Party Planning Tips with The Cake Exchange
I shared in this post some table decor ideas for hosting a bomb dinner party. I talked about hosting a holiday brunch in this post . Well, today I collaborated with Amy and Anna of The Cake Exchange to bring you tips to host a fabulous, stress free party. I’ve attended parties hosted by Amy, who is a friend of mine, and they are always so cute and fun. She never looks stressed when she hosts so I had to figure out her secret. You met Amy before from this post when she gave us tips for having a Pinterest worthy holiday playdate. Lets welcome Amy and Anna to the brunch Squad!
How did the Cake Exchange come about?
We met at work and bonded over our shared love for planning parties. We literally spent hours looking at photos of birthday parties and events we had each thrown and talking about all the little details that made them special. Years and many celebrations later, we decided to create The Cake Exchange- a place to share ideas, tips and tricks for elevating life’s celebrations. Our goal is to share tips and inspiration from real life parties to help others create memorable celebrations for family and friends.
How do you decide on a theme?
Ana: For kid birthday parties, I usually ask my kids what they want to do or pick something that they’re really into. It’s a collaboration. For adult parties, my husband and I like to do wine and beer-themed parties.
Amy: My process is a bit less collaborative #controlfreak. I generally pick all the party themes. For kid birthdays, I’m inspired by things that they like and then I determine what would make the best party.
What is your go to menu for a kids party? For an adult party?
Amy: My go to menu is taco catering (when in doubt, go with tacos!) and I always like to have multiple dessert options (usually cake, cupcakes/cake pops, and cookies though lately I’ve also really been into serving donuts).
Ana: My husband and I try to choose party menus that make it easy for us to feed a big crowd like taco bars, chili bars, and pulled pork sliders. I usually add kid-friendly options like nuggets from Chick-Fil-A and homemade sides. For dessert, cake, candy and Brazilian sweets are always a must at my parties.
What 2-3 tips do you have for hosting a party, so you don’t get overwhelmed with hosting?
Amy: I’m a hard-core planner so my biggest tip is to start planning as far ahead of time as you can. Knock out the big things like selecting the venue, menu planning, pre-ordering the food, buying decorations, and favors, etc. as early as possible.
Ana: I can give tips but it doesn’t mean that I actually do it 😊. Buy everything you need for the party a couple of days in advance; the fewer errands you have to do the day before and the day of the party the better. I always schedule my parties for late in the day to give me more time to prep the day-of.
Your parties always have such beautiful decor and details. What 2-3 items would you recommend someone have to make their party pop?
Ana: Balloons! Something I learned along the way is that you don’t need to buy helium balloons at all. You can make great party decorations blowing up your own balloons and stringing them together to form garlands or hanging them from the ceiling.
Amy: I love desserts so I put a lot of focus on creating a wow factor with the dessert table at my parties. I like to curate a table of treats that look and taste amazing and fit the party theme. Of course, I do all the taste testing myself 😊.
What are your favorite budget friendly places to shop tips for having a chic party on a budget?
Ana: HomeGoods, Amazon, Hobby Lobby, Target (especially the dollar bins in the front of the store), and Dollar Tree. I try to envision what I want for the party (ex. tissue tassels, balloon garlands, wine and cheese pairing) and then I learn how to do it myself online.
Amy: It’s true! She’s a DIY queen! I invest in a collection of entertaining/party supplies that I can re-use often like my drink dispensers and serving dishes.
With the holidays approaching what tips do you have for hosting holiday get togethers at home?
Ana: I’ve started making charcuterie platters for gatherings big and small and those have really been a hit. They look beautiful and give guests lots of options. My husband and I are also big on setting the mood with music and themed lighting.
Amy: I love creating signature cocktails and infused waters for all my gatherings. For the holidays, I like to do my infused waters with reds, orange and greens (ex. cranberry/mint water or ginger/orange/blackberry water).
A great party is really about the basics – plenty of good food and drinks will keep your guests happy. All the other special details are just icing on the cake!