Back to School at
Home > Entertainment and Activities > Parties and Gifts > Party Planning > Planning Ahead for the Perfect Party

Planning Ahead for the Perfect Party

After planning out the food and drinks, I have a good idea of what I'll need to make this party work. My budget for tools will be minimal; I already have a grill, and there's plenty of propane in the tank. I have all the tools I'll need to prepare and serve all the food and drinks—I even have a blender in case someone insists on a blended margarita!

I already have all the candles anyone could ever want, including tea lights, votive candles, and tapers, all in white—which is one of the colors of the Mexican flag. I have about a dozen tiki torches and enough oil to last the night; plus, we have red chili-pepper lights strung in the backyard, so lighting is all set.

I have red-and-white checkered tablecloths for the kitchen, patio, and picnic tables, and I picked up a ton of white dinner napkins at a sale last year. I'll need to buy clear, plastic cups and utensils, as well as small and large paper plates. I can get all of that at Costco or a discount store for about $20.

I will need two large, plastic buckets—one for the beer and the other for the soda and water. I'll fill the buckets with ice and let guests help themselves. I happen to know that I can pick up plastic buckets (red, even, which will go nicely with my theme) for $4.99 each, so my shopping list will look like this:

  • Red plastic buckets (2) $10.00
  • Cups $5.00
  • Utensils $5.00
  • Small plates $5.00
  • Large plates $5.00

A week or two before you throw a party, it's a good idea to take inventory of your kitchen and make sure you have everything you'll need to prepare and serve the food and drinks, including tools, gadgets, electronics, serving dishes, and cookware. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of preparing your carnitas, only to find you don't have the right pot in which to cook them! So, I'd better start keeping track of the stuff I'll need to get out of storage or borrow, just to make sure I don't forget anything, here's a list:

    I'll Need
  • Candles
  • Checkered tablecloths
  • Tiki torches and oil

Before the party, I'll make sure that I actually have all this stuff and that it is clean and in working order.I can also update my budget sheet:

Total Budget$350.00
Emergency Fund$35
Total Costs$

Next: Decorating >>

More on: Pop Culture


Reproduced from Plan a Fabulous Party In No Time, by Tamar Love, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing.

Buy on Amazon.

August 27, 2014

Don't be afraid of fats! Healthy fats, like those found in nuts, avocado, or cheese, make great lunch additions or snacks, and will help keep your child full until the end of the school day.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit to sign our petition to save handwriting!

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!