Want to get your party planning into full swing? We’ve put together this checklist to get you started.
At least one month before
Confirm your date and time.
Set your budget.
Decide on a theme, if you want one.
Start on an invitation list. Remember, as a general rule, only 70 to 80% of invitees attend.
Send invitations. Mail, email, even phone invitates are all acceptable. You may want to check out e-vite to manage RSVP’s online.
Think about your venue. Is your home too small? Do you need extra shelter, or seating? Would a small hall be more appropriate?
Plan the menu, or start speaking to caterers. See our list of caterers
if you are after some recommendations.
Start thinking about drinks. If you are unsure on how much to buy, check out http://www.evite.com/pages/party/drink-calculator.jsp to help you. You may want to keep an eye out for good prices now and start stocking up. One source suggests 3 bottles of wine for every 4 people and 3 – 4 cocktails for a 2 – 3 hour cocktail party.
Line up any help you may need. Consider hiring someone to help you with the set up and cleaning up, passing of food and filling up drinks.
If you are looking at hiring a marquee, you may wish to start talking to us and looking at getting a site inspection booking in. If you are not holding your event at home, you should be booking in your venue and any entertainment.
Two weeks before
Based on your menu, start drafting your shopping list.
You could start preparing any dishes than can be frozen.
Start thinking about music – it can really set the tone of your event. You can start putting together your playlist now. Keep in mind it should be upeat, fitting with any themes of your party and your playlist should be sufficient enough to last throughout the party. We have some great portable PA systems that will allow you to plug in your iPod on the night, set it to your chosen playlist and then you don’t have to worry.
Take an inventory of cookware and serving dishes. Label each one with a post it for what you will be using it for in case you need reminding on the day. Don’t have enough dishes? Call us and speak to one of our hire consultants.
One week before
Give your house a really good clean. This way, you’ll only need to give it a quick once over before the party.
Arrange your furniture as you will want it for the party. Put things away that could be in the way or might get broken.
Decide about lighting – low wattage and candlelight can create a beautiful atmosphere.
To save yourself time, have all your drinks purchased now.
Follow up on any late RSVP’s. Make sure you have a note of any dietary requirements.
Three days before
We suggest you notify your neighbours that you will be entertaining. It is always a good idea to let them know if you are expecting the night to be loud or late. At least they can be prepared and everyone always appreciates a bit of courtesy.
Decorate – arrange your candles, put up any lighting or other decorations.
We were amused by this hint we saw on another blog, but it makes sense – check your bathroom cupboard and remove anything you wouldn’t want prying eyes to find while they are locked in the bathroom.
Decide on a place for coats and bags for guests as they arrive.
Make room in your fridge for the extra food and platters.
Finish your grocery shopping and make a detailed cooking schedule for your cooking.
Check the weather forecast. Are you prepared for rain or a drop in temperature?
Make sure your bathroom is stocked with loads of toilet paper and hand soap. Do you need to put up signs to direct your guests on where to go?
Make sure your camera is fully charged and ready to go. Consider asking a friend to take photos so you are free to mingle on the night.
One day before
Set up tables as much as you can.
Buy and arrange any flowers.
Finish as much cooking as you can.
Give your house a once over clean.
Have a clean up kit on hand just in case – stain remover, soda water, salt, rags would all be helpful.
Day of the party
Finish any last minute cooking.
Purchase ice if necessary (for drinks coolers).
Set up chairs.
1 – 2 hours before guests arrive, start setting up food that won’t spoil. Wrap them to ensure freshness. Also, if drinks aren’t in the fridge, put them in ice buckets.
Consider pre-booking some taxi’s.