Whether you hire a party planner or just plan on doing things yourself, here is a little cheat sheet yours truly has put together for your next soiree to make party planning easier!
Party Planning 2 Months Ahead:
- Make your list of invitees and start getting their addresses. No one’s list is ever perfect.
- Determine your theme.
- Call a caterer or party planner or start planning out the following:
- Menu: Will the party be sit down or stations, lunch, dinner or somewhere in between?
- Bar Menu: What will you serve? Beer, wine, soft drinks, and bottled water? Mixed drinks? House drinks? Don’t forget the ice and garnish!
- Rentals: Do you have enough seating, flatware, glassware, etc?
- Staff: Who is serving the food, booze, taking coats, setting up and cleaning up?
- Décor: Who’s doing it? You, the planner, or the florist?
- Entertainment: Are you hiring a DJ, having a band perform, or just streaming Pandora?
- Photographer: If you’re not hiring a professional, make sure one of your friends is a RELIABLE photo enthusiastic and has been assigned the job.
- Invites: Get your wording down and order your stamps online.
Party Planning 1 Month Ahead:
- Mail the invites. They should absolutely arrive on people’s doorsteps 3+ weeks prior to the party. For holiday events, go 4+ weeks, for weddings, go 6+.
- Finalize your menu.
- Reconfirm everyone: If you’re using a party planner, have you gotten your final proposal, signed off, and mailed in the deposit? If not, make sure your helpers are still helping.
- Book the handyman. A party is a great excuse to fix all of those annoying things around the house like chipped paint, pictures that need to be hung, etc.
Party Planning 1 Week Ahead:
- Tally up your RSVPs and adjust your food, beverages, staff and rentals accordingly.
- Start grouping things: platters you want to use, special bev naps you’ve been saving.
Day Of The Party:
- Have the housekeeper do a once over and tidy up the powder rooms.
- Place flowers and décor
- Pretend that the party starts an hour before it does so you’re more relaxed: Get the music going, make sure the bar is set (wine chilled, house drinks not too lethal), handle final primping and then sit down, have a cocktail, and relax! The fun is just getting started!