Planning a party but don’t know where to start? Take the guesswork out of your planning with our easy-to-follow party planning checklist. Our venue experts have set out the essential steps to help you host a memorable event without breaking a sweat. Leave the stress behind with our comprehensive party planning checklist and get the party started!
Ultimate Party Planning Checklist:
A month before, or even more:
Keep a date in mind, but don’t narrow yourself down to just one day. Be flexible and check whether the most important guests are available for your chosen date. If you have a favourite place where you want to organise your event, it’s also good to check with the venue beforehand to see if they are available for hire on your selected day.
Decide what type of party you’d like to host and book/decorate your venue accordingly.
Begin deciding whom you would like to invite, bearing in mind that expected turnout is usually around the 70-80% mark.
Be realistic and concentrate on where you’d like to splurge and save.
Choose whether you’d like to host your party at a specific venue or at home. Bear in mind the number of guests you plan to invite and the activities you will organise. Hosting at home can save you a lot of money, but hiring a venue can also make your life easier and alleviate the pressure. Our free to use venue finder at Tagvenue.com can help you choose from a wide range of different venues.
DJs, bands and photo booths are all popular options – just be sure to let the venue manager know what you’re planning in advance.
Consider everyone’s needs. Do your guests have allergies or special dietary requirements? If you’re taking charge of the cooking, devise a menu that’s easy to prepare and will also accommodate all your guests. If you’re using external caterers, be sure to let them know all the important details before they begin proposing a menu.
Your invitations should include the date and time, dress code, and party theme. In addition to paper invitations, you could also create a special event page on social media, such as Facebook. This will inspire your guests even more and help create a buzz around your party, while hopefully maximising your turnout.
If you’ve hired a venue, find out who your go-to staff at the venue will be. If you’re organising from home, try and enlist a few friends to lend a hand on the day.
Three weeks before:
Research Pinterest, blogs and magazines for decoration and party ideas that tie in with your theme.
Try and come up with a rough schedule for your party. As well as checking if you have enough activities for your event, it will also give you a general outline on how the party should progress.
Having placed your big orders, now’s the time to focus on the little things. A cake, DIY decorations, and party favours are all popular at parties.
This is well worth considering if you’re having more than 50 guests. Be sure to seat people evenly between those they know and those they don’t know, to try and encourage mixing. Check out our blog post on seating arrangements for more ideas!
A week before:
Call or email guests who have not yet responded to your invitation.
Making your own decorations or finalising your party plan? Inviting your helper friends over can make for a fun pre-party!
Music will set the tone for the rest of your party. Aim to get the floor filled early, but don’t waste all your biggest tracks at the beginning! Build the atmosphere while keeping things upbeat.
Check that you have ordered everything you need and that it will arrive before the big day.
If you’re hosting a party at home, check-in with the neighbours to let them know there will be a party taking place. Communicate with them to see if they have any specific boundaries or desires, or allow them to make plans to go out themselves. Of course, you can always invite them to the party as well!
The day before:
Collect your orders and make sure all is ready for the big day.
Forgotten something, or realised you need some extra items at the last moment? Now’s your chance to buy them!
Imagine not being able to capture the best moments of your party! Fully charging your camera the day before will make sure this won’t happen.
Party planning is a long process and some things can naturally be missed along the way. Double-check your list and complete any small tasks that might be left over.
On the day:
If you’re in touch with your guests on social media, it might be nice to message them on the morning of the party with some last-minute hints, e.g. weather updates. Also, remind them about the details of your party and try and create some excitement by giving some teasers and encouraging them to bring their best attitude.
It’s time to let your inner interior designer go wild! Place flower arrangements and set up the lighting, tables, serving areas and dance floor. Remember not to inflate balloons until 1–2 hours before your event!
Double-check that your playlist is queued and conduct sound checks to avoid any awkward early silences.
Remember you’re here to party as well! Welcome your guests with a smile and enthusiasm to set the tone for the rest of the night.
Try and connect guests that haven’t met before by introducing them through interests they have in common. If you do this early on it will create a relaxed atmosphere where everyone feels like they know everyone else.
So long as you’re organised before, there shouldn’t be many issues that arise during the party, so try to relax and enjoy it yourself. If your guests see that you’re overwhelmed, this can rub off on them and dull the atmosphere. If you can afford it, it’s always possible to leave it to the professionals and hire a party promoter as well. Just remember that your main priority is for you and your guests to be happy and enjoy the night!
After the party:
Be sure to thank your venue, helpers and guests. If you want to use thank you notes, order them at the same time as your invites to save on shipping costs.
Either with a hired crew or with your team of helpers, make sure all the equipment and decorations are taken down and you leave the venue as you found it.
Go through any photos and videos you took during the party and send them to your guests as a memory.
Bonus tips and tricks:
Each party is different. Use this checklist as a guide and include any extras you may need to consider for your own party.
Expect each guest to have about 1–2 drinks in the first hour, and 1 for each hour after that. This drinks calculator can give you a clearer idea on the amount of booze you should have per guest.
Booking a fun venue, like a bowling alley or a karaoke bar, will simplify your event planning.
Hiring a venue? How about making a venue hire checklist too?
We’ve already touched on the fact that you may be hiring a venue that could operate with more rules than if you were hosting it yourself. In this case, it’s a good idea to come up with a checklist of things to verify with your venue before you go ahead with your event. Here are a few initial ideas:
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