The Rue family is growing!! When the girls and I heard the news that our very own Maia McDonald and her husband are expecting their first child, we were brimming with excitement to help welcome the first Rue baby to the team. To show Maia how much she means to us, I wanted to throw the mother-to-be a beautiful baby shower she’d always remember.

Though I love to entertain, the projects I usually take on are decorating ones (like this dramatic makeover and that bachelorette pad). I was excited, however, to try my hand at event design for the first time as I thrive off of a good creative challenge! Today, I’m excited to share all the pretty details and hope to inspire your next party planning adventure in the process. I’ve also compiled a list of all the things I’ve learned along the way about making party planning as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Here it is:

1. Think Outside the Box When Determining Your Location- After nailing down the date, the first task on my list was finding our location for Maia’s shower. Since my place is currently being redecorated, that wasn’t going to work. As I was brainstorming ideas with our associate editor Kelli, she reminded me of our friends at Cuyana and their beautiful showroom in the heart of San Francisco. I’ve long loved the space, which was decorated by local designer Lauren Nelson, and knew it would make a stunning backdrop to our celebration. I reached out to the Cuyana ladies and they graciously opened up their doors to us. Remember: Even if you’re hosting, you don’t necessary have to do so in your home. When planning a party, think outside the box when it comes to location.

2. Get the Nitty Gritty of Planning Done First- After I had the date and location confirmed, the nitty gritty of planning followed. I headed to Cuyana for a walkthrough and some space planning next. During the visit, I determined where the snack table and bar would be (and took measurements of the tables for my linens); I identified the places where I wanted to bring in some additional decor to fill in with our color palette; I picked out the spot where I’d be setting out the parting gifts that guests would leave with; and I made note of how I could slightly tweak the seating arrangement on the day of to better accommodate our number of guests (25). You’ll want to make sure this step is done before the fun, creative parts so you have a solid foundation from which to build from.

3. Keep a Running To-Do List- With the space all planned out, next it was time to make the vision come to life. I made a master list in my iPhone notes (so it was always on hand and easily edited) of everything I still needed to do, purchase, and borrow. It looked a little something like this: Develop a signature cocktail, Hire a florist, Place my order for a cake, Borrow table linens from a friend, Come up with a few Baby Shower games, Shop for decor like pillows and vases, Create a grocery list for the snack bar, send out an RSVP reminder to the guest list, Find a photographer, etc. With a detailed to-do list, I set out on tackling each item one by one. Having a clear roadmap to creating your vision is a must when it comes to event execution and staying on budget.

4. Make It Personal- Equipped with my master to-do list, next came the creative vision. Remember: It’s always a nice gesture to first ask the honoree if they have any special requests for this part (color palette, overall style, food and beverage requests, music preference, etc.). Maia didn’t want pastel pinks, frills, or bows as she wanted to avoid anything too girly. Instead she asked for pops of coral with citrusy hues and an updated style. I loved her idea and ran with it! I headed to West Elm, Anthropologie, Ikea, and World Market (killing two birds with one stone, I also bought all my food and beverages here) with my list and began scouting and shopping for the perfect party decor and essentials.

5. Enlist a Day-Of Helper- I tend to be the type of person who wants to do everything on my own and doesn’t always remember that asking for help is an option. So when my sweet mother offered to assist me with the day-of set up, it was a good reminder and practice for me to accept the offer. And thank goodness I did! Having an extra set of hands for unforeseen urgencies (which always seem to occur), but more importantly, for moral support is essential to hosting with ease and grace. After all, you want to be able to enjoy the party and be present to all the celebratory moments. I could not have down it without her helping to lighten my load.

All and all, I’d say Maia’s baby shower was a smashing success. I got to work with a dream team of vendors and picked up some new party throwing skills along the way. Best of all though was seeing the joy on Maia’s face as she and Babygirl were celebrated by close friends and family. Having your first baby is a once in a lifetime moment and one certainly deserving of a celebration to remember! We can’t wait to meet her little bundle of joy come April!

MEET THE TEAM: Location: Cuyana SF Showroom // Event Design: Crystal Palecek // Photography: Edyta Szyszlo // Florals: Floral Theory // Stationery: Aerialist Press // Baked Goods: Fox & Fawn Bakehouse // Linens: La Tavola (Borrowed from Bustle Events)

SHOP THE LOOK: Citron Solid Pillow // Coral Chevron Pillow // Patchwork Pillow // Gold Metallic Crackle Pot // Yellow Ceramic Berry Baskets // White Picture Frames // Yellow Honeycomb Vase // Color Rimmed Glasses // Coral Polka Dot Placemat // Coral Paper Straws // Citron Placemat // Paper Flowers // Etched Candy Bowl // Cloudy Glass Vases  // Chandelier