Birthday Party Planning Checklist

Planning a birthday party should be fun. If you’re getting mired down in details and feeling stressed, stick to a checklist so you’ll feel confident you’ve gotten everything done that you needed to. Keep it where you can see it and check things off. The act of crossing items off your list will make you feel hopeful and excited for the party.Flickr Phot Credit: Kate*

Depending on the age group of the guests, you may need to start early. If you’re throwing a 50th birthday party, you’ll need more time than if you’re planning a child’s fifth birthday party.

One or two months before the party

Decide on a date

Decide where you will have the party

Start creating a guest list (you can always add to it later)

Find a theme you like

Think about what kind of food you’re going to serve and call a few caterers for prices

Get your paper goods and invitations

Three weeks to one month before the party

Send out invitations

Pick a bakery to make your cake

Decide on a DJ or band if you’re having one

Decide on centerpieces for tables

Select your caterer and decide on the final menu

Buy favors if you’re going to have them

Arrange for who will get the guest of honor to the party if it’s a surprise

If kids will be at an adult party, hire a babysitter

One week before the party

Have all chairs and tables on order

Call any guests who haven’t responded

Confirm any reservations you have made for the venue, food, etc.

Wrap your gift for the guest of honor

Choose your attire for the party

Confirm your babysitter

The day before the party and the day of

Within the last 24 hours before the party starts:

Pick up any balloons

Pick up the cake or have it delivered

Set up an area where the guest of honor will open birthday gifts

Have tables and chairs delivered

Be sure linens are ironed

Set up buffet stations if you’re having them

Clean up any areas of your house that guests will see

Take out all the supplies you bought like cups, napkins, etc.

Decorate the party space

Assemble any birthday baskets and place them on the tables

Make sure you have enough ice on hand

Confirm that food is set for delivery

Tie balloons to your mailbox so guests can find your house

Flickr Photo Credit: Will ClaytonThere’s a lot that goes into the planning of the party, but you can throw a party that looks effortless when you are organized. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Most people are happy to help out with assembling favors, running out to pick things up for you, getting the birthday boy or girl there, and more. Your aim is to have a fun party, so be sure that you have time to relax and get yourself dressed. Don’t work right up until the last minute and let guests catch you before you’ve even showered.

Your party will flow smoothly once you have checked everything off your list. There’s nothing to do once the list is completed but to grab a drink and start mingling. The more the hostess enjoys herself, the more everyone else does, too.