Party Planning Checklist

1 month before
Determine the type of party, theme and formality level

Set the date

Prepare your guest list

Order invitations

Line up services (bartender, servers, cleaning, cake decorator etc.).


3 weeks before

Mail the invitations

Plan the menu; determine what you’ll cook / what will be catered

Place order for what food will be catered

Create grocery list for what you will prepare

Create beverages list


2 weeks before

Stock the bar; plan on three to four drinks per guest for a two to three hour party

Arrange to borrow, rent, or purchase items you don’t already have

Prepare music to be played during party


1 week before

Contact guests who have not responded

Confirm orders with caterer, baker and any services

Shop for and prepare any food that can be frozen

Clean house thoroughly


4 days before

Notify neighbors that you’ll be hosting a party, so they’ll be prepared for extra vehicles
and noise

Prepare for accidental spills by having stain remover and cleaning cloths handy

Clean and polish serving pieces, plates, flatware and glasses you’ll be using

Launder and iron table linens

Prepare a place for guests’ coats


2 days before

Decorate the party space

Arrange furniture for easy traffic flow (fewer chairs than guests encourages mingling)

Place frozen food in the refrigerator to defrost


1 day before

Purchase fresh food items (salad greens, fresh bread, seafood, etc.).

Pick up fresh flowers and arrange

Assemble foods that can be made in advance

Give your house a quick recap cleaning


4 to 7 hours before

Chill the wine and other beverages, set up bar


Up to 1 hour before

Finish any last-minute food prep and set up

Check final details and be ready to greet first guests

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