Friday, January 23, 2009

Valentine's Day Tea Party: Organization

It is my habit to take notes when working on a theme party. I do this with a lot of cut & pasting from the Internet when I run across something that I think may even remotely work in with my theme. I sometimes find I'm working with quite a lengthy document. Just yesterday, I did a review of my current document o' tidbits in order to get a better handle on the information I had culled. When I saw that it was 22 pages long, I figured it was time to do some organizing!

I have a basic template that I use each year for my Valentine's Day tea party. The template basically goes like this:

Valentine's Day Tea Party
Theme: ________________
I. Invitations
A. Guest List
B. Wording of Invitation
II. Menu
A. Tea Variety:
B. Listing of foods
III. Games
A. Game 1 Title and description of how it's played
B. Love Song Complete the Lyrics Game (we always play this game, it's expected!)
IV. Prizes
A. Game 1 Prize(s) & method of awarding them
B. Song Lyrics Game Prize(s) - method varies if playing in teams or as individuals
V. Favors
A. Miscellaneous, theme appropriate small gifts in some container for each guest
B. Always includes a CD I've burned of the songs used in the Complete the Lyrics Game
VI. Decorations
A. List ideas about table setting and room decor here
VII. Tidbits
A. Various information that could be worked into the party somehow are listed here until sorted further, or are kept here as conversation starters if there is a lull in the party.
B. Sometimes, the information is printed out in the form of bits of trivia and placed at each place setting. This provides conversation starters and could be read aloud during the party if there is a lull.
VIII. Itinerary
A. Starting with the time of the party, I sketch out what should happen when to make sure things move along accordingly, and also so that I don't forget anything I have planned.
B. After the party time has been laid out above, I make a list of things that can be done up to 2 to 3 days ahead of the party.

This is what my itinerary for last year's tea party (A Royal Renaissance) looked like:
11:30 - Set out torta & water; have different fact-sharing sheets on place settings for initial mingling; have guests write 3 little known things about themselves on paper and place in bag to use later; heat water & steep tea
12:00 - Serve scones & tea; Start 1st activity (sharing secrets)
12:30 - Set out meat pies/sandwiches/turkey drummies/eggs/arancine
12:45 - Start 2nd game (Love Songs) Phase I; heat water & steep 2nd batch of tea
1:00 - Serve 2nd batch of tea & battenberg cake/fruit salad; Recommence Love Songs Game Phase II
1:30 - Review 2nd game results and award prizes for 1st & 2nd place; invite guests to fill treat bag with various cookies; give Love Songs CD to everyone
**Make sure to take group photo
**Discuss date for next year

So the first thing I did yesterday was to find the document from last year's party, click "Save As" and insert the current year. Then I set about making the appropriate adjustments so that my information reflects the planning thus far for the current party. Once that had been accomplished, I had an idea of which bits of information I am not going to be using for the current party (usually extra game ideas). When that information has been weeded out, I put it into another file called "Not Used" so that I can try to use it in future parties.

I spent a fair amount of time cleaning up the information to be used for the games I'm planning on having at this year's party. There are two main games, Love Songs Complete the Lyrics & Flower Meanings Match Game. I am also having a third game/activity that I'll use as filler to help give me some time in the kitchen to work on getting the food out. It's a variation of the old "Consequences" game, sort of like mad libs. I will be working on organizing these games more over the weekend.

And that is about where I am in this party planning. My RSVP date is set for tomorrow, so I should have my final count, which will make the preparation for the rest of the details a little easier. I'm wiped out now. I need a break from planning. (Of course, my fatigue could also have something to do with having donated blood today....) At any rate, to be continued...

1 comment:

Brenda said...

I party plan the very same way! I cut all of the ideas I like online & paste them into a Word. I always end up with way too many ideas, but it is fun to whittle the ideas down to ones that are affordable & do-able!