Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Once I decide to throw a party, 1,000 thoughts run through my mind. From small-scale gatherings to weddings, I know how important it is to stay organized. This list will walk you through basic planning tips for hosting your next house party.
Create a Master To-Do List.
This is my most important tip. Don’t create this list in your head! Write down everything you hope
to have at your party. This list might be super long, this is fine.
Once you finish your to-do list, you will go through the list again and ask at each bullet “Will having this at my party make it better?” This will help trim your long-ass list of wishes into more manageable tasks.
Include your menu: appetizers, main course, dessert.
If you are asking people to bring things, write it down on this list, exactly what they are bringing.
If you are catering, write down what you’re catering and where and what time the pickup or delivery is.
Include if you need to move furniture around, for example
Include what décor style you want and what items you will need to buy or make to fit the theme. Facebook groups are great for finding and buying second-hand products!
Create Your Shopping List.
Now that you’ve crossed items out that “Won’t make your party any better if it’s there”, your list should be a bit smaller and include just your most important must-have items. Dive into the menu and write out all the ingredients you’ll need to shop for. Don’t forget to check for condiments, lemon and lime. Even if it’s a dry party, some people like lemon in their diet coke or lime in their seltzer! Don’t forget to make sure you have cleaning supplies such as paper towels for party day too. I know this sounds like an obvious thing to do but don't delay in checking for items in your closet and start shopping. This will also allow you to shop for the best deals.
Create a Timeline for the Party.
I will always recommend hiring servers for about 4 hours during a party so that you can welcome your guests and be in some pictures! You also won’t have to deal with the major cleanup. You might be surprised that servers are not very expensive! If you don’t hire a server or two, there is always that family member or friend that will help out. Creating a timeline for the party will help paint the overall picture to your helpers on how to execute it. Or, if you don’t have helpers and you are running this thing on your own, it will help keep your mind clear so you can get mingling with your guests! Here is one of my example timelines from a party of my own. This timeline can be used for your party too, just adapt the details to fit yours!
Use Sticky Notes.
If you don’t have sticky notes, feel free to be creative! A piece of paper with tape will work too. Just don’t create an excuse that you don’t have sticky notes because this tip is golden. Before party day, get all of your serving plates and trays ready ahead of time. Label them with your sticky notes. For example “Lays Chips” or “Shredded Lettuce” or “Black Olives” Take out your serving utensils too and place them in or next to the bowls or trays. This will save you time or if you have hired help, they will truly appreciate it! Of course, make sure your chips and other items are in a visible spot as well. Don’t forget that your helpers may not know the ins and outs of your closets.
Have your Guests Help with the Cleanup.
For the most part, I think all guests want to try and keep your space tidy. This is difficult sometimes when they are not familiar with the house to know the garbage is in a middle drawer under your beautiful island. Take a clean garbage can and place it someplace noticeable for guests. It doesn’t need to be ugly. You can dress it up! The most important thing is that your guests see the garbage and recycling bin so they can place their used items in it instead of leaving it on the counters (or floor…)
It can be easy to forget the reason you are having a party. You want to have fun and this starts at the planning process! All the above steps keeps my mind at peace knowing I did my job working hard to plan the details. Once it is party-time it always falls into place because of the careful organization. Don’t get overwhelmed, enjoy your guests and know everything will always work out!!
I hope you find this short list useful. I promise it will help organize the process of hosting a house party if you follow each step. Please let me know which tips you use, or if you have any of your own! In a future post, I will share a detailed guide on Wedding Planning Organization!