Planning an event can be incredibly stressfull. Make it easier on yourself with careful planning and preparation. Using a checklist will enable you to determine what can be done well in advance of the big day, leaving you prepared and relaxed when your guests arrive.
One Month Before:
• Choose your theme if you're having one.
• Decide on a Budget.
• Create a Guest List.
• Purchase, Order or Design your own Invitations. If you’re throwing a theme party, make sure your invitations match your theme. Be sure to include an RSVP date.
• Confirm guest list and, send out your invitations.
• Plan your Menu. Decide whether you want to have a sit-down dinner, a buffet, hors d’oeuvres or snack foods and whether you’ll make the food yourself, or bring in a caterer. If you are preparing the food yourself, choose at least some items that can be prepared ahead of time. Foods that can be kept warm in a crock pot are also a great idea.
• Create 2 detailed shopping lists. 1 shopping list should include all the non perishable and frozen items, plus the decorations which can be purchased in the weeks leading up to the party. The second list will contain all your perishable items which will be purchased 1-2 days before the party.
Three Weeks to Party
• Book Entertainment, Catering and Party Rentals if required.
• Check out your selection of tableware, cutlery, linens, tables and chairs. If you need more than you have, find a local party rental company.
• Start Non-Perishable Shopping using your 1st list. This is where being organized will really pay off…no last minute trips to the store (remember to stock up on toilet paper)! I also find it easier on the pocketbook as you can spread out the costs.
Two Weeks to Party
• Start Cleaning. If you're having the party at home now would be a great time to organize your front hall closet, find empty hangers for guests’ coats and do a thorough clean of the rooms you will be using for the party. I always like to give my bathroom a full top to bottom clean, including walls, baseboards, doors, behind the toilet and inside the cabinet. It is also a nice idea to have a small basket in the bathroom with items your guests may need, such as hairspray, spray deodorant, feminine hygiene products and dental floss.
• Place Special Orders such as floral arrangements, specialty foods, cake. Do not wait until the last minute or you will pay a premium, or worse yet, not be able to find a vendor.
One Week to Party
• The right music will help determine the mood and tone of your party. Take some time this week and create a playlist for your mp3 player, or make some CD’s. Remember it’s all about planning and you don’t want to be doing this the day before the party!
• Check RSVPs and finalize your guest list.
• Ask for help. Having help will take some of the stress off you.
• Firm up all final details with any vendors you may have hired. Discuss payment terms and confirm delivery times.
• Grocery and Last Minute. Even if you’re having the event catered, it’s always better to have some essentials such as milk, eggs, butter, bread and snacks available just in case.
• Take one day this week to clean your house from top to bottom. If you did your cleaning last week, your bathroom and front hall should just need a quick once over.
Day before the Party
• Final Cleaning. Dust, sweep, and clean the faucets in the bathroom. Make room in your refrigerator and freezer and clear out any unneeded items from your kitchen.
• Try to get as much of the decorating done as you can. The more you do today the less you’ll have to worry about tomorrow.
• Pre-Party Food prep. Prepare as many dishes as you can today. Make any sauces ahead of time, chop veggies, parboil your meat (if applicable.) Place all your beverages in the fridge so they are nice and cold when your guests arrive.
• Delivery Schedule Should be On Hand. Have a list of delivery times so you can be ready for any rings at your doorbell.
• Organize Chairs and Tables and set the table
• Get cooking! Have your list of all the items being served close by and prepare them in order of what doesn’t need to be served hot to food that does.
• Serving Dishes and Snacks Ready. To lay our as guests begin arriving
• Ensure all guests have a planned way home. Know the designated drivers and make sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks on hand.
• Have fun and relax. You’ve done everything you needed to do. Now have a drink and enjoy your party!