Party Planning Checklist To Help You Create Perfect Party Success!

Fun And Fabulous Party Planning Checklist
To Keep You Organized And On Task!

A party checklist will help take you from the invites to the thank you's in a stress-free fashion so you are able to ultimately join in the party festivities without a wild-eye appearance, feeling exhausted, and pressed for time.

To assist you in accomplishing this tall order, I've prepared a birthday party checklist which will make your life easier and reduce the stress of trying to remember all the party details in your head. Use our week-by-week timeline to track all of your tasks and to do's. This useful tool will certainly help you to get organized, stay organized, and achieve a terrific party.


  • Decide on party theme.

  • Establish party budget.

  • Select date and time for party.

  • If party requires costume that will be homemade, begin making it now.

  • Book party location if it is held outside your home.
  • Book entertainment, if any (clown, magician, pony rides, bounce house, etc.).

  • Book caterer, if one is going to be used.

  • Create guest list (school, church, or neighborhood, friends, teammates, cousins, etc.)

  • For special order invitations, allow enough time so they may be mailed 2-3 weeks before party.

  • Develop party schedule. For example, 11:00-11:30 ice breaker game or craft project; ll:30-12:15 entertainment or game; 12:15-1:00 lunch; 1:00-1:30 open presents; 1:30-2:00 party game, activity, or free play.


  • Prepare invitations and mail or hand-deliver 3 weeks before party.

  • Plan party games and activities.

  • Order party supplies, decorations, party favors, prizes for games and activities.

  • Keep guest list by phone for easy RSVP check-off.


  • Plan party menu and make shopping list. See PARTY FOOD IDEAS and PARTY SHOPPING LIST for ideas.

  • Purchase costume, if one is required.

  • Line up party helpers, e.g., favorite baby sitter, friends, relatives, etc. to assist with set-up and clean-up, food preparation and serving, and games and activities.

  • Inventory your tables, chairs, coolers, serving dishes, and tableware. Reserve needed items with party rental company.

To avoid confusion, remember to check off completed items on your party planning checklist as you go along.


  • Order cake unless you plan to make one.

  • Order balloons.

  • Call anyone who hasn't RSVP'd so you will have final count.

  • Confirm entertainment reservation, if any.

  • Confirm location reservation, if any.

  • Pick-up any tables, chairs, serving dishes, coolers, etc. that you are borrowing.

  • Gather music to be used at party and be sure CD player works properly.

  • Do a dry-run of any party games or activities that you are unfamiliar with or unsure about how to play.

  • Prepare any food that can be made ahead and frozen.

  • Buy nonperishable food, drinks, and garbage bags.


  • Do heavy cleaning.

  • Make sure camera and camcorder batteries are fully charged and that equipment works.

  • Complete grocery shopping.

  • If necessary, get cash to pay helpers, entertainers, etc.

  • Prepare favor bags.

  • If possible, set-up any crafts or activities.

Just a little reminder--double check to make sure you have checked off your completed items on your party planning checklist.


  • Clean bathrooms and party area.

  • Hang decorations except for balloons and outdoor decorations.

  • Put away anything you don't want little fingers touching or that might present a hazard to guests.

  • Bake cookies and treats and prepare any food that can be made ahead of time.

  • Make cake if you didn't order one.

  • Pick-up equipment rentals if possible day before party.
  • Set-up party room(s).

  • Thaw frozen party foods the day before party.

  • If ordering food, e.g., pizza or Chinese, call to place order and arrange delivery time.


  • Set out serving pieces and set table.

  • Coordinate any last minute arrangements with caterers.

  • Pick-up cake and ice.

  • Pick-up balloons and/or inflate them and place in party room.

  • Pick-up equipment rentals if not previously done.

  • Confirm food order.

  • Decorate outdoor areas.


  • For an outside party, if bugs or mosquitoes are a problem, spray yard several hours before party.

  • For an outside party burn citronella candles and have mosquito spray available.

  • Set out party favors.

  • Place crafts, supplies, and prizes near activity locations.
  • Set-up games.

  • Complete food preparation.

  • Check bathrooms, touch-up, and ensure sufficiently supplied.


  • Place trash containers around party room. Clearly mark recycle containers.

  • Put birthday candles and lighter by cake.

  • Put paper and pen near gift station to record giver of each gift for thank you's.

  • Put pets in area away from party.

  • Get yourself and birthday child ready for party.

  • Set-up food.

  • Tie balloons on mailbox and hang outside banners.


  • Pay helpers, entertainment, etc.

  • Clean-up and put everything away.

  • Return any rental equipment.

  • Develop film or download photos and send one with thank you's.

  • Have child prepare thank you's to guests, helpers, entertainers, etc.


Now that your party is well on its way to becoming a wonderful memory, you still have your work cut out for you to wind things up in an orderly fashion. Therefore, be sure to not throw the party planning checklist away quite yet. You will want to refer to it so you leave no "after party" task undone. This little checklist will serve as a nagging reminder to do specific tasks, so you can finish up and perhaps start planning your next soiree!

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