So you’re planning to throw a summer party.

And, of course, you want your summer party to be a huge success.

Good news – that’s completely doable. But to throw a summer party that’s guaranteed to wow your guests and leave a lasting impression, you’ll need to get organized.

We have a few helpful hints on how to throw a summer party.

Summer parties with themes are always lots of fun.  And when it comes to choosing a theme, the options are pretty much limitless. (How’s that for a sunny party forecast?)  Movie themes, regional themes, musical themes, food and drink themes, even a “Jingle Bells July” works for a summer Christmas party – and you don’t have to shovel any snow.  Hopefully.

To really make the theme successful, fully incorporate it into your summer party. Pick a theme and weave it in and throughout the whole event from start to finish – that includes décor, entertainment, lighting, costumes, food theming, invitations, and even take home gifts.

If you’re planning a summer party and you’re on a budget (and most of us are), it’s best to weigh your expectations… Ask yourself what is important to you and the reason for the party before you start planning. Plan your budget from the start to finish. (Those invitation cards aren’t free.)  The one area we recommend that you spend the extra money on is for the food. Quality food is always guaranteed to please everyone. You can “cheat” in other areas.

Remember to set aside the time you’ll need to get everything ready.  To throw a great summer party takes time. In fact, it’s usually a lot more work than most people might imagine. Oh, and don’t underestimate the food and beverage quantities; hungry and thirsty guests tend to be a grumpy group.

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You’ll not only want to keep your guests entertained but ensure that their kids have plenty to do (bored and restless kids are even more challenging than hungry and thirsty guests). Grab activities from a dollar store. Crayons and coloring books/glow sticks/balloons are cheap and will keep the wee ones entertained. But watch for choking hazards and other dangers. Or you could create a movie area and video game station. Interactive entertainment such as a magician will keep your younger guests happy and occupied. And don’t forget the child friendly food.

For any party to be successful, you need to answer the following questions:

-What is the reason for the event (birthday for family member or an anniversary party for in laws from out of town)?
-What’s the bottom line on how much I can spend?
-How many people do you want to attend the function?
-Will I need staff to help work on the event or can I do this on my own?
-Is the location convenient for the majority of my guests?
-Have I fully considered the physical environment and location (interior of home, backyard, hotel vs. tent)?
-What style of party do I want?
-What type of hospitality do I want my guests to receive?
-Is the access to the facility easy for the suppliers like the caterer to set up?
-What are my menu challenges?
-Will the Decor or entertainment affect or get in the way of the style of food service?
-Will I need permits (tenting, fire restrictions, and power and water availability)?
-What will my entertainment require (different entertainment requires different needs)?
-If my party is outdoors, am I prepared for bad weather?
-What about other public events that are booked ahead for any conflicts (e.g. Stampede)?
-Have I done all the research?

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A little creativity can go along way. If you keep a close eye on the details, your summer party will be a memorable hit and a huge success.