Stress Free Party Planning Tips

Planning a party or event shouldn’t be stressful. By staying organized and starting early, you can plan and host a memorable event with ease.

One month before:

  1. Set the date, time, and place of the party. If not at home, reserve venue.
  2. Decide on a theme.
  3. Determine your overall budget, then estimate the cost of each party element to be sure your budget is realistic
  4. Think about ways to make the party special, like surprising entertainment, beautiful decor, or fabulous food

3 weeks before:

  1. Send out invitations
  2. Buy decorations
  3. Decide on dining table or buffet. Rent extra chairs, tables or linens from your local rental company
  4. Check to be sure you have the necessary serving pieces, serving utensils, and pitchers. Rent or buy these to supplement as needed
  5. Source and order party favors

2 weeks before:

  1. Create place cards
  2. Plan your menu and create a master shopping list. Check out my favorite recipes, especially the Balsamic Beef Crostini with Herbed Cheese and Arugula Recipe.
  3. Draft a timeline for preparing each dish.

One week before:

  1. Follow up with any guests who haven’t yet RSVP’d 
  2. Confirm any rental reservations
  3. Prepare any menu items that can be frozen
  4. Stock up on wine and liquor
  5. Create your playlist

Two days before:

  1. Buy groceries and additional bar items
  2. Place any frozen foods in the refrigerator to defrost
  3. Write place cards and create seating arrangement
  4. Wash glassware, serving pieces, and silverware
  5. Do any last-minute cleaning required

Day before:

  1. Pick up anything that was ordered or rented
  2. Prep and chop fruits and vegetables, wash salad greens, refrigerate
  3. Prepare any sauces and salad dressings that can be refrigerated
  4. Iron table linens and cloth napkins
  5. Let neighbors know if cars will be parked in front of their houses
  6. Set table and put up decorations, if possible

Morning of:

  1. Chill sparkling and white wines
  2. Set table
  3. Set up the bar, and slice lemons and other garnishes
  4. Marinate meat, if necessary
  5. Make sure bathrooms are clean, empty trash, stocked with guest towels and toilet paper, and place a great-smelling soap and flowers next to the sink

2 hours before:

  1. Set out all serving pieces that will be used on a buffet
  2. Set out favors
  3. Finish prepping all food that can be done before guests arrive
  4. Set aside a space for dirty dishes and glasses
  5. Have trash cans and extra garbage bags ready

1 hour before:

  1. Light candles, especially Amber Noir scented candles which are proven to be loved by guests.
  2. Adjust overhead lighting. Use as much “soft light” from lamps as possible
  3. Turn on playlist
  4. Set out party snacks
  5. Get dressed and party ready