Casual House Party Checklist

A few weeks before

  • Choose a suitable date. Weekends are usually good, especially with adults who work full-time.
  • Build your guest list. Decide if guests are allowed to bring friends.
  • Send your invitations, and plan at least a month ahead for major holidays.
  • Write down a preliminary budget. Consider financial participation from guests.
  • Take an inventory of your party supplies.
  • Reserve any rental supplies you may need on the day of the party.
  • Plan your menu and write your shopping list.
  • If you are not cooking certain food items, order them now.
  • If having a potluck party, assign the dishes along with the invitations.
  • Start building your music playlist, and plan some movies to keep kids busy in the evening.

A week before:

  • Confirm attendance with the people on your guest list.
  • Plan your decoration and go to the store to buy any decorating supplies.
  • If kids are coming, plan activities specifically for them.
  • If having the party at your house, start the heavy cleaning.
  • Go buy the beverages and other non-perishable items.
  • Make space in your fridge for the food you will cook during the week.

A few days before:

  • Clean up what is left; do the dusting and clean your counters. Put the clutter of your house away.
  • Buy perishables and prepare the food that can be done in advance and kept in the fridge or freezer.
  • Make sure the batteries of the cameras are charged. You wouldn't want to miss a great moment because of a dead battery!

Day of the party:

  • If children are coming, child-proof dangerous areas.
  • Prepare the food that needs to be fresh, and buy produce for salads and desserts.
  • Decorate your table and your house.
  • Take out the extra chairs for your guests.
  • Take out the beverages for the bar. Don't forget to get ice!
  • Take out the snack bowls and platters and set them on the table.
  • Set aside space for coats and boots if your party is in the winter.

Do you want to throw a casual party for friends or family, and you’re not sure where to start? This checklist is for you! We have built it around the idea of a casual house party meant to celebrate a birthday, a promotion, or any important event in your life. It can also be used for a simple get-together among friends. We have thought it was important to include the possibility for children, although this is not specifically a checklist for a child’s birthday party. This kind of party can be put together two or three weeks in advance, but do leave more time for invitations if you plan on having it on a major holiday. We built this checklist to be as useful as possible to help you focus on the things you need to do, not on wondering what you have to do. Follow these steps and you will have a great time at your party!

Tips

The real work begins about a week before your party, when you need to start shopping for food, service and decoration items. You may even need to get rental items, so time yourself accordingly. If you are having a potluck, you need to assign dishes, or at least a course, at least two weeks beforehand so that your guests have time to plan their food shopping. If you are cooking yourself, don’t skimp on ingredient quality: simple dishes prepared with the best and freshest ingredients will impress more than a complicated menu cooked with mediocre food. Think about some entertainment or games for the children, as well as for the adults if the conversation becomes sparse. It is a time for bonding and fun, and games can be a great tool to support both.