Let's get this party started...

by - Friday, June 07, 2013

Graduations, birthdays, barbecues... Summer is already here and the festivities have begun! With so many events to celebrate, there are even more ways to plan a memorable event. If you are in the midst of engineering an upcoming party or just entertaining ideas for the next shindig, behold the assortment of online inspiration to fuel your planning. From an intimate dinner party to a full-blown bash, clever creativity can generate fun and impressive results while still being budget conscious.
First, organization is key. Once you decide on the 5 W's - Who, What, When, Where, Why - answering How is where the real fun begins! Deciding on a main theme can be anywhere from simple to extravagant. With help from my favorite photos on Pinterest, here's a little something to get the creative juices flowing without breaking the bank.
The first glimpse at a party is the invite you send. It certainly doesn't have to be lavish, simple ideas can really take you far, beckoning your guests to join the fun.

This idea from Etsy, movie ticket invites are a snap on card stock and can be adapted for any event.
These are so much fun from Martha Stewart. Whether you host a summer party or a children's event, an invite like this is sure to put a smile on your guest's face!
Free printable invites are available online like these from Victoria Magazine. Adaptable for a graduation theme or a dinner party of global delights, the thrill begins with a rip of the envelope.
Decorating can be costly, but if you find some clever ideas utilizing inexpensive elements, the possibilities are endless. A multitude of colorful balloons are festive and frugal to convey a party mood.
From Cafe Mom, rainbow balloons pin up colored plastic tablecloths used as streamers on the ceiling.
From Too Stinkin' Cute, make a simple garland of balloons threaded together in solid or mixed colors.
At Grosgrain Fabulous, taping balloons to the ceiling with photographs suspended from each add to the decor and create a conversation peice at the same time.
Using photographs to signify milestone birthdays and rites of passage in pop centerpieces can tie into your theme neatly too.
Naptime Cards has a great idea for anniversary parties, but this can easily adapt to a graduation or landmark birthday party.
No Biggie's idea is a real conversation starter and guests can enjoy the celebration year/s in photos. Arranged in the birthday or graduation year, the focus stays with friends and family.
Setting up the right ambiance is tricky, but there are many ways to set the mood with style and charm. Using what you have and a little craftiness can go a long way.
From Catch My Party, any event can display this simple request for having a good time by painting a frame in coordinating colors.
At Rustic Wedding Chic, although this is a for an outdoor wedding, the idea is great. By using antiques or inexpensive garage sale furniture finds, your set-up can be made homey and inviting no matter the backdrop.
What to do with those old records you may have? Why not make them into centerpieces, an oldie but goody from Beyond Beyond.
Lighting sets the mood, especially for late afternoon into evening soirees. So how can you get that glow going? Well, here are a couple of bright ideas...
Illuminate the possibilities... From Sunset, by using garden stake lights or small battery operated camping lanterns under the tablecloths, the party outside just got brighter!
Glow sticks buried in the ice bowl? It certainly is a brighter trip finding your way over to the drinks.
Food is a main event itself, so why not incorporate a few details on the buffet table too?
With so many patterns and colors now available in duct tape, why not wrap water bottles to match. From Design Dazzle, this is a quick way to tie in the theme.
Yum! Mindy Rice has the right idea - add a snack station and watch the guests rush over to fill a bag of goodies to munch on.
Instead of boring, be fresh and provide the perfect wine-friendly ice cubes - frozen grapes! From The Improvised Life.
My Recipes has the right idea for a great backyard camp-out party table. Gimme some s'more!
Recycle and reuse those soda bottles by freezing your featured beverage in cut-off bottoms. These create a perfect color-filled flower shape to float in the punchbowl. Fun and function all in one.
Serving salad at an outdoor party is always a challenge when flying friends find their way to the food. Great idea from 4Men1Lady to serve salad at an outdoor party - use these inexpensive jars from Walmart and just put them in a tray full of ice to keep cool.
From Veggie Belly, how pretty a presentation of melon balls on a table of fresh fruit. Just remember to serve with the fancy picks for real party flavor.
Guest books are surfacing as anything but a book these days! Guests can share ideas and wishes on bits and pieces that are part of a display for the event to be later reinvented as clever decorative keepsakes.
Style Me Pretty has an idea that gives new meaning to the phrase "set in stone". Whether a graduation, wedding, birthday or any milestone (yes, pun intended), guests write their wishes for a collective.
Or why not provide pieces to the puzzle? Here the idea is originally from Etsy.
Finally, sending everyone off with a remembrance of their experience can be something for them to save or savor once back at home.
Print on paper bags, punch a hole, add a reinforcement sticker and twine and voila! You can fill the bag with candy or a quaint reminder of a time well spent with loved ones.
Again from Style Me Pretty, send guests home with a midnight snack to enjoy.
I love this one that is so simply wrapped and looks like a checked out library book, courtesy of The Knot.
So what do you say? Let's get this party started! xoxo-Sonya

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