Party Planning Success: 5 Top Tips + Free Downloadable Checklist

It’s party season! If you’re planning any holiday parties this season (or any time of year), then I want to let you in on my secret to staying organized: it’s my Party Planning Worksheet! I love to throw a good party but I also like to be organized and not be running around like crazy trying to get things done. So several years ago after realizing that my “To-Do” list always seemed to look about the same, I decided to type it up so that all I needed to do was print it and fill it out as my guide to staying on track. It also helps others helping me (i.e. my husband and kids!) to know how they can help out too. I like to print it on colored paper just to make it more fun–it is a party afterall! And I print it double-sided so that all the information I need is handy.

Here are my top five tips for staying organized AND throwing a fabulous bash!

Start early! When you’ve got a plan you can do a little bit of the prep work each week rather than stressing down to the wire. Ahead of time you can: plan the menu, make your guest list, do a little housework, pull out serving trays, make ahead food for the freezer and more!

Choose a theme. Helps you focus and stay on track. Even if that theme is just color scheme, you’ll be able to get a lot more done when you know what the end result should be.

Involve the guests. Do it yourself food bars like cocktail stations, make-your-own taco or baked potato bar. Ask close friends for their help and if others offer, accept it! Many friends are happy to arrive a little early to help with prep work or even by bringing a dish to share.

Do your cooking ahead of time (or as much of it as you can). There are tons of foods that you can make ahead—either just enough for a few hours before the party starts to well ahead of time for the freezer. A couple of ideas include: Cranberry Amaretto Chutney or these Beef Crostini with Balsamic Drizzle and Parmesan Crisps Doing a baked potato bar? Make your baked potatoes in the slowcooker!

Go Green with Partyware: You can buy inexpensive sets of clear glassware and basic silverware (both of which goes with every theme) at discount stores like Target & Walmart. I’ve also found lots of neat sets at garage or tag sales. My mom once came across an estate sale from a former caterer! Talk about a great way to get some good deals on great serving ware! You’ll not only save money in the long run but you’ll also be saving the planet! Lots of kids coming to the party? There are tons of neat melamine plates and bowls on the market now that will ease your mind when it comes to breakability.

No room to store all those extras? Set up a “library” of serving ware with friends and family so that you can borrow and share what you need without having to store it all. And be sure to reciprocate when you can!

Don’t forget to “>download the free Party Planning Checklist that I use. It will get you started towards Party Planning Success. Still on the fence about throwing a fabulous bash? Don’t be. Check out my book review from the Reluctant Entertainer and you’ll soon realize things don’t need to be perfect to have a fun time with family and friends. Happy planning and I hope you have a great party!


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