For several months, my husband, Brandon and I have been talking about how we would like to treat some of our friends to a nice brunch in our home. But here's the thing - the idea of planning parties has always felt a tad bit overwhelming for me. Just the thought of creating a guest list, making invites, managing RSVPs, planning a menu, and making sure that our home is ready for guests is enough to make me wish that I had just stayed in the bed and watched a movie! This time around I want to easily integrate party planning into my busy life, so that I don't have to worry about being completely overwhelmed by all the details. So when Paperless Post reached out to me about working with their invitations, I figured it was a perfect time to pull the trigger on a party!

I'm a list person, so breaking down all of the details into list format helped me to create a comprehensive overview of what actually needs to be accomplished before the big event. From this, I came up with 6 main steps that I need to follow in order to simply plan this chic shindig without it feeling like a huge chore.

Planning a chic party in 6 steps

Step 1 - Decide on the what, who, where, when, and why
  • What type of event are you having? 
    • We're having a bagel brunch because it's easy, and guests can build their own meal. I also heard that giving your party a great name increases the likelihood that people will attend. Our party name? Boogie Boozy Bagel Brunch
  • Who is invited? 
    • Brandon and I collaborated with the guest list. Ultimately we decided on approximately 24 people, but this invite is strictly for our friends without children Why? Well, we don't have children, and sometimes you just want to party with your child-free friends. Mmm-kay?
  • Where and when will your event be held?
    • Our town home will be the site of the brunch, and we've tentatively decided on a date for next month.
  • Why are you doing this?
    •  Well, this is more for your own personal buy-in, but I find that remembering why you want to throw an event in the first place helps to keep all of your feelings in check. We are throwing this event because it has been a long time since we've celebrated life with our friends, and we really want to entertain them all under our roof. So if I ever I start to stress, I'll just recall the why, and simply remind myself... it's just bagels and mimosas! 
Step 2 - Create and send your invites

Once you've selected your guests, it's time to send out an invite to the party. I've found that by far, the easiest way to accomplish this step is to use Paperless Post. Paperless Post specializes in beautiful online invitations and flyers which can be customized to the style and specific details of your event. I have used them several times for gatherings in the past, as well as a wedding shower this past spring. I went searching for a great brunch invite for our party, and OF COURSE I found an invite that was absolutely perfect for the occasion. Check this out!

With just a few clicks I was able to customize the invite and add a cute gold confetti background... because why not? It's a celebration!

Below are a few more reasons why I love using Paperless Post.
  • No printing, addressing envelopes, crumpling said envelope because you spelled something wrong, or ran out of room (is that just me or does that happen to everyone?), no purchasing stamps, going to the mailbox, checking the mailbox - in short, no snail mail activities needed 

  • You can choose from a myriad of customizable designs, envelopes, and backgrounds which give your party extra cool points well before your guests ever arrive at your door step 
  • You are able to track which guests have completed his or her RSVP and send out reminders if necessary
  • All the details for your party are included (even a Google map with the address), and you can update your guests with additional information as needed
  • You can even activate a comment wall for the party so that you can get all of your guests hyped up! 

  • Plus, typical adults spend an inordinate amount of time on their phones, so your guests will be MUCH MORE LIKELY to respond to your invitation as soon as it hits their inbox! In short, it's super easy to use, and we like easy. 
Step 3 - Create your menu

Just call us old-fashioned, but we are definitely the 'you don't have to bring anything to the party' kind of hosts. We just want our guests to show up, have a great time, and leave happy. 

Here's what we've decided to serve for our brunch menu:
  • A Bagel Board Spread
    •  The spread will include various types of bagels and lots of toppings
  • Breakfast Ham and Cheese Sliders
    •  These sliders are super easy to make, pop in the oven, and serve on a tiered stand
  • A Fruit Bowl
    • The easiest dish by far... just purchase a large bowl of cut fruit from the grocery store, and transfer to a serving dish with a nice serving spoon 
  • A Mimosa Bar 
    • Four types of juice, several bottles of prosecco, nice glasses, and garnish
  • Sangria
    • A stronger wine based punch as an alternative to mimosas that will be placed in a drink dispenser
For each menu item, I create a shopping list, so that a few days before the event I can go grocery shopping, and a huge task can be out of the way. Also notice that there isn't much cooking involved with this menu besides the sliders, which are very easy to prepare. I don't know about you, but the less cooking I commit to, the less stressed I'll be.

As for the drinks, I decided to offer a make-your-own option, as well as a pre-made option, that way guests can have a few choices for their beverage.

Step 4 - Determine your support supplies 

In addition to groceries, there will inevitably be a few more items to add to your shopping list. Let's call these items support supplies.

  • Plates and flatware 
    • These will be disposable, but to cut down on waste I'll be using our vintage glassware collection for drinks, and our stash of cloth napkins.
  • Carafes and labels for the mimosa bar
    • I'll need 4 new carafes and labels so that guests can distinguish the types of juices available
  • Fresh flowers  
    • I'm just one of those people who can not entertain without flowers, but I always find great deals in the clearance section next to the floral counter at my grocery store
  • Bags of ice and bottles of water
    • I'll keep the prosecco and bottles of water in buckets of ice to keep everything chill

Step 5 - Prepare your pad

I know that this seems like a given, but a clean home creates a happy home in which to host. I grew up in a home where we had "company" instead of guests. This meant that the entire house had to be spotless from head-to-toe before anyone came to visit. I still maintain that idea of formality (for better or worse), however in addition to cleaning I also like to do a few extra things to make guest feel welcome.

  • Establish a place where extra jackets, keys, and purses live temporarily during the party
  • Put out extra rolls of toilet paper where they are easily accessible
  • Place disposable towels in the guest bathroom and make sure the soap pump is full
  • Remove the chairs from the dining room table (it politely forces guests to stand up and mingle)
  • Designate a camera for taking photos, that way guests won't feel the need to reach for their phones

Step 6 - (Finally) Execute & Enjoy!

  • Go grocery shopping 2-3 days before the event to purchase all perishable items
  • Set up everything non-perishable the day before the event (stations, tiered stands, etc.)
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before
  • Start preparing your spreads 2-3 hours before guests arrive so that you're not stuck in the kitchen during the party
  • Make your drinks 30-60 minutes before the start time so that you have a chance to get one in your system before the party begins
  • Have fun, and live in the moment :)

Whoo! I know that was a lot of information, but breaking any huge task steps makes it so much more manageable! I'm super excited to get started, and I feel so much more at ease knowing that I've basically planned everything for this brunch in advance. I can't wait to share it with all of you! So tell me, do you have any tried-and-true methods to party planning? Any tips or tricks that I need to try?

*I received Paperless Post coins in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*