Easy Organizing: Celebrations

There are a host of reasons to have a spring shindig with friends and family, from Mother's Day to showers to birthdays (we're having one of our own, you know). But how to throw a party that's low-key and low-cost? Choose a daytime buffet-style fete, like a dessert bar, serving foods that guests can eat with ease, like petite treats or fork-only fare. Prep as much as possible the day before: Arrange flowers (they'll be fine overnight), set out vessels (jazz up plain platters with patterned paper liners cut to fit), and plate nonperishable foods (cover with plastic wrap or leave candies and the like in bags). Most of all, keep the scene simple: Let single-flower arrangements, delicious food displayed at interesting levels, and favors in plain sight put the focus on what the guests really came for: having a good time.

Plan the Perfect Spring Party - Spring Party - Party - DIY

1. Drink It In

Save money and hassle by not stocking a full bar. Instead, serve a tasty cocktail (like pomegranate-Prosecco punch) and a nonalcoholic alternative (such as mint-garnished lemonade), mixed in advance. Set the drink station with beverages in pitchers or other serve-yourself vessels, an ice bucket, napkins, and garnishes like citrus slices or berries to add flavor and style. Choose glasses that will be simple for guests to balance rather than pretty-yet-precarious stemware. A fun, functional touch: Pre-label straws with attendees' names, affixing tags with tape.

Plan the Perfect Spring Party - Spring Party - Party - DIY

2. Treats to Go

Here's a way to let partygoers savor the memories: Send them home with favors featuring the fete's standout snack or sweet, like the French macaroons here. Make or buy extra batches, nestle them in gift boxes lined with tissue paper, and embellish with ribbon and the honoree's initial (we used a rubber stamp and stickers).

Plan the Perfect Spring Party - Spring Party - Party - DIY

3. Write On

Show the woman of the day how much she's loved with a guest book filled with thoughtful messages; leave facing pages blank for inserting snapshots later. Last, wrap up the flowers that were used as decorations for the special lady. And then? Relax.