Party Planning Checklist Essentials

Having a party planning checklist can make the difference between a party you’ll never forget, and a party you wish you could. If creating your own party planning checklist feels like too much hassle, or you’re worried you’ll forget a crucial detail; here is a list of essential party planning items that will make or break your event.

Months before

Months before the party, you need to get important details in place. These include how much money you can afford to spend on the party, whether you want to hire a venue and, if so, where it’s going to be, as well as who you’re going to invite.

1. Work out a budget

2. Decide on a date, a time, and a venue (and book the venue, if applicable).

3. Decide on the guest list.

4. Plan a theme, if you intend to have one.

5. Send out invitations, giving details of the date, time, and place of the party, as well as additional details like whether the party is themed, and whether guests should bring anything with them. You can do this using using party apps, which send free email invitations to guests telling them everything they need to know about the party.

Month before

The basics are in place, and it’s time to start paying attention to the details.

1. Decide what food you’re going to offer.

2. Ask friends/family for help during the event if necessary.

3. Make a shopping list of items, food and drink you will need to purchase for the party.

4. Purchase non-perishable items you need. This might include paper plates, plastic cutlery, soft drinks, and decorations.

5. Decide on what party games you want to play.

  1. Start creating favors or party bags, if you plan to offer these to guests.

Week before

The countdown to the big day has started, and the week before the party is one of the most important planning times. The more you get done earlier, the more relaxed you will feel about the preparations.

1. Confirm that the people who have offered to help can still volunteer.

2. Follow up with guests who haven’t RSVPed yet.

3. Create a music playlist for extra entertainment.

  1. Organize the layout of the party room (this applies to events in homes and in professional venues).
  2. Confirm catering and food choices.

6. Pick your outfit if the party is going to be formal.

  1. Create an agenda. This is especially helpful if you are hosting a more formal party, as it gives you a structure to focus on during the evening. An example party agenda might look like this:

7-7.30: Guests arrive and drinks.

8-8.30: Guests seated at dinner table and first course served, etc.

Day before

The day of the party is nearly here, and you still have time to do a lot of preparations in advance to minimize the amount of stress you feel on the day of the event.

1. Clean your home (if the party is going to be at your home) and organize the layout of rooms guests will be using.

2. Put away any items you don’t want your guests to see, or things you want to keep safe, including in the bathroom.

3. Start putting up decorations.

4. Designate specific tasks to each of your volunteer helpers.

Day of

Hopefully you’ve prepared enough in advance that you don’t have much to do on the day of the party. Your main tasks will involve ensuring that the food and venue are ready.

1. Finish any last-minute decorations.

2. Start preparing for the post-party clean-up by making space in the fridge, and readying trashbin liners.

3. Put out perishable food items and drinks about an hour before guests arrive.

In summary, great parties begin with great planning.

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