Party Planning Checklist

So let it be written, so let it be done.

As every great party host and hostess knows, the secret to fret-free fêteing is a great party planning checklist. Without a checklist that tracks an event’s details, planning parties, whether large, small, formal, or informal, can be stressful. The truth is, feeling a touch of party angst, whether you’re hosting a party or attending one, is normal, but it doesn’t have to be defining. The secret to managing hosting stress is planning ahead.

Party Planning Checklist

That’s why we developed this comprehensive week-by-week guide. Comprised of to-do lists, helpful tips, and clickable links, the Checklist takes the stress out of party planning by listing each and every task that needs to be done and when. You’ll never want to plan a party without it, we promise.

The Orchid Dinner: Party Inspiration 14

Among the tips in the Checklist are to create a master list of everything you’ll need for the party, arranged according to what you’ll need to buy, borrow, rent, and do. Other tips include adding elements of surprise to your party. For example, if you’re hosting a Great Gatsby party, buy magazines from the ‘20s on eBay and place them in stacks on your coffee table for your guest to discover. Another tip is to remember that an abundance of any one single element, whether votive candles or gold holiday ornaments, always makes a powerful impact.

Party Introductions and Meaningful Mingling 5

The timeline is set up in a way that is very easy to manage. For example, under the heading Six to 12 Weeks Before the Party, you’ll find these to-do items and tips:

  • Set the date and time.
  • Quick Tip: See what else is happening in town and avoid conflicts where possible.
  • Quick Tip: For an extra festive touch, host your party when the moon is full.
  • Determine the theme and look and feel of your party.
  • Determine your budget.
  • Select and reserve the venue if you won’t be hosting your party at home.
  • Quick Tip: Choose a space that’s a touch too small for the number of people you’ll
    be hosting so your party feels full and lively.
  • Select and book your vendors, e.g., caterer, florist, valet, etc. Check Les Pages, our
    merit-based vendor guide, for a list of event partners you can trust.
  • Compile your guest list.
  • Quick Tip: Over-invite. Twenty percent of those on your list won’t be able to attend,
    and 10 percent of those who say they’ll attend won’t.
  • Send out a save-the-date card 8-12 weeks in advance if your party will take place during a busy entertaining season.
  • Order your invitations if you’re having them printed.
  • Quick Tip: Ask your printer to print the envelopes first so you can address and stamp them early.

Download the Checklist

Click here for more party planning tips and ideas, here for tips on how to take Instagram-worthy tabletop photos, and here for 10 no-fail tips for having a great conversation at a party. To read Carla McDonald’s party planning tips in The Washington Post, click here.


Party Planning Checklist

Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup

Welcome Photo: Ava Gardner
Welcome Quote: The Ten Commandments, 1956

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