Katie Cunningham

The Secret to a Perfect Party
September 26 - Sarah Ashlock


Have you ever been invited to a party, only to realize that there’s one bag of chips and it’s as quiet as a library? It’s not always instinctual to throw a good party, one that everyone talks about but also one everyone remembers. Invite a range of people; don’t be afraid to mix age groups and jobs. Give those guests a task when they get there. People open up when they’re slicing tomatoes for the bruschetta. Plan a surprise—blind cookie-tasting contest, new board game, a signature cocktail. Most of all, don’t hide. Give your warmest welcome and be sure to make introductions spirited.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 40 percent

One of my fave reality shows is Below Deck. There’s drama, there’s a yacht, there’s tacky dinner décor. Every centerpiece has plastic, shiny crystals and lots of tulle. We don’t all have an eye for what makes for a good-looking soiree, that’s why it’s always smart to call in the big guns. Don’t be afraid to hire a party planner or pawn off a few of the details if you can afford it. Maybe a woman-owned business? It wouldn’t be hard when 40 percent of companies in the United States are owned by boss ladies.


Gone are the days when throwing your kid a party consisted of a Domino’s pizza and a Sesame Street banner. Our parties are getting increasingly elaborate, from birthdays to weddings to anything in between. Katie Cunningham started LYFETYMES to help make celebrations a celebration for you, the party planner.

The free digital platform offers inspiration and ideas, budgets, to-do lists, registries, even a personalized website that promotes your party. If you plan consistent events, it will save your guest lists and past celebrations so you’re not accidentally forgetting anyone on the invite list.

Katie was inspired to create something centered around celebrations because she believes life is worth stopping and celebrating. She didn’t celebrate holidays as a child, and after Katie lost her three brothers and had her own children, celebrations became more important than ever.

Despite Katie’s heavy workload in the corporate environment, it was always up to her to plan the next shindig. She says that moms will spend a full day’s worth of time for their kid’s party. We all know it’s not just a quick text to people. It’s coordinating schedules, picking food that goes with your theme, oh yeah and picking a theme, looking at 100 blogs and vendors’ websites.

Don’t forget to extend celebrations beyond the usual. Katie offers a few ideas for Halloween, like pumpkin carving with paint and plastic-covered tables, followed by toasted seeds for favors. Go low-key with a movie party—Hocus Pocus, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, or basically any Saw flick.

Creating a party business isn’t necessarily a party. Coming from a corporate background, Katie says that the differences are tremendous. Startup life means needing experience in a large variety of areas, from social media to taxes. One of the mantras that keeps Katie going is, “time is free, but it isn’t priceless.”


Katie said:

"I’ve followed the “rules” we are expected to live by, but I needed to do this for myself, at this exact point. I needed to fulfill MY purpose, its difficult to explain, but I don’t think I am the only woman out there that feels like this."

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