This may sound like a lot of work or even a bit cheesy, but surprisingly a theme can make your life easier and your party more fun. With a Mexican theme, serve grilled fish tacos, guacamole and margaritas, or serve burgers, brats and Berghoff beer for a Chicago barbecue theme, for example.
"It creates a more fun and memorable event," says Debi Lilly, chief eventeur of A Perfect Event in Chicago.
Create a menu based on the theme-everything from drinks and appetizers to main dish, sides and dessert, Lilly says. Plan your guest list, figure out how much food is needed and what guests can bring.