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      October 20, 2017

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Party Planning

  1. Punchbowl
  2. Party Basics
  3. Private Island Party
  4. My Party Planner
  5. Best Party Ever

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Get Your Party Planning Supplies at For Your Party Today! When you find yourself in charge of planning a party, do you jump for joy or go into full panic mode? Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or a large-scale event, party planning can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at the same time.

Most parties have common elements such as invitations, food, and decorations, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to almost every other detail. Will there be entertainment, like a band or magician? Will guests receive party favors? Will you need to reserve a reception hall, or rent a tent and seating for an outdoor venue?

Continue reading below reviews

2017

Party Planning Reviews

5 stars
For Your Party

FOR YOUR PARTY Visit Site

Features:

Personalized gifts and party favors

Invitations and other printed materials

Party decor

Quick-ship items for last-minute shoppers

Ideas, tips & planning

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Launched in 2004, For Your Party wants to give customers the ability to easily purchase - and even design - personalized party accessories while getting the best possible customer service. Their staff consists of in-house graphic artists who have worked with major bridal and lifestyle publications, designers, and stationers, bringing affordable and creative party goods to customers worldwide.

We were blown away by the sheer number of possibilities that For Your Party offers in terms of customized party goods. Their most popular items are cocktail napkins, stadium cups, drink coasters, and matchbooks, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. You can also get bags and boxes, gift tags and labels, ribbon and twine, even tea bags and votive candles and much, much more - all personalized for your event or guest of honor.

But, if you're shopping at the last minute and don't have time to get something customized, For Your Party has an entire section just for you. Their Quick Ship items can be sent within one business day and still add a fun touch to your party; we loved the drink coasters that had a box for guests to fill in advice for the bride, newlyweds, or parents-to-be.

Pricing is very competitive, especially given the high quality of both the products and the design/customization. To further save money, there was also a pop-up on the main page at the time of our review, offering a 10% discount on our first order if we signed up for their email newsletter.

Shipping is a flat $9.95 for UPS Ground service within the United States, even on large orders.

You should also be aware that, given the custom nature of the majority of the products sold by For Your Party, the return policy covers faulty workmanship or materials but not "I didn't like the way the color turned out" or "There's a typo in what I sent in". They do offer the option of buying an e-proof for $12, to make sure that you like how your product will look, or you can request generic samples of the items you're considering; the cost of the samples ($6 for up to five samples, $10 for 6-10 samples) will be rebated on your order if you decide to make a purchase. Also, if you are ordering unprinted or non-personalized products, you may return them within 30 days of purchase for a refund, minus a restocking fee of $10 or 15%, whichever is greater.

If you're not convinced yet, take a look at the customer testimonials on the For Your Party site. You'll see glowing reviews about excellent customer service and finished products - and you can even see images of the exact product the customers are complimenting, from wedding napkins to matchbooks.

And, if you're looking for the hottest trends, For Your Party actively maintains a page called "Get the Look". From guest designers to products featured in magazines like Redbook and InStyle Weddings, you can find it here and get it for your own event. You'll also find Wedding, Party and Event Ideas and Tips to inspire you; we especially like their curated selection of recommendations in the "25 Favorite Things" section.

For Your Party is our favorite site for high-quality, customized items of every imaginable variety. For Party Planning of any occasion, For Your Party earns our highest rating.

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4 stars
Punchbowl

PUNCHBOWL Visit Site

Features:

Unique online invitations with a printed look and feel

Vendor referral service

Party ideas and recipes

Free membership

Subscriptions available for extra features

Want to send online invitations to your next event that get people's attention? Try Punchbowl! More than one million people have switched from the competition (namely, Evite) to take advantage of Punchbowl's graphically-stunning online invite service.

Punchbowl permits users to create an account for free. This free membership allows you to invite up to 100 guests per event, as well as send digital cards to up to 10 recipients each month. If you'd like to unlock more features, consider one of Punchbowl's membership plans:

  • Plus: for $1.99/month, you can access exclusive designs and add photos to your invitations
  • Premium: for $4.99/month, you get the features of Plus, along with the ability to add co-hosts, poll your guests, and create recurring events
  • Platinum: for $6.99/month, you get the features of Plus and Premium, the ability to invite up to 500 guests per event, and the ability to remove advertising from the invitations

You can try any of Punchbowl's plans with a 7-day free trial, and they offer a 30-day money back guarantee for a no-questions-asked refund.

We definitely recommend trying a free account, to see the many features Punchbowl has to offer. Their invitations allow you to create a virtual invitation, complete with envelope; select the "stamp", envelope liner, and much more.

You might not realize that Punchbowl also sells party supplies. Tucked away at the bottom of the page, under the header "More", you'll find a link named Shopping Aisle. You'll find a selection of items similar to what you'd find at your local big box store, such as Disney-themed plates and tablecloths or baby shower decorations.

In that same section, you'll also find Punchbowl's "Find a Vendor" feature. We found that it returned a decent number of options across a variety of categories, but it didn't go into the same depth (reviews, photos, etc.) as we found in our highest-rated party planning service.

Overall, Punchbowl is a fun way to create online invitations that pop, but it's a bit lackluster when it comes to everything else you'll need for party planning.

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3 stars
Party Basics

PARTY BASICS Visit Site

Features:

Personalized party items, particularly napkins

Basic tips and advice

If you need personalized party products, take a look at Party Basics. Although this NY-based retailer doesn't have a super-fancy website or a glitzy how-to section on all the latest trends, you'll find a good selection of customizable items for your next big event.

Their primary product seems to be napkins: looking at their primary navigation bar at the top of the page, you'll find links to Personalized Wedding Napkins, Party Napkins, Custom Printed Napkins, and more. And, on the left side of the page, you'll see other available supplies, from Favor Boxes to Wedding Invitations.

Unlike some of the other party planning sites we reviewed, Party Basics does not have a vendor search feature. We also found very little in the way of helpful tips and advice: in fact, on their party advice page, there are a few FAQ-type questions like "How many wedding stirrers will I need at my reception?" and "What is proper wedding invitation etiquette?" but not much more. On the other hand, they do welcome questions from customers at their toll-free number (866-468-7123), including those looking for design suggestions.

Party Basics does allow for returns on unprinted items only, with a minimum fee of $15 or 10% of the order total, whichever is higher. This is relatively standard among companies who sell personalized products.

Overall, we weren't impressed or disappointed by what Party Basics has to offer. Their customer reviews are generally positive, and their selection is good, even though the website itself is a little on the outdated side.

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2.5 stars
Private Island Party

PRIVATE ISLAND PARTY Visit Site

Features:

Basic party items for sale

Free shipping on orders over $10

Private Island Party encourages you to “dress up your wild side” with a wide range of costumes and accessories for parties of almost any theme. Starting on the main Party Themes page, you'll find everything from Angel to Western party supplies.

You can either search the site for something specific, or use the links on the side of the page to narrow down the options according to the type of party you're hosting or attending. Each category we browsed had about two pages of items to browse, from Greek God Bracelets to rainbow suspenders.

Prices are also very reasonable, with options for buying many items either as a single purchase or multiple items in bulk at a discount. Also, at the time of our review, shipping was free on all orders over $10 in the US, and there was a coupon code for saving 12% on any order. We were a little confused by the fact that the top of the page advertised free shipping on all orders, while our shopping cart said that orders had to be over $10 to qualify.

Private Island Party offers very little with respect to actually planning a party. There were no vendor referral services, and the only advice we found for parties were a few lists with theme suggestions and the recommendation to “use Google” to look for party ideas.

We also weren't thrilled to see that this retailer only maintained a “B-” rating with the Better Business Bureau. There were no reviews on the BBB site, but the grade was given because of the store's lack of response to the complaints that were filed. Other reviews we found were mixed: a few were very pleased with the prices and the quality of the items received, while others complained about late shipping and difficulty getting orders fulfilled.

So, if you're looking for cheap costumes, party favors, or other decoration needs, you might find it at a good price at Private Island Party. Just be aware that their track record for customer satisfaction leaves room for improvement.

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2 stars
My Party Planner

MY PARTY PLANNER Visit Site

Features:

Vendor referral service

Basic party items for sale

Blog with party planning ideas

With a name like My Party Planner, you'd expect a site with a vendor referral feature, a wide selection of party supplies, and helpful hints for party themes, recipe suggestions, and so forth. And, in general, that is what you get when visiting the site.

However, we were left somewhat confused with what My Party Planner actually provides for visitors to the site. On the main page, there's a prominent section entitled "Most Popular Birthday Parties", but many of the themes listed are outdated (such as Powerpuff Girls and Hannah Montana).

With every product we attempted to purchase, we either got a page error, an "out of stock" notification, or were redirected to a third-party website to actually make the purchase. Also, when we clicked on several of the links on the Party Tips page, we didn't find any helpful advice. Instead, we were taken to a page with sports memorabilia and supplies that were completely unrelated to the topic.

We did find several listings in the section labeled "Find the perfect vendor" that appeared to be accurate for the areas we entered. But, those vendor entries seem to have come from a Google search engine, rather than being an individually selected, curated list of recommended providers.

Finally, you may find some helpful ideas on My Party Planner's blog. While not the best-written articles on party planning topics, you can get ideas for tailgate parties, golf outings, and a few other subjects.

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1 star
Best Party Ever

BEST PARTY EVER Visit Site

Features:

Vendor referral service

Recipes

Party ideas and planning tools

Articles and how-to guides

Best Party Ever might have been a great resource back in 2008 or 2009. It looks like their intentions were good: vendor referrals, recipes and other party tips, and so on. Unfortunately, the site doesn't seem to have been updated since then, and even their Facebook page hasn't had new posts in more than 7 years.

Many of the articles and how-to sections are filled with spam from external site users. Also, when we tried to use the vendor referral page, the text overlapped itself so badly that we couldn't read anything on the site, let alone find information on available vendors.

It's possible that you'd find a recipe or other party suggestion you like in their collection of articles, but chances are you'll find more current hints on any of the other sites in our review.

Unfortunately, Best Party Ever is not the best party planning site ever. We recommend you try one of the higher rated companies.

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Continued from above

Using party planning services can cut down some of the guesswork - and legwork! - as you figure out everything that you’ll need to choose, buy, prepare, and set up for your next big event. There are many online services that can help you, from sites that provide referrals for local vendors such as bakeries and bouncy house rentals, to others that sell personalized party favors and more.

As you go online to find a site to help with your party planning, you should keep the following questions in mind:

  • Services. What services does the party planning site offer? Can you find a range of helpful features, such as referrals and theme ideas, or is the site limited to one particular type of product or service?
  • Party Suggestions. Are the site’s suggestions trendy and fresh, or outdated and less-than-exciting? There’s nothing wrong with a classic theme like Disney Princesses or Over the Hill, but the best party planning services will connect you with Pinterest-worthy themes and ideas (and may even connect you with Pinterest itself!).
  • Value. Does the party planning service offer a good value? Whether you’re buying customized party favors or hand-stamped invitations, you want to get your party gear at a good price. Or, if you’re searching for vendor recommendations, the party planning site should have a wide variety from which to choose, preferably with reviews by previous customers.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Party Planning sites available today. We hope these reviews help you create an event that leaves you and your guests with happy memories for years to come!

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