tips to plan a cohesive partyOkay, okay, I know what you must be thinking. This chick thinks she’s some sort of party planning pro. Actually, I’m far from it. I come from a professional marketing and public relations background and simply have a passion for parties (and crafting and baking and well…you get the point!) So how do party planning and marketing relate? In more ways than you might think. When I begin planning a party, I approach it like a marketing campaign for a brand. I’m a stickler for details and want to ensure everything about a party from beginning to end is cohesive, which is a lot like sticking to brand standards when executing a marketing campaign.

There are a few main areas that I typically focus on when pulling a party theme together.  So today, I thought I would give a little insight into the planning process for my son’s 3rd birthday in hopes that it will inspire you to think like a marketer when planning your next party too!

party inspiration1. Inspiration. What is main inspiration for the party? A favorite toy, movie, color, pattern, sport, etc.  You don’t have to limit it to just one either, so the possibilities are endless. For my son’s 3rd birthday, I was inspired by his t-ball class that he takes at the local YMCA. To give the party a vintage and unique feel, my secondary inspiration was a houdstooth pattern (a current obsession of mine).
party colors2. Colors & Patterns. This is what allows you to get a little more creative. Even if you choose a traditional party theme, by changing up the color palette or throwing in an unexpected pattern, you can give the party an entirely new spin. Vintage baseball is typically associated with reds and blues, but I knew I wanted to take a different approach. I decided on hunter green, burlap and ivory to give the party a warm, rustic and masculine feel. And I totally lucked out and found the PERFECT vintage green houdstooth fabric from Got Spring Fever on Etsy that was carried through in a lot of the party decor.
party fonts3. Fonts. Even if you are not a graphic designer, fonts are still very important! Fonts play a big role in tying an event together; from invitations, to food labels, party banners and thank you notes.  There are so many places where your fonts are prominent, so it is important to make sure everything matches up. Selecting fonts for a party is a crucial detail just because a good font can set the tone for the whole party. For Mason’s party, I went with a thick athletic font, a thin, boxy serif font and a traditional baseball script font to use for accents. If you aren’t designing the printables yourself, no worries, just be sure to select a printable vendor who will do all the legwork for you.
party sweets & treats4. Sweets. Ahhh my favorite part of planning a party. We all know that the cake takes center stage at any birthday party, so if there is anywhere to splurge, this is typically it. For Mason’s party, I put together a themed dessert display using a mixture of professional sweets and DIY treats. I decided on a fondant baseball hat cake from Divine Cakes, Inc. based on the inspiration photo above, baseball themed cookies from Say it With Heart based on the Phillies cookies currently available in her shop (also pictured above), baseball cake pops from Frog Prince Cake & Cookie Design, hamburger cupcakes, sugar cookie fries and mini apples pies inspired by photos found on Pinterest. Yumm, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
5. Props. In my opinion, this is the final detail that pulls a party theme together. You want to make sure the linens, cake stands, platters, centerpieces and other little details work with your party inspiration, colors and edible details. For example, I stayed away from basic white cake stands and linens for my son’s vintage baseball party. I thought the white would throw off the whole vintage feel, so instead I focused on incorporating rusty tin, antique wood, and warm brown tones for the linens. Two of my favorite party props were a rusty tin cake stand and authentic burlap peanut bag from Jilly Bean Kids.

It might seem like a lot to take in, but once you have these five things nailed down, the design and execution all fall into place. I’d love to hear from YOU. How do you typically plan your parties? Please share any tips or tricks you think might help other readers plan a party like a pro!

Stay tuned. I’m finishing up the edits to my son’s birthday party pics and will be sharing the full party feature right here on One Stylish Party VERY soon!