How to Throw a Party for 250 People

The title of this post should be, “How to Throw a Party for 250 Without Losing Your Mind”. My book launch party is in two weeks! Yikes!

I really am stressed. Not only is there a lot to do but I have decided that everything needs to be perfect. Actually, better than perfect. So I have stepped it up to ensure the house looks great … everywhere.

Summer Fun Outdoor Party in the Backyard

My new book, A Home to Share, is available for Pre-order now! Click here for more details!


How to Throw a Party

A Home to Share

You might be thinking, “what’s the big deal?” But remember, I do live in a one-hundred-year-old (plus) home. There is always something that needs fixing and there is always something that leaks or squeaks. And well, sometimes old houses just need really deep cleaning,

To complicate things, imagine that you are throwing a party and want your home to look great but at the same time you are also remodeling a beach house. And for months you have been buying faucets, rugs, door knobs, workout equipment, mirrors, a couch, mattresses, and more.

Of course, all of the stuff for the beach house is here in our home so this weekend we will be renting a truck and moving everything into storage in Ventura! Fingers crossed!

Tips on How to Throw a Party

Summer Fun Outdoor Party with Lights

There are some basic steps you should follow when you want to host a party.

  1. Decide on the date, theme, and venue.
  2. Invite your guests.
  3. Plan the decor and set up.
  4. Create the menu.
  5. Enlist help if needed.
  6. Create a to-do checklist
  7. Prepare the house (clean up, plant flowers, etc.).
  8. Day prior – set up as much as you can, including flowers, etc.
  9. Day of the party – final set up, meal prep, bar set up, enjoy!
  10. Day after – make notes of what worked, and what didn’t to help plan for next time.
color coded spreadsheet
This is my color-coded spreadsheet that I use for every party we host! You can learn more about my color-coded spreadsheet in my new book, a Home to Share.

Some of the items above might not apply to your event but this is the list I use for every single one of my parties.

The Book Launch Party

A Home to Share book

We are hosting a party for the launch of my new book, A Home to Share, on September 27th. Unlike any of our previous parties, I invited all of our friends and all of you! The party not only includes a signed book by yours truly, food and drinks but a house tour too.

If you would like to attend but haven’t reserved your spot, click here. I increased the number of tickets available and there are 15 spots left!


The party takes place in our backyard at a time that is what I call “between seasons”. The summer flowers are spent and the fall flowers are just blooming. Plus we have a water shortage and can only water twice a week.

That said, we have worked a lot in the yard and I am excited for many of you to see it!

And of course, a house tour means that the house inside has to look amazing too!

The Party Menu

I am not going to reveal the menu until after the party. I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you that are coming, and to be honest, I made another change to the menu just yesterday! But just so you know, I will be cooking every night this week getting all of the make-ahead items prepared and stored in the freezer.

I did hire some wonderful people to help on the day of the party. They will cook all the food that I am making, tend to the bars, and manage the cleanup.

About fifteen years ago I realized that getting help on the day of our Holiday party (which is about 200 people and I still make all of the food) made a huge difference. I finally figured out a way to enjoy our party. I love that I am able to enjoy our party and not have to be in the kitchen the entire time!

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House Preparation

This has been the biggest task but it’s been wonderful. Two months ago I started on a crazy house/cupboard/closet/drawer organization craze and it has paid off! My husband refers to my frenetic organization as “Late Spring Cleaning”.

Ok, I am really late with my spring cleaning … but it is getting done!

In my job, I am very fortunate to receive a lot of wonderful items for our home, to share with all of you. Over time, this decor piles up, and storage has always been an issue. I have been very creative with finding new storage and had some fun battles with my husband. (Let’s just say the old stereo equipment that we haven’t used in years has been donated and I have four new cabinets, including a new pillow cover drawer. )

Pillow Cover Drawer

Before you laugh, think back through all of the blog posts I have written with new and DIY handmade pillow covers. They now all have a new home and are organized by season!

I also cleaned all of our carpets about three weeks ago. A few years ago, I bought my own carpet cleaner, and it is one of the best investments ever. I do have to admit though, it’s a bit unsettling to see the dirt that comes out of carpets that you thought were pretty clean! It amazes me how wonderful they look after a few hours of cleaning five carpets!

Summer Decor Ideas for the Family Room

If you are coming to the party, I fully expect you to notice how clean our carpets are … JK!


Our Third Floor Mother in Law Suite

I did want to mention, that while I am getting ready for the party, two other things are happening.

We are getting ready for the book launch, which means we are also preparing to send out about 75 gift boxes (with my book). Those are being prepared on the 3rd floor and will go out this week. But this is what the third floor looks like right now …

Influencer Boxes

I also decided to make something for each gift box. I can’t share what it is, but here is a hint. And the good news is that all 75 of them are done!

Influencer Boxes

And … you have to promise not to scold me … but we are filming a commercial here next week for four days.

Yes, I know that is insane. But I couldn’t pass it up. Next week I know I will be incredibly stressed and then very happy when it is over. I also promise to share whatever I can about the filming. It’s a fun one with one of my favorite brands ever!

FYI, it’s a holiday commercial and they were going to use snow. (Actually fake snow.) But they decided against it and I am very happy!

Last Minute Details

Flower mart flowers

We have a big flower mart trip scheduled for the day before the party and I promise to share that with you! Set up will be done the weekend before so Monday and Tuesday will consist mostly of flower arranging (we have some fun new things planned that are all in the book!) and last minute food preparation.

Last Minute Thoughts

The Carriage House Reveal with Lamps Plus Chandelier

In summation, I have one huge piece of advice. If you want the motivation to really make your house look great then throw a party. It really is that simple.

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How to Throw a Party for 250 People

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  1. I cannot wait for your book party! II always knew it was going to be awesome, but oh my gosh, Leslie- from today’s peek, I can see it’s going to be over the top!! xx

  2. Wow Leslie! You never seize to amaze me! Please, please, please tell me HOW you were able to get rid of your husband’s “old stereo equipment “?? I have been trying for years…it still just sits there ( taking up some great real estate) !! ☺️ Thank you for all you do and for continuing to be an inspiration.
    Patti McMains

  3. i love reading your blog and drool over the photos!!! please give your recommendation for solar outdoor hanging lights for our newly installed patio in the north east.

  4. I am super excited for your book! Looking forward to the “after” party pictures to give me great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing your home and great ideas.

  5. Lady you are going to earn yourself a vacation and collapse after all of this! Wishing you all the best for such an exciting time. Enjoy your night and an amazing life accomplishment.

  6. Damn, woman! I do not know how you do everything you do. A blog, parties every week, a new book, decorating, crafting every week, weddings. I have wondered if you actually sleep at night. I am sure your book party will be wonderful. Thanks for making me feel like a schlub. Your fellow Martha lover, Laura (in the hot, hot desert).

  7. Leslie, wishing you all the best as you count down the days to your book launch and party. Wish I could attend but Ontario, Canada to California is just a little too far right now, but I am so excited for your book to arrive on my doorstep. I’m sure I will not put it down I t I have read cover to cover.

    Congratulations! Couldn’t be happening for a nicer person.

  8. So excited to get to actually attend one of your parties & not just read about it!! I love your color coded chart! So helpful! Just wondering if you sleep ever??!! Looking forward to getting that book in my hands!!

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