How to Plan a Party w/ Christa Graham

September 12, 2018 | Episode #15
Detroit wedding and event planner Christa Graham talks about how to plan the perfect party! She'll cover prep, invitations & RSVPs, food & drink, and more!

PODCAST GUEST: Christa Graham

Christa Graham is a Metro Detroit-based wedding and event planner, and she runs Christa Graham Weddings & Events.

On her website, Christa describes herself as an ENFJ and part of the Oregon Trail generation, which she says makes her the perfect wedding planner!

You can find Christa on the web at any of these places:


Tuesdays Together & Rising Tide Society

The Rising Tide Society is a group dedicated to the idea that collaboration helps entrepreneurs more than competition.

We believe an empowered creative economy will change the world. By elevating the voices of creatives around the world, sharing their stories, and building a thriving online and offline community, we support the creative in their pursuit of a sustainable livelihood.Empowerment begins with saving creatives time and money.

This movement has led to local meetups, called TuesdaysTogether, which happen monthly around the world.

Christa leads the Ann Arbor chapter of TuesdaysTogether! If you’re near Ann Arbor, MI, come join us!

If you’re not, find a TuesdaysTogether meetup in your area by clicking here!

SIDE NOTE: Personality Profiles: ENFJ & INFJ [00:36]

These two types are from the Myers-Briggs Personality Profile.

Christa’s personality type: ENFJ

Christa is an ENJF, which, according to the website, means that she is a Protagonist.


Protagonists are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. Forming around two percent of the population, they are oftentimes our politicians, our coaches and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world.


With a natural confidence that begets influence, Protagonists take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.

My personality type: INFJ

Christa and I are pretty similar! The only difference is that while she’s more extroverted (the E part of ENFJ), I tend to be more introverted (the I part). According to, that makes me an Advocate.


The Advocate personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world.


As members of the Diplomat Role group, Advocates have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is that they are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.

Find out your personality profile!

Head over to to take a personality test to figure out where you fall!

It’s free, and neither I nor Christa are affiliated with the site in any way! We both just like it ?


Here are the tips Christa discussed on the show about how to plan a party:

Party Prep

  1. Create a drop-zone. This is a place where you can leave all of your party supplies as you purchase them. When they’re all in one place, you’ll always know where they are.
  2. Use some dollar store storage bins to organize your drop zone.
    1. You might remember that I talked about these awesome bins back in episode 5.
  3. Create a to-do list
    1. Do as many tasks as you can ahead of the party
    2. Create this list seven days before the party
    3. Include things like decorating, food & drink, gathering materials you own already, shopping, checking that you have enough of everything (e.g., cutlery), etc.

Invitations & RSVPs

  1. Invitations set the tone. Ensure that your invites match the tone of your party.
  2. Invitations should get people excited for your event!
  3. Invitations should be sent three weeks in advance of a party
  4. People should have two weeks to RSVP
  5. One week prior, you should follow up with your guests who haven’t RSVPd
  6. A couple of days prior, you should send a quick reminder about your event to your guests
  7. If you need a tool to help you design your invitations, try Canva!

Food & Drink

  1. Prep as much of the food in advance of the party as you can
  2. Take help from the store! Do as much semi-homemade as possible
  3. Party platter idea
    1. Buy a store-bought meat/cheese platter
    2. Take it out of the packaging
    3. Discard the packaging
    4. Arrange it on a nice tray or cutting board
    5. Garnish with something like sprigs of rosemary
  4. Drink idea
    1. Get a glass pitcher
    2. Decant (…pour, haha) some store-bought lemonade into the pitcher
    3. Add slices of fresh lemon
    4. Add ice

At the Party

  1. Prepare a playlist of background music in advance. Background music helps to fill any awkward silences as the party gets started.
  2. Ensure that your music matches the theme / tone of the party
  3. You can also put a movie on mute in the background. This works especially well at holiday parties, and can also help to alleviate any awkwardness.
    1. I suggest turning on the captions so folks can still read the dialog
  4. Remember to actually spend time relaxing with your guests!
  5. Remember to actually eat some of the food you prepared!


  1. Put away / give away any leftover food
  2. Clear any trash
    1. Watch out for drinks set in odd places
    2. Take down and discard any disposable decorations
  3. Once these two things are done, you can take a break if you need it!
  4. Take down and put away / give away / sell any remaining decorations
  5. Do all dishes
  6. Take out the trash


Here’s a quick breakdown of Christa’s party-planning timeline:

    • Set the date
    • Select a venue
    • Send invitations
    • Begin collecting RSVPs
    • Prep your to-do list
    • Follow-up with guests who haven’t RSVPd
    • Create background music playlist
    • Send reminders to guests
    • Shop
    • Prep any food that can be prepped early
    • Decorate
    • Finish decorating
    • Queue up music
    • Play movie on mute
    • Finish prepping food
    • Remember to spend time with guests
    • Remember to get some of your food

Christa’s LIFE HACK: Brain-dump Ideas Into a To-do List [27:30]

Christa suggests that whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, write everything that’s in your head on a to-do list.

Don’t worry about how it’s organized at first! Just get it out of your head and into whatever tool you prefer (e.g., journal, planner, task app, etc.).

Once you’ve got everything out of your brain, you’ll be able to focus, organize, and prioritize those tasks!

Get my free party-planning checklist! [29:06]

I created a one-page checklist with all of the essential party-planning tips from this episode.

Tap the button below to grab it now!

Get the checklist!

Get the Free Download!

15 Strategies for Getting More Done in a Day

I have a fantastic freebie I'd love to send to you. It's a one-page guide that covers my favorite 15 strategies for making the most out of every day.

Click below to grab this download now!

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