide on the theme and the location – start thinking about the food and other details where you can incorporate fun ideas.  The internet is always a great resource if you are having difficulty!
  • Make a List – keep a list of all of the things you need to do, people to call, and items to buy.  Try to cross off as much on the list as possible before the week of the event.  There will always be more to do the week of a party than you anticipate, so get things done ahead of time.  When I host a big holiday, which involves many meals and lots of cooking, I always buy the dry ingredients ahead of time to limit my last minute shopping.  This makes me feel so much more organized.
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