How this Birthday Party Checklist Will Help You Organise a Great Party (Even When You Lack The Time)

A birthday party checklist is not only helpful as a last-minute checker, it will help your planning stay on track. Because without it –

  • Your party ideas will start to fall apart
  • You’ll lose track of everything you need to do
  • You’ll start to lose the enthusiasm for your party

Given you already have a busy life, it’s even more vital a checklist is in place. That way, it’ll feel like you’re getting party stuff done.

I’m going to share with you the type of checklist I use (which you can also use for other parties) – as well as explain the 5 essentials you need to think about, when planning your event.

But there’s one thing you need to do before we start.

Birthday party checklist - postit notes

Pre-plan your party first

Before we get down to the 5 essentials, you need to have at least thought about your party.

  • Who are you going to invite? And how many?
  • What’s the date of your party?
  • What can you realistically afford?
  • Where’s the venue?
  • How much time can you realistically commit to organizing?

Your guest of honour is the key. Who they are will determine how much splash (and cash) your party will need.

  • Outgoing extrovert types, for instance, might enjoy a loud party. Introverts may prefer a dinner party
  • Throwing a big tented bash will be more significant cost-wise than a simple BBQ at a friends’ place
  • Time of week also matters. Birthdays held on Wednesdays will be different to those on a weekend night

You need to be realistic when it comes to budget and time. Going over budget or under-estimating your planning time will lead to stress.

So think about all the above first, just to get clear in your mind of what to expect. Jot down a few notes.

Once done, we can move onto the 5 essential areas on your birthday party checklist.

1. Choose whether to theme your party

Because your life is busy, your safest bet is to theme your party. Everything – invitations, food, decoration, games – are all tied to your theme, making it quicker to plan.

Themes can still be hard work, as you try to live up to your ideas.

But for your birthday star, it’ll make their party even more memorable, especially if you create a theme around one of their hobbies. From your guests’ point of view, themes are like going on a vacation.

2. Decide on your entertaining

The next step in your party checklist is to decide how to keep the guests happy. Some questions you might be asking yourself could include: will you hire a DJ? Will you include party games? How many games to include? Get some clarity by using this party entertainment ideas guide

3. Party games are essential

Without a doubt, party games will keep things lively and break the ice faster. Guests will expect games so provide them.

Pick games that suit people’s personality; that way, they’ll be happy to join in. Here are some ideas: fun games, silly, birthday.

4. Decide your party food based on your party style

This is as important as games are on your birthday party checklist. Here, it relates to how you’ll organize the food, rather than what menu to choose.

  • If you’re throwing an intimate birthday, then consider a sit-down meal
  • Invited loads of people and prefer them mingling? Choose a finger buffet
  • Having a spring birthday? Consider some of these Spring party ideas

Once decided, plan your food (and drink) choices and prepare in advance.

5. Post-party – party favors

Sending folks home with party favors is a nice way to round off the night. Favors can be pre-bought or homemade. They can include little snacks, trinkets or chocolates.

What you need to throw a winning party

There are a lot of tasks involved in these 5 areas. The birthday party checklist you’re about to use groups different tasks together.

During any given week, all you need to do is the tasks set for that week, ignoring the rest ‘til they’re needed. The tasks have also been spread across 6 weeks, to make things even easier.

You will need a diary for the checklist to fully work for you.

How to use the checklist

The success of this checklist is based on you working backwards from the party date. The tasks are spread over 6 weeks like this –

  • 6 weeks before the party – then 4 weeks before – then 2 weeks before – 1 week before – 2-3 days before – and on the day

Here’s an example of how the tasks will be spread.

Say your party date is June 26.

  • So the activities to complete on the day are done on June 26
  • Then the activities to do 2-3 days before will on be June 23 or 24
  • The activities to complete 1 week before? June 19
  • 2 weeks before? June 12
  • 4 weeks? May 29
  • 6 weeks before? May 15 – which is the day you start

Now use your birthday party checklist with your dates.

  • Work out your dates first
  • Then refer to the checklist and fill in tasks relevant to those dates. For example – “deciding guests and menu” happens 6 weeks before your party. Invites go out at 4 weeks
  • You may choose to do all the tasks of a particular week in one day or spread them over that week – it’s up to you
  • But it’s important that all the tasks are finished in their specific week: no leftovers for next week. (Otherwise you’ll have stress!)

Why this checklist works

Once the tasks are in your diary, you’ll have instant peace of mind. You can see what needs doing, alongside your other social and work life activities, on any given day.

Your party will stay on track, along with your enthusiasm for it.