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Hosting a Party 101 // Baby Showers, Bridal Showers and Everything in Between

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that I really enjoy gathering and connecting people together. Whether it was for a small or large production, I have always known that I love planning and coordinating people to come together for just about anything. I think it is because hosting parties is really a moment to let go of our everyday routines and to enjoy the experiences that really are the defining points in our lives that we will remember when we grow older. Whether it is a birthday, a bridal shower, baby shower, graduation and just everything else in between, these milestone moments are snapshots of our lives that we get to share in the company of our closest friends, family and loved ones.

It has been such an honor over these past few years to be part of so many celebrations. A majority of the parties that we get to be a part of are baby showers and bridal showers. We have seen so many adorable details, thoughtfully-planned activities and the most sweetest gathering of family and friends for the guest-of-honor that I wanted to take the time to share what I have seen work in creating a successful event.

This past weekend, we celebrated a handful of baby showers, one of which was for Molly, who had a bohemian, desert-themed party hosted by some of her closest friends. From the personalized photo album to the surprise flower crown gifted to the mother-to-be, this baby shower was a thoughtfully-planned event that entailed all the details that made it one to remember.

\\ So here are the 5 things to consider when hosting a successful event //

1. The Dream Team // Gathering together people who know the guest-of-honor the best

Having a small group of people (between 3-5) is a great start in planning an event that is personable and creative. Whether it is a group of friends or a mix of different people who are very close to the guest-of-honor, having a small team of people to coordinate various roles throughout the party is very helpful. There are a lot of things to consider in terms of planning, so having each person take on a small role (ie. food/drinks, music, guest list, activities for guests to enjoy, etc) will not only be less stressful, but will also save you a lot of time on the day of. In addition, this is a great opportunity to bond and make memories with the people who are co-hosting with you, so why not?! Of course there are pros and cons to working with a group of people vs. coordinating it yourself, but what I have seen and learned through all of my events is that you can always use an extra pair of hands.

2. The Vision // Identifying a Theme for the Party

This is probably one of the most important elements to consider for any event being thrown. Having a vision will help guide and navigate your Dream Team in making decisions throughout the planning process. When I was first talking with Lauren (who was planning her best friend's baby shower), the theme was inspired by the desert, so they knew having succulents, desert florals and tacos and margaritas would be must-haves at the party. Having a theme and vision will bring in the creative energy you will need to help make your event stand out with all the personal details relating to the guest-of-honor. I recommend thinking about things about that stand out to you when you think of this person, like their favorite place to travel, things to eat, music that they like to listen to, or just unique quirks about them. For example, I went to a baby shower where the theme was "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss. The food they had was a variety of dishes and drinks from around the world and travel-inspired decor. It was so adorable and a detail that I will always remember about that party.

For Molly's desert, bohemian-inspired themed baby shower, there were wall hangings, succulents, gold and pink accented decor and a lot of fun floral arrangements scattered throughout the house.

3. The Games // Activities are Everything

I have noticed a general shift in what type of activities are provided at events and parties, especially for baby showers. Of course, tradition definitely has its charm and there are some classics that are definitely fun to incorporate into any shower for guests to enjoy. There is also a lot of fun in providing games or activities that people haven't experienced yet. I noticed that the more relaxed and unstructured an event is, the more flexibility people have to explore and mingle. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't have sit-down games or specific times for things to happen...just remember that people want to have fun, be comfortable and mingle, so offering interactive activities where people can come and go is one way of fostering that for your event.

What I really love, and perhaps it is biased because this is what I do for a living, but having a flower crown station, bouquet bar or even a succulent bar at your event is such a fun way for your guests to mingle through creating and being able to take home something that was made for them or that they made themselves. The main thing is being able to provide an opportunity for your guests to have something to talk about, especially if you are gathering a group of people who may not know each other too well. Having an interactive activity can be that ice-breaker or topic that people can share their experience over and make the flow of the party be much smoother. Plus, people love flowers and plants. Having an interactive floral or succulent bar is a great way for people to be creative and take home a gift that they can put in their home that will not only make their home more lovely, but will remind them of the event for however long they keep their take-home gift. For Molly's baby shower, the girls had an album of photos you could take on the spot and put inside the book for the mama-to-be. I love that idea because it is personable and also gives the guests the creative freedom to share something intentional with the guest-of-honor. Whatever the activity may be, making sure that it is interactive and accessible to any of the guests

4. The Details // Personable and Intentional

I love details...and when I say I love them, I mean it. Every party I go to, I notice all the small and big details that are brought together to create an event. There is a fine balance however with details; they can give you the personality and charm needed for your party to be memorable AND they also can also get lost if there is too much detail going on. What I recommend is having 3-5 details that are intentionally incorporated during the planning of your event. For Molly's baby shower, one of the details was having all the hosts and Molly have flower crowns to wear during the party. I collaborated with Lauren to create Molly a crown that incorporated crystals, succulents and a lot of desert foliage to create a crown that would complement the overall vision for the party.

As a thank you gift and way to connect all the hosts together, we decided to create 5 simple crowns to complement Molly's crown that would also make the hosts feel special as well. These are the kind of details that I am talking about...details that accentuate the personal touch to any party. When planning a party, it is always important to remember what the bigger picture is (your vision), while incorporating details that will enhance your overall charm for the party.

5. The Celebration // Have fun

It's pretty simple...just have fun and be in the moment. Enjoy the people coming out to celebrate, the yummy food and drinks and interacting with any of the activities you have available at your party. Now that all the work is done, just enjoy the moment and take in all the fun energy being created by everyone there. At the end of the day, what is most important is being able to spend time celebrating the person and people you love during one of their milestone moments. It is the whole reason why everyone is take the time to just notice how happy your guest-of-honor is and have a good time!

Congratulations Molly on your growing family and a big thank you to Lauren for having us be part of such a beautiful event.

Photographs // Lauren Paul


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