I’ve got a milestone birthday coming up later in the year and my mind is already racing with ideas! The last party I had was for turning 21, so I’ve decided that 30 deserves celebrating too! I’m thinking that it will be a theme party. I’ve never had one before and I’d love to really get my craft on for it! Honestly, the crafting and making it a fun day for my guests will probably be the best bit!
As I’m in planning mode, I thought I’d start a party prep checklist for all the things I need to organise, and I’m going to share it with you! (With a free printable at the end!)
Planning the Party
There are a few things to decide when you’re planning a party and some are probably pretty obvious, but for the sake of not leaving things out, I’ll include them here:
- Theme (if you’re having one)
Picking this first will help you start to piece everything else together.
- Guest List
Who will be invited and how many people will you need to cater for
- Date, Location & Time
When, where and at what time are you holding this shindig and do you need to book it in advance?
Once you have the above figured out it’s time to think of creating the invitations and getting them in the post. You could create your own from scratch or use a service like Tiny Prints or similar and just enter the information in and get them ready to mail out. Don’t forget to ask about dietary requirements, either on the invite or on a separate note.
Think about what decorations you would like for the party (and what goes with your theme if you have one) and what your budget is. If you’re going to craft up a storm, like me, think about what supplies you need and what can be done early. Also keep an eye out for party supplies that are on sale that match the look you’re going for!
- Write a Menu (include drinks)
Even if you’re having the party catered, think about the menu and what you’ll need early on. Also think about budget and the age of your guests. Decide what you will make yourself and what you will buy – try not to take on too many things that will need to be cooked on the day as that’s super stressful!
If it’s a birthday party there is usually some kind of cake. Decide whether you will order a special one, pick up one from the supermarket or make one yourself! Also make sure there’s enough to go around. Cupcakes can be a great alternative to cake as it’s easier to know how many you’ll need.
- Activities for your Guests
This will depend on the type of party and age of your guests but having some activities for them to participate in is a great way to ensure it’s a fun party! It could be some bubble blowers or entertainment for kids or some craft activities or even a dance floor and some music for people to enjoy. You could even do old school games like pass the parcel or twister if you’re going for a retro feel.
- Party Favours
Then comes the party favours to say “thanks for coming to my party”. You could go traditional with a bag of lollies/candy or you could give them something that matches your theme, like cookies or lip gloss or a tote bag. A friend gave our superhero capes at her son’s superhero party! They were a huge hit!
- Thank You Notes
These come after the party but are great to think about in the planning stages because you can often get a good deal when you order them together with the invites. Even if you’re designing from scratch, thinking about them all at the start is a great way to keep it all together.
The week before
Once you’ve got that all sorted, and it’s the week before the party, it’s time to start putting it all in action. The invites will have been sent and hopefully you’ve received your RSVPs. Here’s what you can do this week:
- Double Check with the Venue and follow up on missing RSVPs
If you’re not having the party at your house, double check with the venue that you’re all booked in and what time you can arrive to set up. Also follow up on any missing RSVPs if you know you have to cater for a certain amount.
- Get Your Decorations Ready
If you haven’t already, collect them all in a box or one central place so they’re easy to find on party day. If they need to be transported, having them in a box will help too! If you’re doing helium balloons, organise this for the day. Buy any you may have forgotten.
- Cutlery, Crockery & Glasses (or paper or plastic versions)
If you need to have cutlery, crockery and glasses or paper or plastic versions, get these ready now. Depending on the party will help you decide what to use.
- Buy the Food for the Party and do any cooking needed
Now is the time to start cooking that menu and checking pick up dates and times for things you have ordered. Do a supermarket shop for any of the things you can pick up from there – don’t forget extra rubbish/trash bags and ice for your cooler/esky if you’re having it at home.
Organise the pick up of the cake or bake it a day or so before and have space in your fridge for it.
- Organise the Activities for your Guests
If you’re doing activities for your guests, get everything you can ready in a box or tub so that it’s ready for party day.
- Pack and Prepare the Party Favours
Get these out of the way and into a box so that they’re ready to go for party day.
- Charge your Camera Battery
For photos of the day.
On the day
It’s party day and it’s time to start celebrating. Here’s what you need to organise:
- Do Party Set Up
Get all the decorations set up and decide what time the cake will come out (and timing for any other food too – if that’s in your control). Also set up an activity or snacks so that people have something to do when they arrive.
- Set up a Gift Table
Decide if there will be a present opening moment or if presents will be opened when they are received. Have somewhere presents can be kept once received.
- Set up the Food Area
Cutlery, Crockery, Glasses, food, drinks, etc.
Set them up and give instructions if necessary and try to also enjoy!
- Breathe & Let the Day Run as it Will
Don’t forget to enjoy the party and try not to rush around organising the whole day
- Cake Time
Have the cake and get someone to take some good photos. Make sure you’re in at least some photos!
- Party Favours
Hand them out as guests are leaving and thank them for coming
- Party Clean Up
Clean up or box up as much as you can after the party is over so that you can relax afterwards
The week after
Once the party is all over there’s just one last thing to do:
- Send Your Thank You Notes
Write and send the thank you notes for those who attended the party
That’s quite the list of things to do for a party, but hopefully having it as a checklist helps take some of the stress out of it. Not all parties need to be super involved, but covering all the bases here allows you to cut where you need to.
Here’s the checklist(s) as a pdf: Download Here
What’s one thing you have on your party prep checklist?