Here is a tip that I use all the time, no matter how big the event is or how intimate the party is I take photos of the set up and decor. I take photos of everything, food placement, decorations (inside and out), and table settings, anything that isn’t normally there. I know for me it serves a double purpose because I post a lot of my events and parties here and you might think it is not so useful for just anyone to take all those photos, but it is. I don’t know how many times, even when it comes to decorating for the holidays, that I get out the boxes and for the life of me I can’t remember what I use a piece for. For events or parties I totally forget set ups for food and stations, even when it is in my house. I change it up each time I have a party so I can’t remember what I did, say for last year’s Christmas party, I just get out my photos and look at the set up and go from there.
The nice thing also is if you have the photos you can also see what you have and what you have done in the past so if you do want to change it, update any of your decorations or set ups you can see that without having to get out all your stuff. This can save you a ton of time and considerable mess. I like to get out my service pieces at least 3 to 4 days ahead of time just in case I need to add to it and this gives me ample time to shop without feeling too stressed. So if I look at photos I can have even more time without having to wait.
An additional tip if you are shy on counter space use risers, simple boxes covered with fabric look great, and that way you can get more items on a table and it also gives your area some interest and dimension. Another investment that is well worth it is service pieces that are tiered, two or three plates in one, this also gives you more space. There are a lot of shops, Home Goods, TJ Max, Target, and many $1 stores have nice service pieces depending on your budget. I have found some nice stuff at $1 stores some plastic some glass and I get a few and just keep them because they are great for taking over items to people’s homes; you never have to worry about leaving with your tray if everything is not finished or you forget. If you only paid $1 for it you can let the hostess keep it or toss it, so much easier than worrying about getting it back because you know that always takes about 6 months and 20 phone calls going both directions.
I hope this helps in your party planning process. I know that this is the season and it can be stressful and it really doesn’t have to be. Make lists, try to plan ahead as much as you can and party planning is the one time that “Hording” can be an asset. The more stuff (OK, within reason) you have on hand the easier it is to throw a party the key is to be able to get to your stuff and to know what you have and that is where photos come in handy. I couldn’t do have the parties and events I do without my catalog of photos.