I love turning a simple BBQ into a party and planning decor, food and drinks. So when my 40th birthday loomed over head I decided to seize the opportunity and throw myself a Big Birthday Bash!
It all seemed like a good idea to start with but when I had written up the guest list I knew I needed a plan to cater a party for 50+
I thought I would record the details here in the hope that it may help anyone googling or Pinteresting for party planning ideas and for me to use in the future.
As a list person I thought that was the best place to start so I grabbed a notebook and headed up some pages. The obvious ones for me were decor, food, drinks and tableware.
* Entertainment for kids
* Serving ideas
* Rubbish disposal
I didn't think of them all on day one. This was very much a work in progress and I felt like this notebook didn't leave my hands. Also check out my 40th birthday Pinterest board! Although I love lists and notebooks, a visual list is hard to beat.
I bought a lot off ebay, like the tissue paper pom poms, photo booth props and bunting.
Wilkos was great for paper table cloths, plastic plates, knives, forks, bowls and glasses. We bought 24 pint, 24 wine and 12 highball glasses, (all our Sainsburys stores glass hire were booked up for that weekend) and at 50p a glass we now have a storage box full of glasses for future use!
I ordered a 5l Kilner drinks dispenser which is a must for parties of all sizes. And I was lucky enough to receive one as a birthday gift too! We didn't cater drinks but provided Pimms, and some cocktails for those brave enough. I used a garden bucket (cleaned out of course!) filled with ice water for people to put their bottles in and had a plug in cooler box with clean ice for use in drinks.
If you have the space start to gather your supplies. I used the dining room table which wasn't the ideal place but it was a great to see the pile grow.
If you're making decor, start to assemble way in advance and ask for help. We did the tissue paper tassles the night before and I wish I had done them a month before!
They took so long and the cat wasn't the best helper!
I searched the internet for cake topper bunting, happy birthday bunting and individual letter bunting. There are hundreds in all shapes, sizes and colours to choose from. I saved the pdfs in iBooks on my phone and printed as many as I needed. I assembled these well in advance!
Our food choice was simple which is a good way to go when catering for a large number of people.
- For starters we had large bowls of pretzels, dips and crisps and pop corn, easy peasy and you can buy these a week or two in advance.
- For the main we did chicken drumsticks and boerewors on the braai, with boiled new potatoes (cold), green salad, coleslaw, this cous cous salad and rolls. The meat, fresh stuff and rolls were all collected on party day morning.
- Desert was cake made by me and my lovely sister in law. I baked 4 cakes and brownies on the Friday afternoon. Nina was my kitchen companion and did the cutlery and paper napkin folding and arranging.
In the UK we are getting very good at recycling so I set up a wheely bin with a CANS & BOTTLES sign, a large bowl for food waste and asked for all plastic plates and cutlery to be dumped in the sink. I didn't want to save it all but the cutlery always comes in handy for picnics and I didn't want recycle stuff going in the general waste bin.
It was such a good day and the photobooth stuff was a cheap win!
And then when the day is done, these great printable free download cards from Elise over at EnJoy it! are just the thing to thank your guests for joining you.
I had great fun planning this party and although it was hard work and the clean up seemed never ending I would totally do it again!
**My top tips when planning a large gathering are, start buying bits early so it's not a huge outlay of cash the week before and write everything down, no matter how small a detail.**