The secret ingredient to meaningful party planning (it’s simpler than you think!)

We’ve had a whole lot of reasons to celebrate and parties to plan recently so I decided to round up my best tips for maximizing meaningfulness in your even planning! Because isn’t that the whole point?! Thoughtfulness is THE secret ingredient that takes an event from “fun party” to sentimental moments and memories! A while back I wrote about how to turn your pinspiration into a party without breaking the budget and I really do think anyone can create a celebration with elements their Pinterest inspired dreams are made of (regardless of your natural DIY craft & decor talents!) But sometimes it’s not about being Pinterest worthy! It’s always about creating memories and moments that leave your honoree and/or guests feel loved, blessed, and better than before. People won’t remember every detail about how cute your party was, they’ll remember the way it made them feel!

I always say that my wedding and the arrival of our baby were the two times in life I’ve felt MOST loved by my community around me! The two reasons for that: the people who showed up to celebrate those seasons with us and the special moments they created for the occasion! Going the extra mile to make moments meaningful is powerful and impactful! And it really is easier than you think! All it takes is a little purposeful planning! Let me give you some ideas…

My Meaningful Motto: Think, practical + personal

Whenever I’m planning an event I like to think about the ways I can make it as personal as possible! From the theme and the decorations to the games and even take aways – the more sentimental the better! The easiest way to do this: photos photos photos! Use them everywhere, anyway you can! Create banners, use them as a table runner… I even like to create a special slide show of related photos that can play as the screensaver on my Apple TV! And then I love to send home the printed photos with the honoree! (Because hardly anyone has their own photos printed these days!) Inexpensive + unlimited use = party planning gold.

Sometimes you might be honoring multiple guests – like for a large Mother’s Day lunch. This year I hosted friends and family for the special day and wanted to come up with a simple way I could send home a thoughtful gesture with each woman. I kept the decor simple for lunch – cute dishes, fun cloth napkin, and TONS of flowers! They did all the work for me! At the end of the gathering I used the same craft paper roll I used as a table runner to wrap up a bundle of flowers for each woman to take home.

I love to do this with the left over flowers at any event! I know it makes people smile and think back to our fun time together when they see the bouquet on their own table in the days following! (But we’ll talk more about that later 😉 ) When in doubt, FLOWERS! 

Just one more suggestion before we move on!.. Think of ways you can personalize common party elements! For example, when you’re planning your games and activities, make them specific to the mom-to-be, couple,. whoever you’re honoring! Here’s a “bride or groom” game I made for my sisters shower using the free resources on Canva!

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One of my favorite ways to do this is with the guest book.. It’s become popular for couples to personalize their wedding guest book, but I LOVE doing this at baby showers by using the inside of a children’s book as the guest book. My sisters did this for mine and it’s one of Finnley’s books we’ll keep forever!

Create a wow factor 

This is one of those things that’s not a must for planning a lovely and perfectly meaningful event -so don’t be intimidated! But it does do a lot for giving your guests something to remember and it sure makes the honoree feel special! One of my favorite ways to create a wow factor at a party honoring a specific person is to make a “throne” for them! It’s the ultimate “this day is all about you!” statement. The easiest way to do this is to use what you have and build on it.

For my little sisters bridal shower (pictured above on the left) we utilized my fireplace because it was a natural focal point, easy to surround with gifts, and didn’t take up space that would be needed for guest seating. For a friends baby shower I recently hosted (pictured on the right) we chose to use the empty space in front of our back yard fence because it offered a blank backdrop. Bringing a few pieces from my living room outside, along with the balloon banner, easily turned this backyard spot into an obvious special seating arrangement for the mom-to-be. Bonus points if you choose a spot for the throne that will be photogenic and lend itself to pretty pictures for them to look back on the day with!

The secret ingredient to meaningful party planning

At my most recent hosting shindig, the balloon banner was definitely the wow factor! (Grab my super easy and cheap trick for that here!!) Even when your party is sweet and simple, incorporating one wow factor is really effective at making it seem like you put even more thoughtfulness and effort into it than you did! One of my favorite examples is this orange garland my sister created for another bridal shower.

The rest of the party decor was simple white flowers, dishes we already had, and ORANGES! Cheap, so easy, but SO CUTE! The DIY garland (tutorial here!) was just the thing to tie it all together and really make some fruits we picked up in the produce section a whole theme! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!!

Sometimes your wow factor is small, but still the main element that you’re building your whole party around. For the parties (pictured below) we knew we wanted to use the mix and match glass dishes that have been handed down in our family. The uniqueness and sentimental value of the table scapes (though simple) was our wow factor and gave us enough to build our party around! I still have people mention those table settings to me because it stood out to them and made the meals feel special.

Bless them beyond the party!

This is my FAVORITE tip of them all: create opportunities for the honoree to continue being blessed, even once the party is over. Like the flowers and guest book, pretty much anything can become a keep sake or useful takeaway from the party!

At every party I try to make sure that at least one game includes fun and/or practical items that double as a gift! One idea is to play the “guess that spice” game at a bridal shower. It’s a laid back game that the whole group can play while the party is going on and a full set of spices will always be useful for a new bride! Another type of similar game is the apron game! We just did this one for my youngest sister and it was a ton of fun! Buy an apron for the bride and several small kitchen items from her registry that you can fasten to the apron. You start by telling the group how many items there are and then introduce the bride who models the apron for a limited amount of time. Ask her to leave when the time is up and whoever can write down the most items from memory wins!

The secret ingredient to meaningful party planning. Creative bridal shower game idea.

Another idea that we used for my sisters bridal showers doubled as an activity and part of the table settings! I made these cards on Canva, we printed and cut them ourselves, then stamped plain brown envelopes with the bride and grooms initials, and asked every guest to write their own note to the couple.

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At the end of the showers we tied up the notes and left them for the couple to read together when they returned from their honeymoon!

Here’s a few more examples..

For a baby shower, have guests write an encouraging note on newborn diapers for the mom and dad to read during those first middle of the night diaper changes!

The secret ingredient to meaningful party planning. Easy and creative baby shower ideas.

Ask all of your guests to contribute to a continual prayer where each person writes a short prayer after the other on a piece of card-stock that can be kept and turned into a piece of art for your home! This is one of my favorite ideas for any party! We did it at Finnley’s baby shower and it hangs in his room now which is so special to me and I hope will someday be a special keepsake for him.

The secret to meaningful party planing. Thoughtful ideas to create memories out of baby shower activities.

My last idea for you is one you can do as a guest!!

Instead of spending $5+ on a card, use a small book and attach it to your present. This works especially well for baby showers/kids parties as you can find small children’s books for a similar price as a card! Write your note on the inside of the book to create an immediate keepsake that your loved one will keep instead of  throw away. 😉 We have multiple books that Finnley has received as cards and I love reading the inscription to him when we read through those books.

The secret ingredient to meaningful party planning. Creative and personal baby shower guest book idea.

I hope these inspire you to the make the special moments in your life even more meaningful and memorable! If you want to save an idea for later, every picture can be pinned to your Pinterest by clicking the top left corner of the picture! So save, send to a friend, and celebrate well! 🙂

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