How To Plan a Party


Planning parties is one of my favorite things to do.

It can sometimes feel like a lot of work, but that doesn’t seem to take the joy out of it for me. It is probably because the fun of being at the party and seeing people come together to celebrate is worth any amount of hard work and time that goes into it. The post-party chaos where it takes a couple of days to get the house back into order is also a favorite of mine. It is evidence that a good time was had, and I am always a little sad to clean it all up. I want the celebration to last just a little while longer.

I don’t particularly know where this love of having parties came from, but I can tell you that over the years the parties we throw as a family have become increasingly more elaborate. I love being in charge, so making sure all of the details come together is sort of my job. Or at least I just take over and make sure everything I want to happen gets done! When planning a party these are the steps I take:

1. Theme

2. Food

3. Decoration

4. Activities.

The most recent party we threw as a family was a birthday party for a dear family friend, David. The theme was “Death Row.” Because of this theme every person was responsible for bringing a part of what their last meal would be if they were on death row. We ended up with the best potluck I have ever had! The food included: biscuits and gravy, egg rolls, hamburgers, lemon bars, tacos, berries, macaroni and cheese, and Naga Curry- a spicy soup.

For dessert, David got to choose what we would have. He chose banana cake with cream cheese frosting. I had only made a banana cake one other time before. My friend, Holly, and I made it for her daughter who was turning one. We combined a few different recipes to make it how we wanted it, which was low in processed sugar for the sweet little one year old. It ends up that this cake only has ½ cup of brown sugar and some honey for sweetness. This time when I made the banana cake, the cream cheese frosting definitely added some of that sugar back in. However, it was still a delicious cake and wasn’t overly sweet at all.

The food for this party was easy because it was a potluck, so there was more time to think about decorations. We found black and white streamers, balloons, plates, and napkins all to go with our prison theme. On one wall of our house we posted pictures of everyone that looked like they could be potential mug shots. We searched Facebook and through old photos to find pictures of everyone.


At the party, we also wanted a photo booth to take mug shots of all of the guests, so we bought a black and white striped backdrop. We came up with crimes that each person might get locked away for and had everyone pose for their mug shot. I have an Instax Mini 9 Camera, which prints out Polaroid like pictures instantly. It is always fun to have it at parties and people can leave with their photos.


Parties can be really elaborate, but they don’t have to be. I think what is more important than planning decorations and themes is to simply have people come together. Don’t worry about the food. Have it be a potluck. Don’t worry about what you will do once everyone comes together. Get to know one another and ask questions. In the digital age we live in, I believe it is so important to continue to have face-to-face relationships and make time to spend with one another in person. Now, go gather some people and celebrate life!

Callie JohnsonComment