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Quick Party Planning Checklist

Make yourself a gorgeous party planning journal with a scrapbook or plastic three-ring binder that has a space to insert an inspirational picture. Keep cutouts from magazines of ideas you love about decorating, themes, menus, and recipes. Keep notes about your party afterwards so you remember what worked well and what to do differently next time. Your personal party scrapbook will be an invaluable assistant to help you avoid party stress. Here's a quick party planning checklist: Party Invitations -- Create dramatic invitations. Your friends pay more attention to a written invitation than a phone call.

-- Send your invitations early and request an RSVP. -- Tell your guests what to wear so they feel comfortable. Causal fun or dressy elegant. -- Tell your guests what to bring so they don't have to think about it. If you say something like "We're collecting unwrapped toys for our local .

," your guests won't feel like they need to go shopping for you, too. List a specific dish type if you plan a pot luck. Food -- Check catering prices. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that you can have your feast delivered for about the same price as purchasing all the ingredients. Get your order in writing or faxed to you. -- Make a list of all ingredients you need and shop early. -- Prepare some of your dishes a few days before your party. -- Plan for vegetarians and special needs diets. Flowers and Decorations Think about your home's color scheme when choosing flowers. A large poinsettia makes a big impact and costs less than florist bouquets.

Add tree branch cuttings from your garden to extend grocery bouquets. Use curling ribbon as filler. Tie candy canes around a can and use for a floral arrangement. Candles Make sure that candles won't damage your surfaces. Larger candles burn longer and you don't have to worry about watching them during a long party. Keep candles high and out of the way from children and your guest's hair. Enjoy yourself and relax. Everything doesn't have to be perfect. Your guests will have fun in a home decorated for a special event. Friends appreciate a good time and will remember your gracious efforts to ensure a good time.

Copyright Jeanette J. Fisher.


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