At last! I get to share my BFF Bash that I hosted alongside the creation of my online course Party With Alison: A step-by-step guide on how to throw any type of super fun party!
Party With Alison pre-sales on Wednesday (7/15 – check it out HERE!) then launches this week on Friday! And I cannot wait to share it with you. I’m going to share more tomorrow about why I created Party With Alison, and ALL the amazing things the course covers, but the short of it is: I know how overwhelming and stressful it can be throwing a party! And at some point in your life, you have to throw a party! One of the most asked questions I get is, “Alison I’m throwing a party! Can you help with…?” and this is my way of helping THE WORLD with parties. Haha. REGARDLESS of how much money you have to spend! Because parties are a way to show people we love them. And you know how I feel about love. Or if you don’t by the end of this post you will!
One thing I feel VERY strongly about, and you’ll know I feel this way if you’ve read ANY of my party posts, is that parties are not just photoshoots. I believe in fun parties that people feel comfortable at and have a fabulous time at. Yes I like to go over the top, yes I like ridiculous decorations, but if people aren’t having fun, if the guest-of-honor doesn’t feel honored, then basically people are just props for my pictures, right? I don’t throw parties for the sake of Pinterest. I throw them for the sake of fun.
For my course, I knew one of the best ways to demonstrate how to throw a super fun party, was to THROW a super fun party! So after filming the instructional sections of the course–which took about 6 hours–we set up and hosted an entire party that night for about 30 people. It was a looooong day haha and I was 9 weeks pregnant or so and feeling REALLY crappy. But it was ok because this party meant SO so much to me and it was for people I love.
I decided to throw the BFF Bash for people who have worked closely with me over the past year or so. Not like my personal BFF’s, though lots of the people there are my close friends, but this party was also for my work BFFs. Last December I wanted to do a Christmas party to thank some people, but I was busy having a bit of a nervous break down…so this party was my chance to say thank you to the people who have given me so much, and who helped me through some growing pains. Better late than never to say thanks, right?!
One thing my course, Party With Alison, is going to help you do, is determine what type of party is the best for your particular objectives and guests. I created this party SPECIFICALLY for the people who were invited. And after the party was over no less than 10 of them texted me and told me, “That was my favorite party I’ve ever been to of yours!” And these people have been to and worked at a lot of my parties.
I don’t believe it was their favorite because it was so much better than my other parties. I think it was their favorite because they were in my heart when I planned it! Their compliments made me so happy, not just because I had made them happy, but because I believe it really validates my course! I know how to help people feel comfortable and have a good time. Because as much as this is The Alison Show, I try not to have everything be about me.
Hahaha. Well not sometimes.
So let’s get into what we did!
The inspiration for the party was as old school BFF. To us this meant: charm bracelets, BFF necklaces, pinky promises, puns and kitsch! I worked with my favorite human Hello Tosha to create this PERFECT invite:
Isn’t Tosha THE BEST!? I really wanted to spoil people at this party, so I spent more money than I normally would on favors. The favors were like, “Thank You” gifts. So I wanted them lush. Tosha created stationery that accompanied the party, and I gave each guest a set of these cute cards.
We used the stationery, and all of the other swag, as place settings at the tables! One of the many tips I give in Party With Alison, is that if you’re going to do favors, make sure they do double duty! You can see what a big part these favors (that definitely added up in cost) played in the decor.
The tote bags were another fun favor element, and they kicked the chairs up a notch! My team surprised me by buying me this “Miss Boss” tote for my chair, HAHAHA. I can’t imagine why.
Also the sunglasses from Cents of Style were a hit…
The main event of the night was a dessert tasting! It was the only thing I had scheduled. But as guests were arriving I had two other food tables out, a fun drink station and a cheese table.
We wanted to use a lot of puns…just in case they forgot who was throwing the party:
And my friend Shauna made the BEST cheese plates for us. But I’m going to do a whole post on those, and how you can create your own! So stay tuned for that!
I don’t always bling up EVERY station at my parties (with signage and labels and all that jazz). I usually try to focus on just a few. But I did go all out for each table at this party because it was for the course, and I wanted to share a lot of ideas. So we did some fun things for the drinks as well!
I’ve been wanting to do a dessert tasting for a while now, and my friend Megan, the founder of The Sweet Tooth Fairy, was SO sweet to make that happen! Because not only did I want lots and lots of cupcakes, haha, but I wanted her time too! I asked her to come and walk us through the flavor pairings and talk a little bit about each cake! This ended up being the perfect activity for this group of guests. We were able to chat and joke around while we were doing it, but it added some structure to the night so it didn’t just get long and boring. Plus we all learned something too!
So we had a display table out showing all the flavors when guests arrived, again, this was overboard so I could demonstrate how to set up a dessert table (a bonus video in the course!). And we had a cake in addition to the cupcakes because, I mean come on…LOOK AT THAT CAKE! And also there’s a video on how to cut and serve a layer cake in the course–so we wanted it for that too!
We had the mini cupcakes of all the different flavors for the “tasting” pre-plated in the back of Club Alison.
So when it was time to do the tasting we were SET and organized. We didn’t have them out before the tasting because we wanted people to save them for the main event!
I knew that between the cake, the cupcakes, and all the display treats, that there was going to be a lot of leftovers, and I needed to make sure that none of that gorgeous goodness went to waste! So I asked Megan to bring some to-go boxes for us, and we packed up goody boxes for people to take home! I also wanted to do this because I wasn’t able to invite spouses or families to the party, due to budget, and this was my way of saying “thanks” to them for letting me borrow their mom/dad/whoever for the night! This is my new favorite thing, and I want to have to-go boxes at all of my parties.
Need a couple more cupcakes?
Now let’s talk about the Charm Bracelet Bar…
IT WAS HIT! I was seriously super surprised at HOW into it everyone was. But at the same time, this was the MAIN thing to do when you walked in the party, other than grabbing a drink and some fine cheeses, so it gave people something to keep busy with while they chatted. Also, I knew most of the guests would be into getting a tad crafty, and most were moms who were happy to make something fun for their kids. Ginger is SO into these charms. But then again, so am I.
How funny are these hands we made to display the bracelets? Just foam core and paint.
Look how cute preggers Krystyna is with her bracelet! I love when guest dress in my color-scheme. HA.
Ok, gosh I think the only thing we haven’t talk about nearly enough is my hysterical get-up.
My bomb makeup (that of course I didn’t do)! Kayti did it:
And the fun backdrop we did!
I knew this wouldn’t be a very giddy “photo wall” crowd. So again, we really did this for the course. I have a “How to build a backdrop wall” video in there too. And we cover how we made this, and how I do other backdrops too. You seriously have no idea how much info is in the course! Ha. But you will!
So even though this wasn’t like one of my dance parties, where the photo wall is hopping all night long, it was also nice to have a place to get some good shots with the people I love!
My sweet parents came up for the party–they live in San Diego. I’m so glad they came because they do SO much for me and my business. My mom flies into town whenever I have a big event to help with the kids and makes sure I’m not crying hysterically in a corner. Which…let’s face it, I usually am. And my dad is my sounding board and encouragement for all the hard business decisions I make. The fact that he, a really successful entrepreneur, believes in me, helps me continue on when I feel like a fraud. And when you’re making a living out of dance parties, awesome series, and sugar cookies, it’s easy to feel like a fraud. Haha. I’m so lucky to have them.
Of course I got to take a minute or two to thank everyone at the party for supporting me and working with me. And it was really just a super special night. Oh gosh look how serious I am. Of course I cried.
Creating Party With Alison has been really really emotional for me. Haha. I just put so much of myself into anything I create, and this course is no exception. I believe in it, and I’m excited to launch it this week. But when you pour your whole self into something, it makes you feel so vulnerable and scared. Well and being pregnant doesn’t help. FEEEEEELINGS. Haha.
But one BFF I didn’t get to invite to this party was you. I mean that. YOU. Because if you’re at my blog, reading this far down in this super long post, I know you’re supporting me and engaging and I appreciate it so much. I think for a while I was SO overwhelmed with the difficulties of growing my business, that even though I was trying to appreciate it, I couldn’t catch my breath long enough to do so properly. So I’ve been trying super hard to focus on how grateful I am. In the way I talk to you, in the way I talk to myself. I’m so incredibly humbled and thankful.
I hope you know that I talk about the stresses and breakdowns because I want you to know we all have those feelings. But at the same time I really hope it doesn’t overshadow how incredibly lucky I feel to be doing work that I’m passionate about.
I go back and forth over how much to share. How much to dance! How much to party! How much to talk about struggles. And at the end of the day, I created this blog, I gave myself a show, I did ALL of this, to put more love into the world. Not just to be the next party queen, or to have the most beautiful party pictures on the Internet, or to be the funniest dancing girl on Instagram. Those things are great, I’ll be glad if they work out, but they weren’t and aren’t the main goal. The main goal is putting more love in this world. And I think that requires connecting, and the way I connect is by sharing my HIGH highs, and my LOW lows.
So I want you to know when I created this course, when I created this party, I kept that goal in the front of my mind at all times. Yes! I need to make money, yes, I want to grow. Yes I believe that I have a talent for creating beautiful, super fun parties and I’m stoked to share it! But more than anything I hope you pick up on some of that love. Even if it’s cheesy and makes you queasy. HA!
All of the decorations for this event were delayed in the mail. And we didn’t find out until the night before that we had NONE of what we had ordered. I was so tired, and feeling like nothing was going to be good enough. I was ready to start sobbing. And then I stopped to remember why I was throwing the party. It wasn’t to blow up Pinterest (which of course I do want) or to prove I can decorate better than anyone in the world (which also, my vanity wants that too). The goal was to throw a very fun party for people I love AND to create a course that gives others the confidence to do that too. So we rallied, Sarah and Carla, the lead stylist and my amazing assistant, went wild at the party stores late the night before. And I’m so happy with how things turned out!
I can’t wait to party with you.
Photography: Becky Kimball
Graphic Design and signage: Hello Tosha
Desserts: The Sweet Tooth Fairy
Styling and crafting: Sarah Larsen
Styling: Claire White
Food: Shauna Boyack
BFF Cookies: Dolce Bella by Erin
Special thanks to Carla Thorup, Megan Kuhle & Bri Webb
Venue: Club Alison
Balloons: Northstar Balloons
Swag: Cents of Style, Forever 21, the dollar store, and random Etsy shops!
Backdrop, table runners: hand painted
Pillows from my house! Here: Society6
Charms: Bohemian Findings
let me know what I forgot!