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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Successful Party

Party planning checklist Whether you're a seasoned event planner or a complete novice, organizing a party can be a daunting task. From choosing the perfect venue to creating a guest list and managing the budget,...

Party planning checklist Party planning checklist

Whether you're a seasoned event planner or a complete novice, organizing a party can be a daunting task. From choosing the perfect venue to creating a guest list and managing the budget, there are many aspects to consider. But don't let that overwhelm you! With a step-by-step approach and the right guidance, planning a successful party can be a breeze. That's why we have created the ultimate party planning checklist to help you navigate the process and ensure a memorable event for everyone involved.

At Least One Month Before

Decide on a Date and Time

When selecting a date for your party, it's essential to be flexible and choose a day that works for the majority of your guests. Consider the availability of your preferred venue and make sure it aligns with your chosen date.

Plan Your Guestlist

Decide who you want to invite to your party, keeping in mind that not everyone will be able to attend. Create a list of priority guests and consider the expected turnout for corporate events, which usually averages 70-80% of the total invitations.

Choose Your Theme

A dedicated theme or color scheme can elevate your party to the next level. Think carefully about the atmosphere you want to create and find a venue that complements your theme or can be decorated to match your vision.

Set a Budget

It's crucial to establish a realistic budget for your party and factor in any unexpected costs. Be mindful of expenses and allow for a small contingency fund to cover any unforeseen expenses.

Pick Your Venue or Host It Yourself

Selecting the perfect venue depends on the number of guests and the type of event you're organizing. Consider whether hosting at home or finding an external location is more suitable. If you need assistance finding a venue, our SquareMeal Concierge team offers a free venue-finding service.

Book the Entertainment and Suppliers

To make your party stand out, consider adding live music, entertainment, or other special touches, such as photo booths. Communicate your plans with the venue manager if you've hired a venue.

Organize the Food

Depending on the size of your party, you can choose to cook the food yourself or hire external caterers. Plan a menu that is easy to prepare or allow for advanced preparation. Consider any dietary requirements your guests may have.

Sort the Drinks

Ensure your bar is well-stocked with an appropriate amount of drinks for your guests. Plan for one to two drinks per guest per hour and don't forget to have plenty of ice. You can also encourage a "Bring Your Own" policy to cut down on costs if you're hosting at home.

Invite Your Guests

Send out invitations that include the date, time, dress code, and party theme. Consider using traditional paper invites or creating an event page on a social media platform. Make it easy for guests to ask questions or RSVP.

Source Help for the Big Day

Enlist some help to ensure that everything runs smoothly during the party. If you've hired a venue, confirm the availability and roles of the staff. If you're hosting at home, ask friends to assist you.

Three Weeks Before

Party planning checklist Party planning checklist

Focus on the Details

Start bringing your party ideas to life. Explore social media sites, magazines, and blogs for inspiration on themes, decorations, and other creative elements.

Create a Schedule for Your Event

Develop a rough plan for the timings and activities of your party. Make sure you have enough entertainment and refreshments to keep your guests engaged throughout the event.

Place Your Orders

Finalize any additional elements that will enhance your party, such as a celebration cake, decorations, or party favors. Ensure that everything will be delivered in time for the event.

Devise a Seating Plan (if needed)

For larger events, consider implementing a seating plan to encourage interesting conversations and avoid any discomfort among your guests.

A Week Before

Party planning checklist Party planning checklist

Follow Up

Contact guests who haven't responded to your invitation to gather a clear picture of the expected number of attendees.

Finish DIY Projects

If you have any do-it-yourself tasks, such as creating decorations or assembling goodie bags, complete them now.

Create a Party Playlist

Craft a playlist that sets the tone for your party, gradually building up to the best tracks. Take the time to ensure a seamless flow of music throughout the event.

Confirm All Deliveries and Pickups

Double-check that all your orders will arrive before the party and make any necessary arrangements for pickups or installations.

Speak to Your Neighbors

If you're hosting the party at home, inform your neighbors in advance about the event and provide an estimated end time. Consider extending an invitation to them if you have a good relationship.

The Day Before

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Pick Up Any Rental Items or Other Bits

Collect any rented items or party props and ensure they are ready for the event.

Shop for Last-Minute Items

Review your checklist and purchase any forgotten items. Make a final run to the store to ensure everything is in order.

Charge Your Devices

Ensure that your phone, camera, and any other necessary devices are fully charged, allowing you to capture precious moments and stay connected during the event.

Check Your Party Schedule and Checklist

Review your party schedule and double-check your checklist to tie up any loose ends. Attend to any remaining tasks so that everything is ready for the big day.

On the Day

Party planning checklist Party planning checklist

Create a Buzz

Generate excitement among your guests by sharing teasers or unknown details about the party. Whether it's a sneak peek of the decorations or hints about the performers, build anticipation for a memorable experience.

Decorate the Space

Transform your venue into a visually appealing setting that matches your theme. Clearly mark different areas of the space, such as the dancefloor and serving areas, and consider the timing of certain decorations.

Queue Up Your Music

Ensure that your playlist is ready to go and do a sound check with the DJ or entertainment. This will help avoid any technical issues or awkward moments during the party.

Welcome Your Guests

Greet your guests with a warm smile and open arms. Take the time to answer their questions and guide them through the venue, making them feel comfortable and excited for the evening.

Encourage People to Mingle

As the host, it's your responsibility to connect people and foster a relaxed atmosphere. Introduce guests to each other, finding common ground for conversation. Create an environment where everyone feels welcome and included.

Relax and Enjoy Yourself!

After putting in all the hard work to organize the event, it's time for you to unwind and have fun. Even without professional help, following our party planning checklist will ensure the smooth running of your party. You deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

After the Party and the Next Day

Party planning checklist Party planning checklist


If you've hired a venue, ensure that you leave the space as you found it or take advantage of any cleanup services provided. If you hosted the party at home, tidy up the space and return it to its usual state.

Thank Yous

Express gratitude to the venue, helpers, and guests for their participation. Consider sending thank you notes or messages promptly, and share any memorable photos or videos with your guests as lasting memories.

Check Your Camera

Go through the photos and videos captured during the party and share them with your guests. You can even create a dedicated hashtag on social media for everyone to relive the event by viewing the collective photos.

Complete these steps, and you'll be well on your way to hosting a successful and memorable party. Remember to enjoy yourself and celebrate the hard work you've put into creating a fantastic event for your guests. Cheers to a night filled with laughter, joy, and good company!