3 to 4 weeks ahead of your event:
- Pick a theme and decide if you want a formal or casual event
- Pick a date and time
- Decide how long the party will be - most parties are 2-4 hours
- Make your guest list
Purchase your supplies:
- Paper Goods
- Serving Platters or Trays
- Party Favors
- Prizes for Games
2 to 3 weeks ahead of your event:
Plan and prepare your menu
Parties planned around meal time should include food and not just cake and ice cream.
Parties that are not planned during meal time can be cake, ice cream and beverages only.
Decide if you want finger foods, buffet or sit down type meal
Do you want to prepare the food or have it catered?
If it is sit down, do you want to hire servers?
Party rental companies have many different items to choose from to help with your party. Like... tables, chairs, food warming units, etc.
Remember that many foods can be made ahead of time and heated the day of the party
Plan your activities
Pick age appropriate games
Remember that children under 3 have a smaller attention span. They don't always like to share or wait their turn and would be happy just sitting around playing with their friends and toys.
Adults don't always want to play games. So only plan one or two.
Plan on a few extra activities in case everyone wants to play more. Better to have too many than too little.
Send your invitations and be sure to put RSVP information and a date they should reply by. Not all invitations weigh the same so you should be sure you have enough postage on them.
Make arrangements for help --- like caterers, servers, teenagers to help with kids parties, etc.
1 week ahead of your event:
Get a final count on the guests
Prepare a final list of the menu items, games, prizes and paper goods and ensure that you have enough for each guest plus extra. Purchase food items that don't need to be prepared or can be prepared and frozen until the event
Check with and confirm all orders for food items ordered for the event
Find the camera or video camera and be sure to have enough film, extra batteries or charge your camera batteries.
Some foods can be prepared now and will hold nicely until the party
If you are having balloons filled with helium be sure to order them or rent the helium tank.
Be sure to have extra batteries of all sizes in case the birthday person gets something that needs batteries and they were not included. Nothing worse than having something to play with and no batteries.
The day before your event:
Decorate... it will make the day of the party less stressful. If your party is outdoors then you should wait for the day of the party to decorate.
If your party is early in the day than you can probably pick up the filled balloons - check with the people doing them and they will let you know. Ask for high float in your balloons - it helps them last and fly higher.
Be sure to defrost items made ahead and frozen.
Make sure you will have enough ice for the drinks if desired.
RELAX... your almost there!
Have a cup of coffee or tea then go over your lists one final time.
Prepare the rest of the food and beverages.
Prepare the activities and the prizes.
Decide what to wear and lay it out.
Small children will need a nap before the party
10-15 min. before guests arrive - set all food and beverages out
Be sure to take time out for yourself to rest and relax before the event
Don't forget the camera...
It's time... ENJOY your party!
Party planning that is planned ahead 3-4 weeks in advance will help you tremendously! Less headaches and more fun at the party will result from all your party planning efforts!