So you're planning a big party? Whether it's your best friend's birthday party or your boss' retirement party, you will need to have a party planning checklist! Here are some things to help you plan the best party ever!
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What does a successful party look like?
To start off your party planning, you will need to decide what a successful party actually looks like. At the end of the day, once all the guests are gone and all the helium has run out, what made the party great? If the party is for the birthday girl, how does she define success? If your boss is retiring, what will make him feel honored and leave blessed?
You will need to answer these deeper questions before you start hiring vendors and ordering balloons. Once you have the reason behind your party solved, you can also put some goals/numbers in place. Here are some numbers you will need to decide. Put these on your party planning checklist.
- What is our budget for this party?
- How many guests are we hoping will come?
Having a Plan for Your Party is Important.
Whether you are the birthday girl or you are the coordinator, having a plan for your party is important. The more you can map out BEFORE the day of the event, the better your celebration will be. These are a few things to get in order before you even find the perfect venue.
What are we eating/drinking?
Make sure to have some kind of food or drink at your event. If you are having a bar, choose a vendor to be able to do this. If your venue does not provide bar service, make sure to choose a valid bartending company with a license. Ask your venue if you are allowed to bring in your own food vendor. If you do not have one in mind, ask your friends or go on Yelp to see the best options. Call these vendors with plenty of time in advance to make sure they are not already booked (at least one month before).
What are we doing?
There are so many fun things to do at a party! Some parties have dancing which will require that you book a DJ of some sort. Ask your venue for their list of preferred vendors. Most venues will have vendors they have previously worked with who have done a great job. You can also have photo booth opportunities for your guests. Here are a few of our favorites.
Who is coming?
Who are you inviting to this party? Make a list of all the people you will invite to the wedding. Decide if you are allowing a plus one or not. Make sure to note that not all of your guests will be able to make it. Even the guests who rsvp, a small portion of those guests will end up not coming (especially if your event is free).
Once you have decided who is coming, send out your invites. You can send invitations in the mail; however, to save time and money, simply send out an email invite. You can even send out a text message invite. You will get direct responses and know who is coming to your party that much sooner! Protip: Make sure to send out reminders a day or two leading up to your party!
Using the Party Planning Checklist at a Venue.
Your location is one of the biggest decisions you will have to make. Sometimes, this can be the most costly decision, but a good venue is worth it! Paying money upfront for a good venue will save you money and time later on in the party planning process.
Here are some questions to ask when it comes to your venue checklist.
- How many people can fit in the space?
- What about parking for my guests and vendors?
- Am I allowed to bring in my own vendors?
- What is the cost of the venue including all the fees (Cleaning, security, etc.)?
- How much time do I have to set up and clean up?
My Ultimate Vendor Checklist.
Vendors will be your greatest friends on the day of your big party. When party planning, you will need to decide which vendors you will like to hire and which vendors you will choose for those different things.
Unless you are a food caterer or a vodka company, you will most likely use a vendor for food and beverage. Choosing a theme for your party will help guide the decor and food for the event. Some good food options could be tacos, finger foods, or pizza. If your event is going to be more classy, choose a great restaurant and hire servers as well to bring your guests the food.
Here are some vendors you may need to hire:
- Bar Service
- Balloon Arch
- Photo Booth
- Furniture Rentals
- Photographer / Videographer
The 'Don't Forget This' Checklist
For any party, there are going to be things you will have to do last minute or on the day of the event. Even still, the more you can plan ahead of time, the smoother your event will be. One of the greatest things you can do is create your own checklist specific to your own party. Break this checklist up into time categories. What needs to be done 6 months in advance? What needs to be done 3 months in advance? What needs to be done in the month of the event? What needs to happen the week of the party? What has to be done on the day of the celebration?
6 Months Out:
- Select a Budget
- Book the Venue
- Create a Guest List
- Choose a Theme for the Party
3 Months Out:
- Send Guest Invitations
- Choose Needed Vendors
- Hire Vendors
- Purchase Needed Materials for Party
1 Month Out:
- Confirm with All Vendors
- Connect with Event Venue Staff
- Finish all Payments to your Venue
- Get All Needed Insurance to your Venue
- Confirm Layout for Party
- Confirm Guest Count
- Confirm Parking with Venue
- Final Walk Through With Venue
Week Of the Party:
- Purchase Last-Minute Items
- Hire Any Additional Vendors Needed
- Confirm Guests / Send Reminders
- Get Ready for the Party!
We hope this party planning checklist is helpful to you as you plan your next party! Here is another great article when planning a celebration. Happy planning!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How do I choose the right venue for my birthday party?
A: There are several questions to consider when selecting the right venue for you. Your location, size of the party, and your budget are all things that will play a factor when choosing the right event space.
Q: What is the greatest party planning advice?
A: Anything that can be done before the day of the event, do it.