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The 8 Step Party Planning Checklist Explained

• When you organise a party do you ever consider following a checklist?

• Are you someone that dreads holding a party because you have no idea where to start the planning?

• Do you even know where to start with the planning?


If the thoughts of planning a party is taking all the excitement out of the event, then you have come to the right place!

Planning a party can be a breeze if you follow the 8 step party planning checklist!

It doesn’t matter what style of party you wish to hold, the basic principles of the organisation is always the same.  Once you have mastered this, you will be the party planning guru of all your friends and family.

So, what is the party planning checklist?

Lets take a look at each of the 8 steps.

1. The Party Budget:

It is amazing how many people don’t consider setting themselves a budget for their party and then wonder why they spent so much!

Before you do anything – you MUST set yourself a budget.  This will guide all your decisions here-on and will ensure that you don’t become stressed by the financial cost.

Parties don’t have to be expensive, but you will find the process a lot more enjoyable if you know how much you have to spend right from the word go.  You want to enjoy this process, not worrying about the receipts piling up!

It doesn’t matter whether you spend $50 or $500, your party will be successful if you have spent some time planning it.

2. The PLOT (People, LOcation & Time):

To PLOT your party, you need to consider the following;

People: How big do you want the party to be?

It is a good idea to make a list of who you are going to invite.

LOcation: The number of people you wish to have at your party will have a bearing on the location.

Make sure that the location is appropriate for both you and  your guests.  It needs to be the right size, not too big or small.

> How close is the party location to your guests residence?

> Does the location need to be child friendly?

It is worth spending a bit of time thinking about your location, to make sure that it is right.

Also think back to your budget and whether you have any money to spend on a venue or whether it needs to be at your home.

Your budget and number of people attending will greatly influence the location you choose.


The time of your party will greatly influence the overall feel.

> Do you want to have a daytime or an evening party?

> Will you be having children at the party, in which case you don’t want it to be too late in the evening.

> Do you want the feel to be more of a casual day time or an evening “night on the town” feel?

Pick the time that is going to suit you, and the guests you are inviting, and build the party details around this.

3. The Theme:

The theme is where your party planning checklist starts to get exciting!

The theme gives your party the ‘wow’ factor.

There are so may themes that you could choose from, and with a little bit of thought, you will easily be able to find one to meet your needs perfectly.

• Stuck for ideas?

How about:

 Masquerade party

 Specific era of time

 Black and white

 Murder mystery

 Hot red


Use your imagination and you will be surprised at what ideas spring to mind.

4. The Invitations:

The invitations often become overlooked when planning a party,  but the party planning checklist ensures that you have this covered!

The invitation gives your guests the first impression of your party. What impression do you want to give?

If your party is a casual affair, you may consider that a verbal invitation would suffice.

If your party is more formal, you may wish to have a ‘paper’ invitation which people can visually see and remind themselves of the event.

There are numerous ways that you can invite people to your party including verbally, Facebook, SMS, email, handmade invitations, bulk purchased or custom designed.

Take a moment to think back to your budget and your theme, and tailor your invitations accordingly.

It is however important to remember that if you want to have guests at your party, you need to first invite them!

5. The Decorations:

Step 5 of the party planning checklist: The decorations, is where you will have a lot of fun!

The decorations you choose will have a huge influence to the feel of your party and it is essential that you link this to the theme that you have chosen.

You don’t need to spend a huge amount on your decorations and you will often find that places like Spotlight, the Reject shop and the $2 shop have plenty of items that you can use.  There are also many party stores available if you have the cash to spend.

If you are a bit unsure of where to start with planning your decorations, why not visit a local party store and just spend some time walking around.  There will be lots of ideas to get your imagination working and if all else fails, you can always speak to one of the staff members who will be able to help you with lots of ideas.  I guarantee you will leave the store feeling re-energised and ready to set up those decorations!!

6. Activities:

I can already hear you questioning this step of the party planning checklist!  Activities? Why do I need activities?

To put it simply – the activities is what will give your party a focal point.

I don’t mean that you have to go and organise ‘party games’, but you do need to have something for your guests to focus on.

A focal point could be as simple as having a ball pit set up for the kids, or a cocktail bar for guests to experiment with.

Have a think about who will be coming to your party and what will keep them entertained.

The last thing you want is to have bored kids running around, or people leaving your party because they don’t know anyone and have been standing by themselves for the past half hour.

Keep your guests entertained and your guests will stay at the party!

What will get your guests relaxing and interacting with each other?  If your guests are enjoying themselves, then you will too!

7. Food and Drinks:

Think back to step 1 of the party planning checklist: The budget.

> How much money have you allocated to spend on your food and drinks?

The food you provide could vary from a few bags of peanuts to a full dinner spread.  What you decide to do for this, will  relate back to the budget, the PLOT and the theme.

> Will you be doing all the catering yourself or will you ask people to bring a plate to share?

> Will you provide all the alcohol or ask people to BYO (bring their own)?

If you are on a tight budget it would be a good idea to ask people to bring some drinks and even a plate of food to share.  You will find that people often expect to bring their own drinks and are more than happy to bring some snacks too…..but make sure you specify this on your invitation!

8. The Music:

It is not possible to forget the music at the party.  This is after all what creates the party ambiance.

You want to make sure that the ambiance is right, so it is important to plan your music ahead of time.

You wouldn’t want to have techno music playing at a children’s party, but at the same time you wouldn’t want Ministry of Sound playing at a Hawaiian theme party.

Think back to your theme and what you are trying to create and choose your music accordingly.

Music can always be downloaded from the internet for a very reasonable price, so there is no excuse for not having appropriate music, even for the budget conscious!!

This has been a brief explanation to the 8 steps of the party planning checklist.  They do however need to be discussed in a lot more detail, so if you need some assistance with one particular aspect, be sure to read that specific post.

> Are you now feeling a bit more comfortable with the task ahead?

> Are you excited?



Thanks for reading.











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2 Responses to The 8 Step Party Planning Checklist Explained

  1. Maria October 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    I love the tinkerbell inspired free printables. I would like to purchase the printable invitation that goes with that theme, but couldn’t find one here. I’m doing a fairy party for my daughter but not a specific tinker bell theme. Do you have an invitation with the green, pink, and white polka dot theme that I can purchase?

    • Catherine Holt October 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

      Hi Maria. I’m really pleased to hear that you are enjoying those printables 🙂 An invitation was not designed at the time to go with those printables, but I would be happy to sort something for you! Please email me at so we can chat! Thanks

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