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Whether you are planning a birthday party, anniversary party or graduation party, here are some tips to make your party special.

- Let the invitation you select set the mood of the party. Whether you buy custom invitations or print them on your computer make sure you give your guests all the necessary information. Make sure you include a map, information on whether a meal will be served, and whether or not the party is a surprise.

- If your budget allows, consider having someone come in to help you set up, serve and clean up afterwards. This will minimize the stress for you. Try a college student or teenager. They are always looking for ways to make extra money.

- Consider your menu carefully. Do you have room for a sit-down meal, or will it be a buffet? If you are serving buffet or cocktail style, make sure that the food you serve is easy to handle and not messy.(For example, you wouldn't serve spaghetti at a stand up/cocktail style meal!)

- If you are entertaining outside, consider the weather and temperature when planning your menu.

- Make sure you have enough seating for people to sit down, at least part of the time. This is especially important with elderly people, or young mothers with children.

- If you will be having children, consider putting away some of your trinkets and valuable pieces to assure they do not get ruined. Also, what will the children do to entertain themselves? You nay want to put out some toys, or think about entertainment for the kids. Nothing will run a party faster than bored kids whining and complaining. Also consider a separate meal/buffet for the kids with some of their favorites.

- Do you want to have entertainment for the adults? How about a singer, or fortune teller, or caricature artist? Be creative and think of what your guests will enjoy.

- Decide ahead of time whther or not you want to open gifts at the party.

- Try putting disposable cameras at each table and telling the guests to feel free to take pictures. You will get a lot of interesting pictures this way.

- If you would like guests to make toasts or roasts, make sure to tell them beforehand so they can prepare something.

- You can make a memory book for the guest of honor by sending each guest a photo album page ahead of time and asking him/her to fill it with favorite photos and a note about the guest of honor.

- For festive placecards consider a small potted plant, with the guest's name on a stake. Or how about a mini-cupcake with the name written in icing? The possibilities are endless.

- Keep the good feelings going long after the party ends, by sending any thank you notes promptly.