Your Open Arms “Party with a Purpose” Checklist • 1
3 Weeks Out Decide if you are flying solo or partnering with a friend or two. Party throwing is always more fun as a team! Make an invitation list. For a large party, invite 20 percent more people than you can fit, since typically only 70 to 80 percent of invitees attend. Decide on a theme, if you would like. Make, buy, or borrow any decorations or music you may need to fit the theme. See www.openarmsworldwide.org/myopenarms for decoration and music ideas. Send invitations. Mail, e-mail, even phone invites are all great! Several online services like Evite are also available and have their own party tips and checklists. See www.openarmsworldwide.org/myopenarms for sample invitations and graphics. Plan the menu and make your shopping list. For a list of Brazilian snacks that are easy to make, go to www.openarmsworldwide.org/myopenarms Line up any help you may need for set-up/clean-up. Partnering with a friend or two is another great way to share the load. If you are a family, it is always good to involve older children in the prep.
2 Weeks Out Come up with a playlist. The music should be upbeat and sufficient to last throughout the party. Do a first round of grocery shopping and cooking. Prepare any dishes that can be frozen to be warmed quickly on the day of the party. Send out a reminder email to your guests.
1 Week Out Clean the house thoroughly. This way, you’ll need only a quick once-over before the party. (To maintain it for the rest of the week, try the 19-minute daily routine at www.realsimple.com/quickcleanup) Set the stage. Arrange furniture as you’ll want it for the party, making sure that guests can move easily from one part of your house to another. Designate a coffee table or side table for coffee and
Your Open Arms “Party with a Purpose” Checklist • 2
dessert, if you’ll be serving them. Tuck away things that will be in the way, precious items that might get broken, and any clutter. Figure out the lighting - using low-wattage bulbs or candlelight will create the right mood. If possible, plan for setting up a media station where a laptop or desktop computer can be available with the Open Arms web site for browsing or making on-line donations. Check other media requirements. If you plan to show a video, for example, will the television size and volume be sufficient for your guests? Take inventory of cookware and serving dishes. Five days out send one more reminder
1 Day Out or Day Of for a Saturday or Sunday event Clean-up and decorate Specify a place for coats. Make space in a closet and fill it with hangers. You could also choose a bed for coats (make sure the room is tidy and free of valuables, so you won’t need to worry about them), or purchase an inexpensive portable garment rack. Finish grocery shopping and any last minute cooking
Day Of Place chairs. Don’t worry about having enough seating for everyone; fewer seats will encourage mingling. Display food. One to two hours before guests arrive, set out appetizers and snacks that won’t spoil. Wrap them tightly to ensure freshness; tear off the wrap when the first guest rings the doorbell. Display Open Arms material (flyers, pictures, sign-in sheets) Confirm computer station is working for guests who would like to browse the OAW site or donate.
Your Open Arms “Party with a Purpose” Checklist • 3
Greet guests as they arrive. Things should be organized so you’re free to mingle and not tied to the kitchen.
Post Party Fill out Post-Party Feedback form with names and email addresses of your guests. Mail any donations and/or response cards, along with your Feedback form, to Open Arms Worldwide, PO Box 298, Centreville, VA 20122. Post your event photos and testimony to your Facebook page and send us the link. We want to hear about your party! Follow up with any guests who expressed an interest in also hosting an event.