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5 Components of Planning a Party You Will Enjoy

I love to give a party and have I ever been missing them this past year! There are 5 components to planning a party so that you will have a fun time along with your guests.

Now, I am feeling hopeful that I can once again plan a party but on a smaller scale (for this year at least).

When planning a party, the five components I embrace are the guest list, date, theme, menu, and location.

Guest List:

This is a key component. I love to invite a diverse group of people who will enjoy each other’s company. Usually, I have a core group that I hope will attend every party and then add some new friends that I think everyone will enjoy. This year I am seriously thinking of giving two parties so that each party will have fewer guests. Because I have everyone’s covid-safety in mind, I will let the guests know in advance that there will be no more than 15 at the party.


As I’m planning a party, I look for a date when most of my friends will be available. For example, if I want to give a Memorial Day party, I will check out what my besties already have planned. The party may not actually be on Memorial Day but maybe the Saturday before will fit everyone’s schedule better. It’s more important to me to have as many of my friends show up without stress than to be rigid with a specific date. A few texts, emails, or phone calls will determine the date.


I think about the theme when I’m planning a party because that will hold everything together. The theme will determine the invitations, the food, the decorations, and any activities. I feel that having different themes for each party keeps the parties fresh. Regular guests often ask me ahead if I have decided on the theme yet for the next party. The themes do not have to be elaborate (no luau parties with a pit for the pig and grass skirts- unless you really want to) but just something to keep conversation alive.


The menu usually follows the theme. Some of my guests have food preferences and restrictions and because I love my guests, I try to accommodate them. I like to see that everyone has at least a couple of things they can nosh on and drink. My house is small, so I don’t have room for sit down affairs. Because of that, my menu consists of easy things to eat if you are standing or sitting with your plate on your lap. Sometimes I prepare all the food.  Other times I prepare a few special dishes and order the rest. There have even been times when I have had the event catered.


Usually, the party is at my home, but I have had some great ones at other locations. Again, the theme tends to determine the location. When planning a party at my place, I go for “clean enough” so that the board of health won’t be concerned but I do not stress over having the place “party perfect”.

In Summary:

Once I have decided on the five big components, I put together a timeline. I list every task that must be done from making the guest list, the sending out the invites, and to laying out the food on the table right before the guests arrive. Every task is broken down into small steps and each task has a “do” date. That is what keeps me sane. I know exactly when I am going to send out the emails, put together the shopping lists, and set the table.

When the date and time arrives, I want to enjoy my party as much as my guests! Did I mention that I love to give parties?

If you have an interest in what some of the themes or locations I have used in my parties, make a comment and I will respond.

Planning a Party is just another project. If you want help or just some accountability in working your organizational plan or projects join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space For You clutter support group.


Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.


  • I love parties and gatherings too. I find that it’s still challenging, I know that it will get easier throughout the summer as CDC restrictions are lifted.
    I want to give my daughter, who’s about to give birth, a small lunch, now that everyone is fully vaccinated. Logistics are still an issue. Somehow, we will make it work.
    I love what you said about mixing your group of friends together, introducing new friends to your besties or older friends. That always gives a party nice energy and it’s great to make new connections.
    I have no doubt that you make everyone feel warm and welcomed and that they enjoy the celebration!!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Congratulations to your daughter! That sounds like a lovely celebration, Ronni. I know you will make it work.

  • You have some great advice here.
    I am looking forward to having a gathering at my home again. I like to make things a casual as possible. Usually, we have family over or groups of friends. People are usually willing to bring a dish so that no one person needs to do all the work. I also like that idea because people can be sure that they will at least like what they brought.

    • That is especially true when you have people with food allergies or other dietary concerns. I usually like to cover the basics but encourage people to add to the mix. I just want it all finger food.

  • I love the image you selected for this post. It evokes party time and fun! We had no gatherings other than a wedding, a funeral, and one brings your own coffee and bagel breakfast this past year. Most years, we have LOTS of gatherings. I’m sure we will return to having more again, but I’m not sure I want to get back to the same intensity we once had.

    Steve and I talked about it recently, and we did some calculations. We’ve hosted (even pre-marriage) over 150 gatherings and parties in the last 40 years. We’ve kept our lists and notes and thought about making a book at some point. We thought it would be fun to reminisce.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Parties are so much fun! The ones I like best are multi-generational.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    I haven’t thrown a party since New Year’s Eve 1985!

    I’ve always thought of party planning as the ultimate project management. Sure, there’s the creative part (theme? Come as your favorite Sesame Street character/historical figure/animal/Halloween candy) but most of it is exactly as you describe…dealing with the details so that everyone is safe, happy, and delighted.

    So, will your next party be a housewarming?

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I forgot to change the name of the author – Jonda wrote this post. I’m hoping her next party will be a summer party!

  • Sara Skillen says:

    Picking a theme for a party is my favorite part – it helps guide me on all of the other components. Last summer, when indoor gatherings were a no-no, we had an outdoor, socially distanced birthday party for our college-age daughter with a Hamilton theme (right around the time it came out on Disney+) – the shifts we had to make actually helped us out because they simplified choices. We had an outdoor movie projector/screen, plenty of space between chairs, complimentary masks, themed food, etc. Looking forward to more “normal” gatherings this summer – great post!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Great idea, Sara. I think many people had outdoor socially-distanced parties last year. I’m so looking forward to having a more ‘normal’ party this summer.

  • That is especially true when you have people with food allergies or other dietary concerns. I usually like to cover the basics but encourage people to add to the mix. I just want it all finger food.

  • I LOVE that we can look forward to having parties again. I love to have people over, even if it does mean I have to clean before AND after. LOL
    One of my favorite parties to host is the Pun Party around Halloween, where everyone dresses up as a pun. We’ve even tried to come up with snacks that are puns, like Brownie Points (brownies with little flags on toothpicks in them with various numbers, or points).

    It’s really cool how some of the costumes have been over the top (one person dressed up as a knight in full metal armor and brought a bucket with rocks in them, then poured sand on top of the rocks – (K)night at the Roxbury), and some have been super simple (a tie with a fake knife through it – Tie-Dyed).

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