Planning any event is a huge undertaking, whether it is a small get together in your home or a large soiree at a banquet hall. We have put together a basic party planning timeline broken into weeks and days leading up to the event to help you pull off any party like a pro!
6-8 Weeks Before
4-5 Weeks Before
- Choose a party theme or general color scheme to guide your decorating and menu decisions.
- Comprise a guest list to have a general idea of how many people you will be entertaining. This allows you a little bit of time to add or cut down on the list before sending invitations out.
- Set a budget and stick to it, as it is very easy to go over budget when planning any event. It may help to decide how much money you would like to spend on decorations and break down food and tableware supply costs per person to keep yourself on track.
- If you have others helping you throw the party, DELEGATE! This is the best time to divide responsibilities and make sure everyone is on the same page about who is doing what. When all of your bases are covered, you can avoid last-minute panic .
- Decide on and book a location if needed. Many banquet halls and facilities that are available for party rentals are booked well in advance so make sure to do this as soon as possible to give yourself time to choose a backup if necessary. Consider the weather when deciding on an indoor or outdoor event. If you are planning on an outdoor party be sure to have a plan B in case of inclement weather.
- Scout out and book entertainment if applicable.
2-3 Weeks Before
- Finalize your guest list and purchase invitations to allow shipping times to you as well as time for you to fill out or print them.
- Start thinking about table and room dιcor, menu ideas, and commit to a theme or color scheme.
- Purchase invitations and get a head start on filling them out or printing them.
- Mail out invitations if you are throwing a formal event.
1 Week Before
- Mail out your invitations if you are throwing a more casual affair.
- Make sure to have one person keeping track of RSVPs to avoid any confusion.
- Create a rough schedule of activities that will take place at your event. This will help keep things on track. You may need to add or remove some things once you see how much time you actually have.
- Place your orders with local vendors such as the bakery, florist, and rentals like tables, chairs, and tents, if needed.
- Purchase all of your disposable party supplies including tableware and decorations.
- Purchase and begin assembling favors. This is not something that you want to leave until last minute as there may be extra processing time when ordering favors and you want to take care when assembling them. This is the gift you are giving to guests to thank them for coming so they should look like they were chosen and put together with care.
- Create a seating plan and print place cards if applicable.
2-3 Days Before
- Practice your table settings to make sure they are going to look the way you imagined.
- Purchase any additional party supplies you might have forgotten or extras if you didnt plan for enough guests.
- Kindly call guests who havent responded to the RSVP to get a more accurate final count.
- Check in with your caterer to make sure everything is on track for the menu or purchase any non-perishable food you can if cooking yourself.
- Confirm all rental and entertainment arrangements as well as special orders like fresh flowers and the cake or desserts.
- Delegate any last-minute tasks that you dont have time for.
- But any fresh food needed, if you are cooking for the party yourself.
- Unpackage any tableware. Plastic storage bins will come in handy for keeping these items organized and clean. Lay out paper and plastic tablecovers flat to allow creases to relax.
Day of the Party
- Pick up any food items that are not being delivered, as well as flowers, balloons, etc.
- Decorate your event space if possible. The more you can get done before the day of the event the better
- Prepare food and beverages and set up the bar and buffet, if needed.
- Set up outdoor decorations, tables, chairs, and dress the tables.
- Set favors out at each place setting or create a favor display.
- Make sure to give yourself enough time to get ready for the event so guests dont show up and you arent even dressed!
- Have fun!