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There is no perfect way to plan a party – but this Party Planning Checklist might take some of the pressure off!

What to think about first

  • Create a party folder. Collate all of your ideas and research in the one place
  • Determine the type of party Will it be casual, formal, themed, elegant .
  • Set a date and time and check with family and friends if this suits their availability
  • Set yourself an affordable budget.
  • Make a guest list – Remember to consider your budget.
  • Choose your location , make a booking and obtain public permit if in an outdoor location that requires it (check with your local council)
  • Decide the style of food you want to serve; consider finger foods, buffet, feasting station, sit down dining, BBQ or style of catering. Don’t forget the cake if required.
  • Determine what beverages you will suppl. Will you require glassware hire, ice tubs and ice? Will you need service staff or will beverages be self served?

  • Will you require staff to assist with set up, food and beverage service and clean up.
  • Work with the caterer to ensure your preferred menu style suits your event style, budget and suits the party location.
  • Before finalising your caterer ensure that they are Gold License accredited and offer a guarantee of their services and products.
  • When you are confident  you have the caterer that best suits your party, pay the deposit and secure the booking.
  • Book entertainment – DJ, live band, magician, palm readers etc.
  • Book hire equipment needed such as glassware, tables, chairs, heaters or fans, linen. Be sure to discuss these elements with your caterer as you’ll likely save money by booking these items through them
  • Consider decorations; balloons, flowers and theming. Again your caterer may be able to assist with this elements
  • Determine a RSVP date. This date should be approximately 2 weeks prior to the event.
  • Organise your invitations and include a map if the location is not easy to locate. Make the RSVP date a week before you actually require it to allow for any slow responders
  • Contact any friends or family that you want to help with the party set up
  • Contingency Plan – If outdoors, always have a plan B for inclement weather that would affect the comfort and safety of your guests

One or Two Weeks Before

  • Confirm all your suppliers including caterer, entertainment, equipment hire, styling
  • Work out your outfit for the party. You don’t want to be rushed and flustered on the day deciding what to wear
  • Finalise the party space and consider any decorations you may need to purchase or book
  • Go shopping for all your small items like candles, extra toilet paper, thankyou cards, party favours
  • Finalise your music if you are not hiring a DJ or band.
  • Follow up the guests who are yet to RSVP
  • Let your caterer know final numbers and settle the final payment
  • Purchase your beverages (if your caterer is not supplying) and ensure you have service equipment sorted (glasses, tubs, bar table etc)

A few Days Prior

  • Clean the house so that on the day you just need to spot clean anything. Don’t forget to do the outside including paths, gardens, driveway
  • Think about making room in the fridge for the caterer
  • Ensure your rubbish bins are as empty as they can be, including your recycling bins
  • Think about if you wish to make a speech and if so, write your speech or some dot points to follow
  • Organise any late night snacks or drinks for those that may party into the early hours
  • Let your neighbours know about the party (if they are not already invited) as a courtesy for any noise disturbance they might experience

The day before

  • Spot clean your house
  • Set an area for guests who smoke and don’t forget the ashtrays or sand buckets
  • Clearly sign the bathrooms and stock them with toilet paper, extra hand towels and perhaps a nice candle or posy of flowers
  • Make sure you have taxi service numbers on hand or other transport arrangements in place for your guests to get home safely after the party
  • Begin decorating and setting up any furniture

The Big Day!

  • Spot clean one last time
  • Pick up ice (if your caterer is not providing this)
  • Ensure your kitchen bin is empty and you have extra bin liner bags on hand
  • Finalise last of decorations and set up
  • Welcome your guests and enjoy the party!

A day or two after

  • Send thank you notes or messages to your guests
  • Create a photo album of the party and share with your guests
  • Ensure all hired or borrowed equipment or suppliers are returned

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