Author: Jen Jones Donatelli

Jen Jones Donatelli is a Los Angeles-based author who has written many books for Capstone Press, including 10 Things You Need to Know About Throwing Parties. When she’s not pinning cute party ideas on Pinterest, Jen also writes about food, lifestyle and fun for publications including LA Confidential, San Francisco, Whole Life Times, Thrillist, Shoptopia and many more. She is also a graduate and current adjunct faculty member of the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

Planning Perfect Parties Q and A


to a Q & A with the author of Planning Perfect Parties, Jen Jones, who has created the first ever Girls’ Guide to throwing fun, fresh and unforgettable events! This book has everything a young party planner needs to prepare for a fabulous shindig.

Q: What inspired you to write this party planner guide?

Ever since I was young, I’ve always loved hosting parties—from slumber parties back in the day to 70s-themed shindigs to lively game nights today. Having fun is truly one of my top priorities in life, and there is nothing better than gathering all of your favorite people for a festive occasion. Enter this book, which is designed to help budding hostesses find their own party planning groove… and have fun doing it.

Q: How do you make a party a perfect party?

The right mix of people is all you need for a great time! It’s like Maya Angelou’s famous quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Leave them feeling great and you can be confident that you’ve thrown one memorable shindig! (Of course, that doesn’t mean your details can’t be ultra-memorable, too.)

Q: What is your favorite part about planning a party?

I love combing Pinterest and blogs for new and creative ideas and getting inspired browsing through cookbooks. (I could look at food photography all day.) It’s so much fun to plan the different elements of a party and tie them all together with a great theme!

Q: What has been one of your most fun themes for a party?

One of my favorite parties I threw was a “Naughty or Nice” party at Christmastime. I had a giant “scroll” divided into two sides where people could write naughty or nice messages; plus, it was a blast coming up with the recipes—from “lump of coal” brownie balls to a delicious “Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice” mocktail. I still have the light-up reindeer antlers I wore… gotta love a great holiday soiree! Another of my all-time favorites was a fake “prom,” complete with a photo booth and king and queen.

Q: What is the one “must-have” for girls planning their first party?

Other than this book (gratuitous plug!), a must-have for any budding party planner is a central place to keep track of everything. Keep track of all of your ideas/checklists/to-do tasks in a cute notebook, and you won’t be stuck scrambling when it’s time to go shopping and put the party pedal to the metal.

Q: Where is the least expected place to find party supplies for your parties?

I’m a big fan of the dollar store—they often have such cute decorations, and it’s easy to “splurge” when everything is so affordable. You can find anything from tiaras to Christmas garland to colorful glasses to prizes for games. Also, consider venturing into your own closet for party inspiration. A stack of old magazines could make a great excuse to host a vision board party, or old forgotten board games might turn into an awesome game night.

Q: What is the most important thing to keep in mind when you are planning a party?

On the big day, leave plenty of time to get everything done beforehand. So many times, I have barely had time to take a shower before the party starts because I’m still trying to finish cooking, cleaning and checking off all the other to-dos on the list. It can be hard to check out of frazzled mode and into fun mode, so I always suggest giving yourself ample time to make the mental shift—and get it all done!