PARTY PLANNING TO DO LIST

A Young Woman Writing

Planning a party, whatever the occasion or size can be a bit overwhelming.  So we've got  a guide and some tips to help you get going. You can also access a printable checklist version here.

  • Determine date and timings.

  • Find your preferred venue and check their availability. This should be done at least 3 months in advance if you are tied to your date and time. Also consider what they include - Eg tables, chairs, lighting, sound,  access to fridge, catering, entertainment etc? Also, if you are expecting people to need to drive there, check their is suitable parking nearby. Book to have it at least an hour before the party and a minimum of 30 minutes after to allow for set up and pack down. More if you are having a big party. We have a list of local venues for you to peruse.

  • Have you got a budget in mind? Make a spreadsheet if you need to to keep an eye on things and decide what is definite and what is negotiable if you can't fit it within the budget.

  • Is there going to be a theme? If so, what is that theme and what do you require to make it flow throughout the party?

  • Guest list - Work out how many guests you can a.) fit into the venue b.) cater for. Between 60 - 75% of invitees will likely come so you can estimate how many roughly you can expect.

  • Invitations (don't forget you can theme these if your party has one) Also think about saving money (and trees) here by sending E-Invites via email, WhatsApp and other messengers. You can also print a few if you have some that need to be posted or sent into school.  On your invitations you should include:

    • The start and end time for the party, the venue address, dress code, are siblings or plus one's also welcome, are parents expected to stay for the duration of the party (if a child's party)

    • Ask guests when they RSVP to let you know if their child has any food allergies that need to be catered for. 

    • If it’s a joint party , perhaps set out expectations in terms of gifts, eg. If you invite a friend who doesn’t know the other child co-hosting the party, are they expected to buy a gift for this child also? 

    • If it’s a children's drop off party (normally 6 years +), it’s good to get the parents' contact details in case one of them is late for pick up or there is an emergency.

  • Decorations - What would you like and who will be responsibly for setting them up? Of course, we have a wide selection and we can even come and set them up for you.  I will add a little 'Eco Plea' here.  Do you really need balloons?  Will people really miss them?  Not only are they terrible for the planet but big displays are pricey for something that will be used for only a few hours.  *End of rant*

  • Table settings - How many guests will be coming and what tableware do you need?  Is it finger food or do you need cutlery?  Do you need straws?  See all that we offer here.

  • Party bags and fillers - are you going to create these or buy them ready made?  We can create eco party bags for you to save you the trouble, more info here.

  • Catering - will you cook yourself, order in or get a caterer, or does the venue provide food?  Are you providing refreshments for the parents too?  Remember to take into consideration any allergies your guests may have. We have recommendations of local caterers

  • Birthday cake - will you make one, buy one from the supermarket , or commission a personalised one? We have a list of recommended local cake artists here.

  • Entertainment/games- will you organise these yourself, hire an entertainer, or hire games? Don't forget to get prizes if there are games too!

  • Designate someone to take on the role of photographer during the party (please make sure you have the parents permission before photographing their children especially if you plan to post them on social media or blur their faces before posting). We also highly recommend local photographer Childsplay Photography if you'd like someone else to get snapping whilst you soak up the atmosphere.

  • Recruit some help for the day, you'll need it to help tidy up and keep the food and drink flowing and to help tidy up.

  • Music - if you want to play music, what will you play it through, eg do you need to take a speaker? You can make a playlist on a streaming site or use ours.  Don't forget to download it if your venue doesn't have wifi.

  • Organise any other suppliers - eg hiring a bouncy castle, DJ etc. Guess what?! We have recommendations for these too!

  • If it’s winter and everyone is going to arrive in big coats and boots, make sure you have a cloakroom big enough to store it all.