Write down your guestlist.
Create your spending plan. Be realistic, but leave flexibility for last-minute problems or ideas.
If you want to have a theme birthday, choose it now. It'll impact the decorations, invitations and the cake.
If you need to rent anything that you don't own, go to your party store and make the reservations now.
Write down a tentative menu, and include beverages.
From the menu, write a grocery shopping list for the weeks to come. You can buy any non-perishables at this point.
Choose the games and activities for the guests. If children are involved, make two sets of activities: one for the kids and one for the adults.
Write down and send your invitations. Mailing invitations is very formal; nowadays an email is often sufficient. You can even use Facebook and other social networks to manage your guestlist, but don't neglect those who are not on these websites.
Look up local entertainers if you plan on hiring one for a few hours. Internet business databases are good for reviews of such services. Book one that has a good reputation.
If you plan on giving party favors, order or put them together now. You can involve your children in this activity by turning it into a crafts afternoon.
If any of the games require buying boards and items, go to the toy store.
If you want balloons to your party, go to your party supplies store and place your order.
If you need assistance with the decoration and the cooking, ask some of your guests to help. Many will be more than happy to participate.
Make an inventory of the party supplies you do own and put them together at the same place. Make of list of anything missing and buy what you need.
Confirm your reservation with the rental store.
If you plan on having a pinata party, go buy the pinata and the candy to fill it.
Do the heavy cleaning: floors, windows, carpets, upholstery.
Go to your bakery and order the cake. If you are making it yourself, bake it and freeze it, without frosting.
Go to your florist and order the flowers.
If you didn't do so earlier, go to your grocery store for non-perishable food items, and anything that can be kept in the freezer.
Make a schedule for the activities. Be prepared to be flexible as some games might be more popular than others.
Call or email anyone who has not responded to your invitation yet.
Buy or recharge the batteries for the photo and video cameras. Make sure you have extra.
Dust your tables and counters, and remove clutter from the party area.
Make space in your fridge for all the food you will cook or receive from your guests.
Call your entertainer and confirm time and price.
If having music, build your playlist or choose the CDs.
Fill the pinata and put it in a safe place.
Defrost anything frozen in the fridge. It will keep until the next day. Don't forget the cake.
Clean your bathroom and anywhere else your guests will go if you haven't already.
Buy emergency supplies like bandages and peroxide. You never know when a scratch needs disinfecting.
Decorate the area where the party will be held.
Make sure you make the party area secure for children. Check the floor and other small spaces for potentially dangerous objects.
Take out the games and put them in a corner of the party area.
Gather the party favors and set them in the party area.
Prepare anything that will keep in the fridge overnight.
Pick up your cake, flower and balloon orders if they are not delivered.
Put the frosting and decorations on the cake, and keep it in the fridge.
Decorate any other space left.
Set the games up, ready for playing.
Gather your plates, utensils and glasses.
Take our your cameras and have them ready to use.
Prepare any food that needs to be fresh such as salads, veggie platters, etc.
Confirm that you have enough bathroom supplies for the amount of guests. Make sure you have extra, just in case.
As your guests arrive, smile and have fun!
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