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.
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
There’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.