Party Planning Checklist



In planning your event we understanding how difficult it is to remember all the details.  To assist you we have developed a checklist that may help in planning a successful and enjoyable event.  If you have any suggestions or comments please let us know.




Getting Started


Early Preparations


Time is quickly approaching


It’s crunch time


It won’t be long now….


Finishing Touches


It’s Party Time




Getting Started


Formal parties plan 1 month or more ahead; 2 – 4 weeks ahead for casual gatherings




v  Why are you having a party…..??  Answering this question will help you set the mood or theme of your event.


v  Decide on a date and place.  First, the date is one of the most important aspects of any party and it does not have to be on the date of the event you are celebrating.  You want to provide guests and especially yourself ample time to plan and prepare for this special event.  Second, will the party be at your home, local park, legion hall, or banquet facility.  Make it a convenient time and place for your guests, this will encourage a greater attendance of invited guests.


v  Create a guest List.


v  Plan a menu; buffet, potluck, formal, outdoor barbeque, etc.


v  Invite your guests.  Invitations for formal parties should be printed and mailed.  Casual parties, the invitations can be printed and mailed or you can telephone your guests and invite them personally.  If you choose to invite your guests by telephone, keep a checklist of the guests you have called.


v  Create a list of decorations, table settings, centerpieces, and music you will use.


v  Reserve any items you will need to rent or borrow;  tents, tables, chairs, coolers, chaffing dishes, etc.


v  Set a budget.  This is an important aspect of planning your event and in some cases one of the most difficult to maintain. 


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Early Preparations


1 – 2 weeks prior to event


v  Finalize guest list; telephone any guests who have not responded and finalize your count for food and space requirements.  It is important to have enough space to accommodate all guests, making your event comfortable for everyone.


v  Provide hotel information to out of town guests. 


v  Perform preliminary house cleaning.  Complete any time consuming tasks, if necessary hire help to prepare your home.  Ensure all of your appliances are in good working order and complete any small home repair tasks.


v  Prepare your barbeque.  Purchase extra bags of charcoal, lighter fluid, or fill your gas grill propane tank.  You may want to purchase a filled spare tank.


v  Complete your shopping list.  Ensure that your have updated your shopping list with grocery and party items.  Take inventory and verify you have items on hand such as matches, candles, liquor, etc.  Don’t forget to add extra ice to the list….


v  Guests requiring special items.  Some guests may have special dietary requirements, medicines, or meals.  Add these items to your shopping list.


v  Check your camera.  If you are taking pictures or using a video camera you may want to check your inventory of film, batteries, disposable cameras, etc.


v  Plan your music.  Music can be an important element to any party.  The music should be planned in advance whether it be background, mood, or dance music.


v  Check your table linens and supplies.  It is always good to verify that your table linens are clean and ready for use.  If you are using disposable paper and plastic items, check the inventory and add any items needed to the shopping list.  Make sure you have enough trash bags and containers on hand.


v  Special order items.  Make sure to place orders for cakes, meats, flowers, or other specialty items require for your party.


v  Making decorations or centerpieces.  There is no time better than the present to get started.  Invite your friends and family over to help.   


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Time is Quickly Approaching


2 – 3 days ahead



v  Check the local weather forecast.


v  Manicure your yard.  Prune shrubs, mow lawn, and clean your outdoor party area.


v  Prepare for the unexpected emergency.  Purchase or check your first aid kit and be sure to have several fire extinguishers with the rating of ABC on hand.  List your emergency numbers (i.e. doctors, ambulance service, etc.) next to the phone and check the route to the hospital emergency room for construction or detours.  BE PREPARED…!!


v  Put away any breakable or valuable possessions.  Sometimes the little people get curious and you know the rest of the story……


v  Go shopping.  Shop for all the items on your list except for the perishables.


v  Double check your recipes.  Upon returning from the store double-check to ensure you have ALL the necessary items excluding perishables.  If you are missing any you can be sure to add them to the perishables list.


v  Prepare your timetable for food preparation and cooking.  When possible make snack mixes, dips, etc. ahead of time.


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It’s Crunch Time


The day before the party



v  Shop for perishables and any last minute items.


v  Double check your house and yard.  Clean and arrange accordingly.


v  Check and charge batteries for cell phones, cameras, and camcorders.


v  Prepare your home for the party.  Decorate indoors and prepare an area for jackets, shoes, etc.


v  Prepare for rental equipment delivery.  Move vehicles from driveway, prepare yard for tent, and prepare a location for the tables and chairs.


v  Double check the weather forecast.


v  Prepare as many recipe ingredients as possible (i.e. chop vegetables, thaw frozen items, etc.).


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It won’t be long now….


The day of the party



v  Check the house for one final cleaning.


v  Setup and decorate your outdoor area.


v  Move your vehicle outside the guest parking area.  This will enable you to use your vehicle once everyone arrives at your party, you never know what you may have forgotten.


v  Run your dishwasher and empty clean dishes.  It will then be prepared to accept dishes during the party.


v  Chill cold foods and beverages.  Make sure all food and beverages to be served cold will be chilled in time for the party.  Did you know that chafing dishes work great for chilling food!  Use the water pan for ice and do NOT light the burner.  Do not forget extra ice…..


v  Set out trash / recyclable containers with bags in easily accessible places.


v  Food preparation.  Prepare your food according to your timetable and everything will finish as planned.  Washing dishes as you go can save clean-up time later.


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Finishing Touches


1 hour ahead



v     Complete your finishing touches on the meal and tables.


v     Clear a location for placing used dishes and serving containers. 


v     Set out non-perishable appetizers or snacks. 


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It’s Party Time


Showtime – 15 minutes ahead



v  This is where your hard work and careful planning pays off.  Take a deep breath, smile, and open the door.


v  Have a great time and take plenty of pictures to commemorate this celebration.


v  Plan some time for yourself after the party.  You did a great job!!


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Partytime Unlimited, LLC

(313) 971 - 4024

We are located in Dearborn, Michigan and service the surrounding communities.

Information subject to change without notice.

All rights reserved.