How to Start Planning for Party Decorations

Ready to decorate for your party?

Let’s start at the beginning. The thought of decorating for a party is exciting or intimidating, depending on the occasion, your budget, the feel you want, or the time you have.

If you have never decorated for a party, or have decorated for small events with just a few guests, but are now planning to decorate for a significant event or a party for many people, you might feel that you don’t know how or where to start. On the other hand, if party decorating is old hat to you, you might still want a a few reminders to help you get started and help you get through the process quicker. On this page we are going to go over what you need to consider before picking and planning decorations for your party. 

You need a plan.

So, what should you do first? Should you go buy a whole cart full of party supplies at the local party or craft store? Or just enter party decorations on the Amazon.com search bar and see what comes up? Really, you can start wherever you want and eventually make it all work together into a plan. But it really does help if you start with a written plan that includes the budget, the venue, a theme, and a color scheme. If you do, you will be happy you spent the time.

Where to start?

As with any big adventure, a good place to start is with a goal or destination.  Who is the party for, and why are you having it?  Start by writing down who the party is for. Is there a guest(s) of honor or is the party for a group of people with varied tastes? Next write down the event or occasion you are celebrating, for instance a birthday, a wedding, or a graduation.  Not all parties are centered on events; some are just opportunities for people to just get together and socialize.  Think of an ice cream social or a barbeque.  By clearly knowing your purpose, it will help determine your theme and the style of the party.

Determining the style of party.

Will the party be formal or casual? Some events are typically one style of party, like a birthday party for a three-year-old, but most can be either formal, semi casual, or casual depending on the feel you want.  It is worth spending some time to identify the style or feel you want as the person determining the decorations and if that style is right for the party guests before you look at the next most important thing, your budget. 

Setting a budget.

Parties are much more than decorations. At their core, all parties are about about social interactions.  However, there are five key elements that help make these social interactions happen at parties. These elements include the venue, the entertainment, the food, the decorations, and the party accessories such as invites and favors.   Which of these key elements is most important will depend on the occasion, the guests, and the style you have chosen for the party. You also need to know what total amount you have available to spend for the party.  Then, based on that total amount, divide that between the five key elements of a party based on what is most important for your event.  If the entertainment is most important for the party, then most of your budget will go to that. If you’re planning a spooky Halloween party, the decorations may be the most critical item.  Doing some initial research of cost of venues, entertainment, and food will be important to your decision.  Once you have decided on what your budget will be, then the venue, or place the party will take place, needs to be considered.

We will look party venues as well as consideration in choosing a party decoration themes in our next blog post “Background, Backdrops, and Decorating Themes.”

What do you think so far? Please let me know in the comments below.

Want to see what Tuft and Garland has to offer in party decorations? Please visit Tuft and Garland on Etsy to purchase and see our other pom-pom products.


Post written by Darhla Gilson, registered architect, co-owner, and lead designer for Tuft & Garland.
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