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Published: Sunday, 5/16/2004

6 steps to stress-free parties

From www.smartparties.com, here are six basic steps to planning a stress-free party:

#9679;Select a theme for your event; this will help to determine the invites, food, favors, and decorations.

#9679;Determine a budget and vow to stick to it.

#9679;Determine the menu based on the theme, your budget, and your culinary skills. Keep it simple.

#9679;Create an outline/basic flow of the party from start to finish. Include games, activities, meals, mingling, anything you can think of, and then add one or two extras just in case.

#9679;Do as much as you can the night before the party to reduce any stress the day of the event. This includes preparing food, decorating, setting the table, straightening up, setting out the camera and film, organizing music, and selecting your party outfit and accessories.

#9679;Plan some down time before the party to relax.

Here are some theme ideas, from www.partybanners.com: '60s party/Groovy Baby; '70s party/Disco Fever; backyard Olympic games; book exchange; home movies; progressive party; scavenger hunt.

The Web is loaded with sites offering party ideas, advice, and guidelines on such considerations as how much food and beverage to buy. Just type something like "party planning tips" into the search field.

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