Start your engines  – how to scrapbook event preparations

by Debbie Hodge

The preparations for an event include enjoyable and important activities that can be hard to separate from the event itself: making party favors, coloring Easter eggs, baking cookies, and setting a table are a few examples of this. Even when the preparations aren’t so much fun—cleaning house, shopping for groceries, doing yard work—they are still key to making the fun happen.

When you scrapbook event preparations, you honor the efforts that go into entertaining others and you leave a great record for yourself and for future generations. How cool would it be for your children to pull out this kind of a page when they’re grown and entertaining and have them recall and repeat those activities?

As things get busy with the actual event, it’s easy to miss shots that will later be emblematic of the party. My sons and I spent weeks making yardstick hobby horses—and I only thought to photograph them right before handing them out. The grocery shot here is from Passover and is actually an arranged photo – as I was unpacking the groceries, I realized how unvarying the ingredients for this holiday are for us. The photo of my oldest son, shows him cutting up race-car bases for his little brother’s party, and when I see it, I’m totally returned to the Sunday afternoon we all spent on the deck getting ready for that party.

photos of event preparations

If you’re ready to scrapbook some event preparations, consciously think about and take (or gather) photos of the items and activities that are a part of your events. Since we all have our own ways of getting ready, here are some ideas for jumpstarting your own list of what illustrates your event preparations

  • groceries
    Take a photo of grocery bags while they’re still in the car ready to be unloaded or the unpacked items sitting on the kitchen table or counter.


  • decorating
    Keep your camera nearby and get photos (or ask someone else to get them) of hanging crepe paper, putting ornaments onto the Christmas tree, arranging flowers, and setting the table.
  • cooking and baking
    If there’s something particular to the holiday, be sure and include a photo of it. For example, using the cookie press at Christmas or making matzo balls at Passover. In addition to photographing the activities involved in cooking and baking, you can also include photos of the finished product and a recipe book that’s your go-to source for this particular holiday.
  • favors
    What were they? Did you make them or buy them? Get photos of the making of favors or maybe an arrangement of them ready and waiting for the party.

    “Start Your Engines” shows my sons doing the things they do every Christmas, and while that may seem redundant, the recording of these activities reinforces them as traditions. Additionally, these photos are full of context that will later trigger memories of this particular holiday, including the rickety cabinet in the kitchen I hope will someday be gone, the spot where the tree sat this year, and the generous sprinkles on the cookies


memorabilia of event preparations

In addition to putting photos on your event preparation pages, Save your preparation “documents” and either include them right on the page or use them as a resource for your journaling. Think about how the following could work on your pages.

  • a hand-written grocery or to-do list
    Yep. It will probably be crumpled and maybe stained, but it’s a great memory. Laminate or scan and print on acid-free paper if you’re worried about it affecting your photo quality over time.
  • receipts for decorations or favors
    Not only will the actually products that are available change over time, but so will the stores and prices. Receipts are a wonderful record of life—and how you celebrated holidays and events—at any point in time.
  • recipes
    Make sure those family recipes endure not only in the recipe box but on your scrapbook pages.
  • journal
    Telling just what goes into event preparations, is a joy to read later on. You’ll recall and celebrate the work you put into your parties and there will be details in there you wouldn’t remember if they weren’t written down.