For family events and get-togethers with friends, planning a party the old way (that is, without hiring a party or event planner) is quite doable. However, before committing to the task, you need to consider your schedule as you don’t want to be unduly stressed with party planning.
To help you keep things organised, here’s a schedule-based free party planning checklist that’ll ensure you stay on top of your most important tasks in the lead up to your special occasion.
Three Weeks to a Couple of Months Before the Event
A couple of weeks prior to the event – whether you’re planning a 21st birthday party or baby shower – go over the following to ensure your event goes off without a hitch:
Create a list of invitees
When creating a guest list, invite 20% more people than your venue can accommodate. Not everyone will RSVP or turn up, and usually, only 70 to 80% will attend the party.
Choose a venue
Once you’ve identified who you want to invite, you can start searching for the perfect venue. Don’t be afraid to be bold and unique when choosing your event space.
Choose a party theme
This step is optional, but a party theme could help make the event more interesting and fun. When you pick a theme, all the décor, music, food presentation, and perhaps even the guest attire would be based on it.
Send out the party invitations
You can send invitations by mail, phone, email or even social media apps. Make sure you send them out well in advance.
Plan the event menu
Make a list of party food recipes that can be prepared in advance, frozen (like sauces), or just need to be warmed or assembled on party day. Note down how early they can be made and create a corresponding shopping list. If you need to order any ingredients in advance, do so now. If you’re planning on organising a larger or more extravagant birthday cake, ensure your order is placed in the weeks leading up to it.
This is completely optional and only applies if you plan to hire a venue or have a caterer take care of the food and drinks. A caterer is a great idea for larger events, where you’re a little unsure of how much food you can prepare yourself. If you plan to hire a Kombi Keg mobile bar or need to hire kegs, this would be a good time to make contact as well.
Assemble your crew
Do you need wait staff or people to help you with pre-party prepping or post-party clean-up? Use this time to recruit part-timers or professional help to ensure you have a party crew ready.
Two Weeks Before the Event
After taking care of the initial planning steps, it’s time to go over the finer details of your event.
Prepare the dinnerware and linen you’ll be using
If you’re planning a sit down food menu, gather up your family silver, china, crystal and linen and get these out of storage and into your dining room. Clean these and get them sparkling for the event. If you need to hire any party supplies such as glassware or small plates, do so now.
Put together your party playlist
What’s a party without some music to set the mood and break the ice? If you’re planning a 21st birthday party, the music should be upbeat and fun. Whilst sit down dinners in your dining room might have a more subtle tune. Whatever type of party you are planning, pick out music that’s relevant to the theme or event you’re celebrating.
Shop for non-perishables
You can start buying party décor such as string lights and balloons, table napkins, disposable cups (where appropriate), sugar syrup for making cocktails, wines, beers, sodas, canned sauces, dry pasta and any other items you can keep in storage till the event.
Remind guests to RSVP
Ideally, you would already know how many guests intend to party with you. If some invitees haven’t replied, remind them that they need to respond within this timeframe.
One Week Before the Event
With just a few days to go, it’s time to take care of other important details.
Get the venue ready
Whether you’re holding a party at home or in your backyard, get it clean and ready. If you’re holding an outdoor event, it’s a good idea to have some backup shelter in case the weather changes.
Create a floor plan
Make a simple diagram of the seating arrangement for confirmed attendees. Ensure there’s enough space for the unhampered movement of guests and party crew. Designate sections for your mobile bar, coffee, water, and dessert carts. If you’re going for venue hire, share the floor plan with the venue coordinator.
Conduct a cookware and serving plate inventory
Prepping and cooking everything at home means also making sure you have the needed cookware and serving dishes. If possible, use labels to designate which dish goes with what plate. This won’t leave room for guesswork later.
Three Days Before the Event
Just three days to go, so get the following tasks covered:
Inform your neighbours
Aside from observing local noise regulations, it would be best to let your neighbours know you’re having a party, especially if you’re expecting a lot of guests and you expect your party to go on into the later hours of the evening.
Finish grocery shopping
Buy everything you need to prepare and cook the recipes you picked for the party. Prepare what you can in advance.
One Day Before the Event
Tomorrow’s the big day! Make sure you’ve got the following ready to go:
Decorate the venue
It’s time to bring out the party decorations! Arrange the centrepieces or flowers, candles, lights, tables and chairs, stage, and so on. It’s also time to set up the photo booth, dance floor, buffet station, bar, etc.
Finish food preparation
Purchase any remaining ingredients you require for recipes to be cooked ready. Try to get as much cooking as you need done the day before.
Give your home a once-over
Keep breakables stored away and valuables under lock and key. Empty your medicine cabinet and lock rooms that will not be used for the party.
It’s time to get the party started, so…
Get all the cooking done
Or at least, only quick-cooking or easy-to-prepare items should be the only items left pending.
Set out the food
About an hour or two before guests start to arrive, get the appetisers and snacks ready but covered with cling wrap to ensure freshness. The main dishes should be placed in food warmers before people are invited to start lining up for the buffet.
With everything covered, you’re officially done planning a party.
Time to mingle and have fun!
Planning a party? Chat to Kombi Keg
Let our expert party planners turn your celebration into a memorable event! With over 50+ locations across the globe, we’re sure to be able to help you out with whatever needs or wants that come up. We service all types of events from brand activations and corporate events to weddings and hens nights. Get in contact today to find out more!