Tips & Ideas

Olivia Carter’s Tips for Hosting a Party

Today we are so lucky to feature some of Olivia Carter’s awesome party tips:


Hosting a great party can seem daunting, but with a tiny bit of focus it can be as easy as, well, CAKE! I’ve noticed through the years of throwing parties for my friends, family, and most importantly myself that there are a few things that help with planning, hosting, and rocking a party.

1 – Theme

I always pick some sort of theme. Sometimes this is something super specific like usually my children’s parties always have themes like Batman, Knights, or Scooby-doo. But for adult parties it helps to have a color theme or a food theme or an ambiance you want to exude. I have a seasonal solstice parties with a good of fabulous girls and they are obviously built around the season- fall, winter, summer, spring, but also have themes like white and gold, or more conceptual ones like “Indian summer” or “Elle est forte” (she is strong) so all of our decor, food, clothes, are influenced by that idea.

2 – Central Activity

Now, you may think this tip is solely for kids parties because all adults want to do is stand around and mingle. Not true. Kids parties obviously need some activities. At my son’s “monster” theme birthday I made monster bodies and every kid picked one out to adopt and then decorated it they way they liked. At my daughter’s knight birthday we drew on cardboard swords and shields. For adults I think something as simple as a couple quick trivia questions can add a lot. For a “Friends-giving” dinner I had last year my friend planned Thanksgiving trivia and a couple small gifts for the winners. We also had “thank you” cards for everyone to write a note to someone they are thankful for. For my 30th birthday I gave everyone a small canvas to draw, paint, collage, or anything a picture for me. We had a little “gallery” opening to display all the pictures at the party. For the adults at one of my kids birthday parties I had prepared a “root beer” tasting challenge to pick their favorite root beer. That’s right, guys, activities are not just for kids parties anymore!

 3 – Clothes

Okay, I get that this seems a little controlling for a host to ask people to wear something specific but a lot of times dressed up people are the best decor. For kids parties I’ve made batman capes and knight tunics for all the kids. For my son’s pirate birthday I sent a kit with tattoos, eye patches, and bandanas along with the invitation for people to help people come dressed up. For adult parties I’ve done as basic as asking people to “dress up”, or wear comfy pajamas or as specific as a color. Also, at our solstice parties we always have crowns- usually flower crowns related to the season. It’s a blast to “dress up” for parties as an adult.

4 – Food

My favorite part of a party is the food. It doesn’t always have to follow theme but sometimes having a good theme helps decide what to eat. For my son’s 1st birthday we decided on a “Nachos and Nacho” theme of the movie Nacho Libre and that lead to some tasty nachos for our food. For one of my birthdays I made a “custom dessert” like the “custom cocktails” people make for weddings with all things I love: chocolate ice cream, brownies, Samoa Girls Scout cookies, Andes mints, and sprinkles. For my son’s Scooby-doo party we had whatever he wanted but I named everything with name tags related to Scooby-doo to make it fit the theme. The possibilities are endless!

5 – Tiny Touches

Never underestimate the power of tiny touches. It’s little things that can make the biggest impact and what people remember the most about your party. For my son’s Nacho party I added tiny luchador masks on each straw- people went crazy for it! For my daughters “Under the Sea” birthday I put mini plastic sting rays in the blue punch. Everyone remembered them. For my friends baby shower I traded out the pink strings the balloons came with for shiny gold ribbon. That tiny change MADE the party! For my daughters Harry Potter birthday party I made tiny “mandrakes” to go in the pudding cups. For my son. Lincoln’s blessing I made small favor bags with Abraham Lincoln (who he is named after) and a quote from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures”. It’s these tiny things, not huge displays, or tons of balloons, or crazy amounts of money spent that make a party memorable.


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