Party and holiday season are almost upon us…are you ready? There seems to be a million things to do and to remember. Don’t fret, Barefoot Readers – I have a little something to help you out if you are hosting any type of event during this crazy, busy, joyful season.
I have done my fair share of party giving and party planning. Over the years, I have figured out a logical sequence of events to make sure everything is done before the party starts so that I can actually enjoy being with my guests. To accomplish this goal, I have learned that “outsourcing” is my best friend (and believe me, I’ve learned this the hard way). If you can “outsource” cleaning, set up or serving, then by all means, do so…it will give you time to concentrate on the menu and to actually socialize. There are lots of online resources to contact services that do everything from valet parking to making sure dishes are cleared and glasses stay full during your party.
I have put together a list of to-do items to help me with party planning, and I am sharing it with you today!
The Ultimate Party Planning Checklist
4 Weeks Prior to Event:
Set a date
Pick a venue (home or another location)
Create guest list and obtain addresses or emails
Set a budget
Order invitations if sending by mail
Determine theme (if applicable) and begin gathering décor
3 Weeks Prior to Event:
Order cake (if applicable)
Send invitations (if sending by mail)
Plan menu or hire caterer
Rent/purchase any tables, chairs, coat racks dishes or glassware as needed
2 Weeks Prior to Event:
Hire any help needed for set up, serving, valet or clean up
Order napkins, party favors, banners
Send out digital invitations
Shop for party clothes
1 Week Prior to Event:
Assemble grocery shopping list
Set out serving pieces, dishes and platters
Evaluate linens for repair or stains
Develop music playlist and/or slideshow
5 Days Prior to Event:
Shop for non-perishable items
Count RSVPs and contact anyone who has not responded
3 Days Prior to Event:
Arrange or remove furniture; have any rented furniture delivered
Clean house or have service clean (trust me, it’s better to outsource this step!)
Wash serving pieces, platters and flatware; polish silver
2 Days Prior to Event:
Finish grocery shopping and purchase any perishable items
Iron table linens
Stock guest bath with towels, tissue, soap, etc.
1 Day Before Event:
Pick up and arrange flowers
Don’t forget ICE!
Do any last minute grocery shopping
Prepare any food that can be prepped ahead of time.
Place serving pieces on table(s) with note of what should go in that dish
Set up drink station(s)
Day of Event:
(at least 3 hours before guests arrive)
Finish food and heat any hot dishes
Quickly dust, vacuum or sweep as needed; clean guest bathroom
Arrange chairs, tables, etc.
Place trash cans in convenient places around the house
Set out non-perishable foods
1 hour Before Event:
STOP working to get dressed and ready for your guests
15 minutes Before Event:
Set out any perishable food , drinks/ice
Light candles/adjust lighting
Put any pets that are not “party animals” in another part of the house