So you’re throwing a party — great! But that also means that you have to plan the party, which is not so great. Parties of all sizes can be stressful to plan, but we’re here to help walk you through the process. Here’s your party-planning guide. Remember that the key is to stay organized! Combine our list below with an effective party-planning checklist to stay on top of things.
Creating your guest list
First things first: who is going to this party, and what type of party is it? Planning a wedding is different from planning a 3-year-old’s birthday party, of course, but the guest list is a key early step either way. You can adjust your guest list as you decide on things such as your venue, but envisioning the basic collection of folks who you want to attend is the best place to start.
Along with your budget, your guest list will help determine everything that comes afterwards in the planning process. Sketch out a draft of your guest list now. Keep in mind basic tips for great guest lists: don’t strand anyone by creating a guest list where they’re the only one who knows nobody else.
Finding your space
Where are you going to throw this party? Your home is one option, but you have others. You could reserve an event space or grab space in a public park (don’t forget to work with the park authorities to make sure that you can actually use the space that you want — and that nobody else will!). You could even turn to a space that will take care of the whole rest of this process for you: party packages for kids, for instance, are a staple of places like Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Planning the Menu
You can go conventional or less conventional. For kids, you’ll probably want to stick with the basics such as pizza and cake and ice cream. For adults, you could try appetizers only, a hearty buffet, an ethnic theme or maybe desserts only. Potlucks can be fun, also.
Installations and party supplies
An empty space isn’t very festive. Make sure that you have tables, chairs, and other basics. Buy or rent them ahead of time, and consider supplementing them with some more unique party games and installations. Did you know that a throne rental is an option for your party? If you have a guest of honor, they’re sure to be impressed by the royal treatment. And, of course, you can always choose classic next-level party installations such as bounce houses and dunk tanks. Get creative — but keep your budget in mind, too, of course.
After renting and buying everything you need and sending out invitations, it’s time to handle last-minute tasks. That means last-minute tasks only. You should do things such as clean ahead of time so that your day-of preparations are minimal. But you may need to set up some tables or pick up a cake, so be sure to start getting ready for the party as early enough in the day.
The party is all set, and the guests are about to arrive. The party is sure to be a hit — but are you? Don’t neglect yourself in favor of your party! You want to look and feel your best as you enjoy the party that you worked so hard to put together. So leave yourself time to get ready and have your outfit and other essentials picked out ahead of time.
Finding the perfect dress or other outfit for the party can be a fun diversion during the planning phases, so take occasional breaks to go shopping and pick out something really special. You’re spending big on the party already, so stay within your budget when you shop for clothes — try heading to online boutiques, which can combine low online retail prices with the diverse selection and fashion authority of a brick-and-mortar boutique.
And now that you’re dressed your best, it’s time to make your big entrance. You’ve done everything you could to throw the perfect party, so leave your worries behind in the planning phase. Get out there and have fun. You deserve it!