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When I mentioned that my house is currently Party Planning Central, several of you emailed asking for party planning tips. While I am definitely not a professional event planner, I have streamlined my process to find a Party Planning Schedule that works for me, and I am glad to share it with y’all.
Party Planning Schedule
1 month (or more) in advance– The List & The Budget
Begin collecting ideas that fit your theme, palette and occasion. Jordi and I use pinterest as our virtual idea boards (bonus- we can both pin to the same board, so I don’t have to call her nineteen times a day and say, “I saw something that would be PERFECT for your 4th of July party”).
Our lists include- Menu, Decor, Favors and Special Features.
Around the same time, figure out what your party budget is going to be. Our current life situation (with Adam in dental school and me working part time) means that our party budgets are notoriously low. I maintain that it gives me room to problem solve and be creative!
Also, send invites at this time!
About 1 month out- Start Making/Ordering
First, prioritize your list. Decide which features are Absolutely Must Do’s and which ones are in the That’d Be Nice category. A word of advice? Choose one or two Star-of-the-Show decor features and menu items and let the rest of your features be a little more low-key.
Then start working. Gather supplies, make garlands, order the candy for your treat buffet. Just be sure to work first on the things that are most important to you (or your guest of honor if that applies).
This is also a good time to go through your stash of party goods and see if you have anything already-made that’ll work for your event. I have a whole rainbow of paper lanterns and garlands in a Sterilite container. Something from this box gets pulled out for almost every party I throw.
2 weeks out- Whittle
You probably have a growing pile of party stuff in some corner of your craft room. Take inventory of what you have done and compare with your List. Cross items off that you aren’t going to get to, clearing your plate to focus on things that are really important to you. Keep working.
Several days out– Final To Do List (and food!)
Evaluate your lists- what do you still need to do? Did you remember servingware and utensils? Are all of your decor items made? Is there anything you can set up already (if so, do it! The Hello Yellow canopy was up a week before the party just so that I didn’t have to worry about it!)?
Hopefully your menu includes mostly make-ahead (or Just Buy) items. Start making these items! I make it my goal to have all of my food prepared the day before the party.
Day Before and Day of– Clean, Set Up and Final Prep
Your to-do list should be all but crossed off. Now it’s time to get your house ready. As you clean, take the time to set up anything that can be set up. As much as you can get done beforehand, the more smoothly the day-of party prep will go
On the day of the party, finish all of the set up and last minute preparations. Since the food is already (at least mostly) finished and the setup has already started, this day should be pretty low stress, allowing you to focus on making things just-so and interacting with people.
There you have it- my Party Planning Schedule! If you have any specific questions, I’d love to answer them- either leave them in the comments or email us (kojodesigns AT hotmail).
Happy party planning, friends!