Party Planning Checklist: 5 Crucial Ingredients for the Ultimate Shindig

Planning a kick-ass party isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a log of things to check off on your party planning checklist, and if you’re not organised, you’re bound to forget a few things. And, the difference between an epic party and an epic flog isn’t as far as you might think.

Never, ever forget the fundamentals when planning your event or party. With that in mind, we’ve put together a simple party planning checklist for you to help you make sure you don’t forget these basic party planning musts when you’re party planning.

Here are 5 crucial ingredients to make sure are in your party planning checklist:

1. Make Your Guest List (ASAP)

Though this step seems almost too obvious, deciding to forego a guest list (or outright forgetting to make one) will cause you problems down the road.

Your anticipated guest count will determine your food and drink beverage and will help you determine how much seating you’ll need at your party. And, by making a guest list, you’ll know the maximum amount of people that will come.

As a general rule of thumb, party planning experts say that between 15-20 per cent of invited guests RSVP no.

2. Don’t Skip out on Sending Invitations (6-8 Weeks Out)

Similar to the previous item on our party planning checklist, sending out invitations seems so common sense, but it’s a very important step.

By sending out invitations, you’re announcing your party, its start time and date, theme and location. This gives your guests all the information they need (so they won’t be texting you every two seconds with questions) and gives you the groundwork you need to find out how many people are actually coming.

Try to send the invites out six to eight weeks before the party, with the RSVP date being two weeks before the party so you have enough time to make any adjustments if need be.

3. Budget, Baby

Parties cost money, and to make sure you’re able to get all the food, drinks and favours you need without breaking your bank, you need to set a budget.

You’d be surprised how quickly costs add up—a dinner party for 20 people can easily reach up to $500 after you factor in the cost of the appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks. If you’re looking to keep costs down, consider making your event where guests contribute a dish or shop in bulk.

4. Meal Plan (ASAP Initially, Adjustments 2 Weeks Out)

When you budget, you’re also simultaneously menu planning. How much fun would you have at a party that runs out of drinks and food after 30 minutes? Probably not that much fun. Your initial food planning should take place after you do your guest list to make sure you plan for the maximum amount of guests you may have. After you get RSVPs back, you can do your shopping.

If you’re ordering food, get quotes from caterers with your maximum guest list right away so you have time to shop around. Most caterers require as much notice as possible, but they will want your final numbers about 1-2 weeks out (falling right in line with your RSVPs coming back).

5. Shop Early

As a general rule of thumb, do not wait until the day before your party to do any shopping. You will end up blowing your budget and stressing if you wait until the bitter end to hit the stores. Plan to go about one to two weeks before your event so you have more than enough time to make sure you get everything you need to and allow enough time for last-minute runs to buy forgotten items (like ice).

This is especially true if you’re throwing a holiday party, which increases the likelihood that party supplies will be sold out. Above all, shop early!

Checking off Your Party Planning Checklist Is Sort of Like a Party in Itself, Yeah?

Party planning is stressful, but totally worth it when you see your guests living it up. While we can’t completely take your stress away, this brief party planning checklist, which covers the ultimate party planning essentials, helps make sure none of the big things falls through the cracks.

Want help planning a party? Browse Event Planners, Organisers and Decorators in your area now.