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Party Planning Tips from the Pros | The Loken Group

It’s that time of year again – football tailgates, Halloween parties, and holiday celebrations are upon us. We know that planning a party or event can be a bit stressful, especially if you’re a first-time host or hostess. We turned to our very own Client Care Coordinator, Jamie Flores, who has an extensive background in event planning, to put together a list of must-know tips, tricks, and time-saving hacks. This in-depth guide will tell you all the do’s and don’ts that will help you plan, create, and host the party of the year.

Plan and then plan some more

  • Use a google doc to track everything: Shopping, shipping, contacts, quotes, etc.
  • Use online shopping tools to help you determine your budget
    •  When prepping for an event, you can first create shopping lists on websites like Walmart, HEB, Amazon etc. to get an idea of what everything will cost you. It saves you a trip to the store, and allows you to save all of your items together in one place, making it easier for when it’s time to make your purchase. You can also plan in advance to make other arrangements for those items that may be out of stock.
  • Book any vendors 4-6 weeks in advance, and always get 2-3 quotes
  • Utilize a free Evite service that will help you track RSVP’s and send reminders
  • Create and follow a minute by minute schedule
    • This should include setup and tear down activities. While this may seem excessive, the simple act of creating a minute by minute helps us think through details we may not have otherwise considered.

Time Savers

  • Utilize grocery pick up/delivery services
  • Prep whatever you can in the days leading up to the party when it comes to decor, favors, and even food where appropriate
  • Amazon is your friend – price compare, and order ahead. Always add a 2 to 3-day buffer to the guaranteed delivery date when ordering anything online.

Ambiance and Decor

  • Do what you can to transform your space into one that is clean and distraction free
  • A good playlist goes a long way
  • Elevate your tablescapes – When you can, use what you already have!
    • Wrap Amazon boxes in Kraft paper to provide varying heights for your next rustic or farmhouse table scape
    • Inexpensive fresh flowers, in unsuspecting vessels, are a quick little show stopper
    • A good basket, vase, or serving bowl have limitless possibilities
    • With some creativity and access to the Dollar Spot at Target, you’ll be in business
  • For the sake of food allergies and aesthetics, label your food. Bonus points if you add creativity here.

If you can’t cater, get creative!

  • Display all of your food, condiments, and serving wear OUT OF THE BOX
  • It doesn’t take much to build a DIY Charcuterie board, and it impresses the masses!
  • Alcohol on a budget: Make a “signature sangria” using budget friendly alcohol and serve it from a pretty dispenser – Trader Joe’s two-buck chuck wine goes a long way in some sangria
  • Serve alcohol in 6 oz glasses – you’ll thank us later
  • Use a “food and beverage calculator” to help you determine how much of each item to purchase (a quick google or Pinterest search will yield plenty of these)


  • When possible, ask a friend or family member to be in charge of restocking food and drinks. A host tied up in the kitchen can make a guest feel like a burden.
  • Greet your guests at the door and also see them out. Never let a guest leave without thanking them for coming.
  • Ask ahead for food allergies or dietary restriction