Party Planning Timetable
Here are some ways to plan before the party from eight weeks to hours before.
6 to 8 Weeks
Select a date, time and location.
Decide on the number of guests and develop a guest list.
If desired, book an entertainer, such as a clown or magician.
Choose a theme.
If you want personalized invitations, place the order so that they arrive at least 3 weeks before the party.
3 to 4 Weeks
Prepare invitations and mail or hand-deliver them.
Put your guest list near the phone so you can easily record responses as invitees call to RSVP.
Shop for supplies.
Ask a favorite babysitter, friend or relative to help.
2 to 3 Weeks
Select 3-6 activities to entertain children.
Buy supplies needed for the activities.
If serving a meal, decide on the menu.
Order a cake (unless you plan to bake one).
A Week Ahead
Call any invitees who have not responded.
Decide on the agenda for the party, including the order of your selected activities, what time you want to serve food and/or cake, and if it’s a birthday party, when the birthday boy or girl will open presents.
Try any games or activities with which you are unfamiliar.
2 to 3 Days
Buy groceries or any pre-prepared food.
Put the favor bags together. If you do a craft, that can be the favor.
Charge your video camera and/or put fresh batteries in your regular or digital camera.
Prepare crafts that can be set up ahead of time.
Bake cookies or treats.
The Day Before the Party
Clean the party area. Put away items that may be dangerous or distracting.
Bake or pick up the cake.
If ordering food such as pizza, call to arrange a delivery time.
Confirm with the entertainer and/or any helpers who you’ve asked to attend.
Sit down with your child and discuss his or her expectations for the next day.
4 to 5 Hours
Set the table and decorate.
If you are planning a birthday party, put the candles on the cake and place matches nearby.
Get balloons filled/pick up pre-filled latex or Mylar balloons.
If you’re having the party at home, tie some balloons to the mailbox or the front porch to help mark the location.
Place crafts and prizes near the activity location(s).
Locate paper and a pencil for recording gifts (for thank-you notes).
1 to 2 Hours Before the Party
Consider putting pets in an area away from guests.
Get the birthday boy or girl and all siblings dressed for the party.
Set up the first activity.
Set up the food.
Ways to Cut Costs Without Cutting Value:
- Hold the party at home.
- Avoid traditional meal times by holding the party between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and only serve dessert.
- Bake your own cake (or cupcakes) instead of purchasing premade treats.
- Make and hand-deliver your own invitations or send electronic invites.
- Ask a favorite babysitter or family member to help with games activities instead of hiring an entertainer.
- Combine your child’s party with a friend who has a birthday in the same month.
Sidebar Source: Birthday in a Box, birthdayinabox.com