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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2013:03:31 15:20:17

Planning Tips

1. Start planning early. Give yourself at least a few weeks to get everything
in order.

2. Set a budget for your celebration. Consider the number of guests, location, food and catering, decorations, photography and favors.

3. Get help. Ask a close friend or neighbor to arrive at your house and help set up while you are still at the church.

4. Have a back up plan. If you’re planning an outdoor party, make sure you plan for inclement weather.

5. Plan activities. If you’re planning to have children at your party, plan some activities ahead of time to keep them entertained.

6. Download a copy of my free Party Planning Checklist (available at

You can print it out and use it to
stay organized.


Decoration Tips

1. Skip the pricey themed décor and go with neutral colors. Try using white tableware and decorations and accent with pink for girls or light blue for boys.

2. Use edible decorations. Fill jars with candies and treats for double-duty décor. They look pretty, your guests can eat them and it will help stretch your budget.

3. Shop at restaurant supply stores. You can score some great deals on colored tableware, bulk food and serving pieces. You can even find chafing dishes and warmers.

4. Get balloons on a budget. Check your local dollar store for communion-themed mylar balloons and white latex balloons.

5.Opt for simple serving pieces. Set a simple but elegant buffet by using all glass and silver-tone serving platters. This will ensure that your food takes center stage.


Food for a Crowd

1. Outsource some of the cooking. If a fully-catered event is not an option, consider having only the main dish catered. You can supplement with homemade side dishes and desserts.

2. Keep your menu simple. Don’t try to make too many dishes.

3. Make sure you have enough. Not sure how much food to make for your crowd?  Download my free How Much Food to Serve at a Party Cheat Sheet (available at

4. Prep ahead. Plan for recipes that can be made ahead of time, like Strawberry Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing (recipe below). If you need more inspiration, I have 50 Best Recipes for a Party (available at

Most, if not all, can be made ahead of time.


Strawberry Salad with  
Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
3 hearts of Romaine lettuce
½ of a small red onion, thinly sliced
10-15 strawberries, thinly sliced
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Tear lettuce into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.  
Toss with sliced onion and strawberries.
In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients for dressing; whisk 
until smooth.  
I prefer to serve the salad dressing on the side and add it to each serving of salad individually.
To make this salad ahead of time, prepare the lettuce, strawberries and onions as directed above and store them in separate containers until ready to serve.  
The dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until needed.
Christina Hitchcock scours cookbooks, recipe boxes and the internet to bring you only the BEST recipes that have her seal of approval.