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  • Two to three weeks in advance:
    • Time Decide on the day, and the time of the day. People usually have parties on weekends, but don’t feel restrained if your guests are available during the week.
    • Guests Write down your guest list and give "plus ones" if necessary.
    • Invitations Invite your guests by phone, email or even Facebook. Facebook has become a very useful tool in party-planning, but don’t neglect your friends who are not on the site.
    • Budget Make a budget and stick to it. If you will require help from your guests, let them know how much. Consider a "bring your own beverage" party to save on alcohol.
    • Inventory Look through your house for party supplies. Write down anything you are missing.
    • Rental Go to your rental store and reserve anything you might need at least ten days ahead, if not more.
    • Menu Plan the food, whether you are cooking or having a potluck.
    • Potluck notices After planning your menu, assign dishes (or at least a course) to your guests.
    • Entertainment Choose the music you will play, if any, and think about ways to keep the children busy and safe without much adult supervision.
  • One week in advance:
    • Guests Confirm your guests’ attendance, but leave flexibility for last-minute arrangements.
    • Decoration If you decide to decorate your house, choose how and buy the supplies in the store.
    • Cleaning Start doing the bigger cleaning, such as floors and windows.
    • Food You can buy the beverages and non-perishables at this point.
    • Fridge Clean up your refrigerator and make space for all the food you’ll buy and prepare during the following days.
  • A few days in advance:
    • Cleaning Do lighter cleaning like dusting and counters. Take clutter away.
    • Food Go shopping for the perishables and cook the dishes that can be preserved in the fridge or in the freezer.
    • Cameras Make sure your photo and video cameras are charged and ready to be used.
  • The day of your party:
    • Children If children are attending, make sure you remove anything dangerous to them.
    • Food Buy the produce for the salads and other fresh meals, and prepare the dishes that are left.
    • Decoration Set up your table and use any decoration you bought.
    • Seating Make sure you have enough seating for everyone. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring their folding chairs if necessary.
    • Bar Buy ice from the store and set up your bar.
    • Snacks Have the snack bowls ready before the first guests arrive.
    • Space If your party is in the winter, prepare space for the influx of boots and coats.
    • Take a few minutes to get dressed and refresh yourself, and welcome your first guests. Since you planned so well, you’ll have a great time!

Planning a casual party might seem an easy and natural thing, but oftetimes it requires more work than we thought. If you don’t know exactly what to do to plan a fun party, this checklist will help you. This checklist is quite general, and can be used for all kinds of casual parties: a promotion, a birthday or any other kind of important time in a person’s or a family’s life. You can also throw a party just for fun! Children might or might not be involved in your party, but we have thought of that possibility and included some directions concerning children in this checklist, but it is not meant to plan a child’s party. You won’t need more than two or three weeks to organize your party, but if it falls on a major holiday, give it a little more time, as people are very quick to plan activities for these days. We have written this down for you so that the tasks are all already laid out for you. We certainly hope that it will be useful for planning a fun time with your friends and family.

Tips

You will do most of the work during the week preceding the date of your party, because this is when all the food is prepared and the cleaning is done. But you can still prepare some other things more in advance, and you will certainly appreciate the time you will save if you start planning early. If you need to rent any items, reserve them at least 10 days in advance. To save time on food preparing, you might want to throw a potluck party. In this case, what you do need to plan is who brings what kind of dishes; you wouldn’t want to be stuck with five chocolate cakes and no apetizers. Let your guests know at least two weeks in advance so they can plan their groceries. If you chose to cook yourself for everyone, don’t buy the food more than a few days in advance, as you will want to use the freshest ingredients possible. If you have access to a farmer’s market, splurge and go buy your produce there. It will make a difference in the quality of the dish. Think about ways to keep the children occupied, as well as games for the adults in case the party starts to crash. Adult games are a good way to rekindle a boring party and can help with bonding. It will sure help with having fun!

Party Planning Checklist
  Kimberly French


on December 28, 2011

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