I’ve had a number of people ask me recently how I can throw all of the parties that I do. I’ll be honest, sometimes they are styled parties that only a handful of people come to and that I only style for pictures. But I really do plan and host a lot of real parties. My secret to being able to manage all of these parties is this – “bulk is better,” and today, I’m going to share what I mean by that. And I’m going to do that by showing you how I planned a welcome home celebration for my little sister Briel when she returned from her LDS mission a couple of weeks ago.
As I mentioned, my little sister just returned from an 18-month mission to the Philippines for our church, and two days later my little brother got married to his long-time girlfriend Amy. We had a ton of extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.) come in for the week, and we pretty much just celebrated all week long. It was amazing. One of the things that everyone wanted to do was to hear Briel talk about experiences from her mission, so I thought it would be fun to put together a family night dedicated to Briel and her favorite things. Like K.
Now let’s get started with my party planning secrets.
Tip #1 – join Sam’s Club.
I gave my brother and new sister-in-law a membership as part of their wedding present, and they have already been a couple of times just in the past few weeks. Getting to post for a picture with me in Sam’s Club was a great initiation into the family for my new sister Amy. She was a good sport.
I love Sam’s Club for a couple of reasons. Number one, like I mentioned earlier, bulk is better when it comes to planning parties for lots of people, and Sam’s Club sells some of my favorite things in bulk for way cheaper than you could get it at a regular grocery store. Some of my favorite things to buy in bulk include fresh fruit, cheese, meat, paper goods, drinks, and snacks! But honestly, they have a ton of stuff there, so I’m sure you’d be able to find something (or 100 things) that you like.
Another reason I absolutely love Sam’s Club is because they sell awesome big ticket items for great prices like these candy dispensers that I seriously would’ve bought if I wasn’t 1000 miles from home, one of those giant coolers, and even folding tables and chairs. I’m honestly not sure how I would even throw a party at home without my folding tables. I use those babies all the time.
If I still haven’t convinced you that Sam’s Club is awesome, how about the fact that they sell delicious desserts for about half the price of other stores? And gorgeous flowers all year long. And, some of the best party serving dishes that I’ve found!
And last but not least, one of my absolute favorite things to buy at Sam’s Club are gift cards. I love giving out gift cards as prizes for my party games and buying them in bulk at Sam’s Club allows me to get gift cards to some of my favorite stores for cheaper than the typical retail price. That’s basically like Sam’s Club just handing me cash back right there. Same thing with movie tickets; you can buy packs of movie tickets for way cheaper than if you buy them at the theater.
Sam’s Club seriously made planning my sister’s favorite things party so easy; I didn’t even have to think about what I wanted to buy, I just walked around the store and picked up all of her favorites as we walked; they were all there. And did I mention that they have samples? So much easier to shop with K when I can give him a sample every few minutes. They just happened to have his favorite applesauce pouches out for sample while we were there. Happy baby = happy mom.
As a helpful reminder, I’ve created this simple cheat sheet of my favorite things to get at Sam’s Club when I’m prepping for parties! Pin it (or save it) and pull it up on your mobile phone while you’re shopping to remind you what to look for! And if you’re concerned about buying too much, scroll down to tip #3.
Party Planning Tip #2 – Bulk is Better
When I said bulk is better, I wasn’t just talking about buying supplies. When I host a party, I use all the help I can get. For my sister’s party, the entire family pitched in prepping the food, getting the house picked up, etc. I know there’s some sort of quote out there about many hands making light work, and it’s so true. I’m a control freak when it comes to some things, but there’s no reason that I have to cut up every single piece of fruit or wipe off the table. And neither do you; hand those tasks over to other people so you can worry about the things you really need to worry about.
Alright, that’s a lot of party planning advice, let’s get to the party. This was one of those parties that I kept fairly simple because we wanted the star to be Briel. I asked her what things she’d missed the most while she was on her mission and just made those things. The main things she asked for were pizza loaf (family favorite), striped delight, fresh fruit and veggies, and her favorite drinks. And that’s what we made.
We decorated with some pretty flowers, and I served all the food on a table covered with her bed mat from the Philippines (I’m all about thinking outside of the box). I’m pretty sure she loved it, which is really all that matters, although I am glad that everyone else (grandpa included) enjoyed it too.
And to end the night, we did a Q&A session with Briel where we all asked her questions about her mission, and she told us stories. While the rest of the night was fun, this was easily the highlight and so neat to hear about her experiences in a completely different culture.