When deciding what to do before a party, a written plan is worth the effort. You can prepare for a party by making a list of what you need to do, when you need to do it and how you plan to get it done. It’s a checklist that can keep your party on schedule, within budget and on track to being lots of fun for party goers.
To prepare for a party, you need a checklist. The following provides just such a list, based on years of experience in working with individuals, companies, schools, churches and fundraising organizations.
Three months Before Party
The Reason For the Party: Don’t skip this step before a party, even if it seems obvious. You want to write down answers to the following questions. They will serve as guidelines throughout the party planning process. Some people advise you to do this a few weeks before the party, but we say the earlier you can answer these questions, the better.
- What’s the reason for the party?
- Who needs to be on the guest list?
- What type of party is it?
- What is the party theme?
Two Months Before Party
Party date: This is why you must know your guestlist. Plan the party date at a time that is convenient for most of the people invited. Watch out for conflicting holidays or special events (like Super Bowl Sunday – unless you are throwing a Super Bowl party, of course!).
Party location: Choosing a location before a party depends on the type of party you want to throw and the number of people you plan to invite. Make sure the location fits the theme and that everyone has plenty of room. Weather is also a determining factor. If you decide to pick an outdoor spot, you might want to have an indoor place ready as a Plan B. Budget is another factor. Public parks and church halls will be less expensive than entertainment venues and clubs.
One Month Before Party
Send out invites: Solidify the guest list and then invite them far enough ahead so they can make arrangements to be there.
Decorations and music: Start getting what you need to decorate and provide music that fits your party theme.
Entertainment: What sort of entertainment will you need at your party? Now is the time to decide. For bigger parties, you’ll want to make sure you have inflatables and games that make the party more fun and memorable.
Plan the menu: Now is the time to cast the food list into stone so you can start making plans for buying what you need before the party.
Get your team together: You can’t plan a big party on your own. At this point, you should have a handful of people that you can start assigning different responsibilities. If you rent entertainment from a rental company, you also can consult with them on making the best choices.
Two Weeks Before Party
Set up the playlist: Now is the time to create the party playlist from the music you choose earlier.
Do shopping: You don’t have to get everything this early, but it’s a wise move to start buying the food you will need in advance.
Clean the dishes: If it’s a small get-together at your house, now’s the time to clean the china or any other dishware you plan to use. Or go and buy plastic plates, cups and utensils.
In The Days Before The Party
Clean: Make sure everything is clean in any areas where people will go.
Food: Finish all the cooking or make sure that the food delivery is timed to arrive enough in advance to get everything set up.
Double check everything: For example, make sure you have checked the following to ensure it’s ready to roll.
- Equipment you need like tents, chairs and tables
- The music
- The lighting
- The car parking arrangements
- Your stock of cleaning supplies
- All the platters, plates, cups and serving pieces you need.
- Extra toilet paper
- Extra paper towels
- Special beverages (wine, beer, etc.)
- Party favor bags
- A charged smartphone (to take photos)
Planning is everything with parties. If you take the steps above to prepare for a party, you will go a long way toward having a successful party. Of course, you will also need to have a crew to clean up afterward, as well as the supplies to do that cleaning. But worry about that one after it’s over.