It's fall, officially. It's also the first of October. Which has gotten me to thinking about all the parties that are coming up in this last quarter of the year. I mean, we've got Thanksgiving. Christmas. Hanukkah. New Year's Eve (and New Year's Day). All in a three-month time frame.
It's a lot! With so many parties to go to, get-togethers planned, and family events, it sometimes seems like this time of year makes it hard to see just everyone you may want to see. Which may be everyone you know and love! So my thoughts? Why not add to the parties!
Which is how this series was born. It's a small series about throwing a party. And, okay, I know many of us probably have thrown a party before, but not everyone. It's daunting! I've held one true party since reaching adulthood - and that was my wedding and reception. Admittedly, that's a lot bigger than a small fall gathering, but in the interest of scale (and love of paper and all things fall), I thought I would talk about throwing a small party to celebrate fall (or any time of year!).
Maybe I should have called this mini-series "How to throw a party when you've only planned a wedding."
But where do you start with party-planning? Personally, I like to start with what and who - what are you celebrating, and who will you be inviting? Alternately - is there a theme for the party?
I like themes because they help me plan the other aspects of a party - whether it's invitations, food, drinks, or even location. Right now, I'm thinking a bonfire party would be a pretty fun way to celebrate autumn and go into all of the big foodie holidays, while keeping it laid-back and easy.
For a bonfire party, the first thing I would look at is where I would be holding it. For us, we'd probably hold a party in our back yard and invite a handful of our friends to come enjoy s'mores and other cookout-type foods at dusk. We can fit about twelve to sixteen people in our backyard, so that would help me develop a guest list - and the theme would shape what invitations I would order.
Of course, with Halloween coming up, the possibility of having a bonfire at Halloween is just too fun, so of course I'm leaning Halloween party invitations - turning a backyard bonfire into a costume party (or not - sometimes sweaters, boots, and cocoa are enough). I'm loving these fun, vintage-looking invitations from Minted for a Halloween party or these solstice-style invitations from Tiny Prints for a backyard bash. They're both simple but could fit either theme nicely, without being overly expensive.
Of course, you don't have to mail paper invites. Most get-togethers we go to or particpate in are ones we're invited to by word-of-mouth, texts, emails, or even Facebook events. Get creative- it's your party which means you set the rules and the tone for how the event will be. Paper invites are fun, but so are Facebook or even evites!
As far as choosing guests, when I'm having a gathering, I like to think about who we like to hang out with on the weekends and invite them all - friends from work and outside of work, close friends and even acquaintences. My goal is to have fun with friends, let our friends have some fun without worrying about hosting, and to enjoy a nice evening in the backyard or around the dinner table. We have a handful of core friends we spend many weekends with throughout the year, so we start there and then branch out until we have a full house. The more the merrier (just as long as we have enough places for folks to sit).
I like to invite folks for get-togethers about four weeks before any party - three if I'm cutting it close. That gives enough time for people to RSVP, and enough time for you to get everything together in terms of food, seating, drinks, and gives me time to get things out in the mail if I'm sending paper invitations as well. You want to give your guests time to respond, and the more time is often better,but you don't want to mail things out too far in advance and risk things getting lost in the shuffle, either.
Once we've got the theme, invites, and guests all set, then we move onto the menu. But that's for part two...
*Please note: I'm not a member of any affiliate programs and links are for a few invitations that caught my eye while googling - I hope you enjoy them!