Party Planning Checklist - Stay Organized

Nicole SteegerContributor

Planning an event doesn't have to be stressful - in fact it can actually be fun if you just stay organized! The more prep work you do in the beginning means the more free time you will have later to enjoy the fabulous event you have put together. To help you keep organized, we have designed a event planning checklist to guide you through from beginning to end. 

Take a look:

Getting Started:

  • Determine how formal/casual you want the event to be.
  • Select a theme for your event (if applicable).
  • Pick a date and time for your event.
  • Figure out how many guests you will invite.
  • Decide where you will be hosting the event.  Will it be held at your home or a local venue?
  • If you are using an outside venue, select your location and pay any deposits needed.
  • Decide if you will be mailing out invitations or sending them electronically. Choose when you would like guests to RSVP.

  Budget the Bucks:

  • Space/Venue Rental
  • Entertainment
  • Party Vendors and Rentals
  • Equipment rentals
  • Decorations and party supplies
  • Invitations and postage (or  save the money and send invites electronically)
  • Food and beverages
  • Any other miscellaneous expenditures

  Event Details:

  • Consider what kind of food you want to serve.  Will you be offering a full meal or just appetizers and snacks?
  • Determine if you want to have the event catered.
  • Decide if you will be serving alcoholic beverages and if you will need to hire a bartender.
  • Determine what kind of entertainment you will have at the party?  Would you like a band, DJ, variety entertainer or another form of entertainment?
  • Depending on your party occasion and venue, you should decide if you will need any large party rentals such as a tent or party limo.
  • Make a shopping list for party décor and paper goods (plates, napkins, etc).

  Getting Closer:

  • Put together your guest list and order/design invitations.
  • Send out your invites.
  • Establish contracts with any service providers (entertainment, caterers, equipment/party rentals, etc.)
  • Finalize food and beverage menu.
  • Decide on the desired style of music for the event and communicate song selection and event timeline with the DJ or band.
  • Purchase all decorations, supplies and paper goods.
  • Finalize the event layout and decorations.

  Down To The Wire:

  • Confirm all service providers working the event and provide them with an event timeline as needed.
  • Reference your entertainment checklist to make sure you have all items covered.
  • Reach out to friends if you need extra help with the set-up.
  • Purchase any food/beverage items needed for the event.

  It's Finally Here:

  • Shop for any last minute beverages, food or supplies.
  • Organize all supplies and decorations.
  • Clean, clean, clean your home (if that's event headquarters).
  • Check in with the venue to make sure all final preparations have been made.
  • Check in with party service providers regarding sequence of events and any other details.
  • Finalize and put up all decorations.
  • Guide any friends that are giving you a helping hand.
  • Take a deep breath, have fun and enjoy your hard work!