Party planning checklist: A step-by-step guide to putting on an awesome event

Who else wants to know how to plan a party with flair? Take the guesswork out of planning your next event with this easy-to-follow party planning checklist. Our venue experts have broken down the essential steps so you can host a memorable event without breaking a sweat. So what are you waiting for? Check out our ultimate party planning to-do list and get organising!

Ultimate Party Planning Checklist:

  • A month before:
    • Write a guest list
      Keep in mind that 70–80 per cent of invitees will typically attend
    • Select a date
      Avoid disappointment by enquiring with multiple venues or being flexible with your event date
    • Determine your budget
      Be realistic – decide where to splurge and where to save
    • Choose a venue
      Save time by using a free venue-finding service like
    • Decide on a theme
      Make decorating easier by hiring an event space that ties in with your choice
    • Book speakers, entertainment or an emcee, if needed
      DJs, live bands and photo booths are all popular options – just make sure to let the venue manager know what you’re planning
    • Invite your guests
      Your invitations should include the date and time, dress code and party theme
    • Organise catering
      Can your caterer accommodate special dietary requirements?

      Hiring a great venue, like Sushisamba in London, should be at the top of your event planning checklist.

  • Three weeks before:
    • Plan the details
      Research Pinterest, blogs and magazines for decoration ideas
    • Place your orders
      Do you need tableware, party favours or a cake?
    • Create a seating plan, if needed
      This is well worth considering if you’re having more than 50 guests
    • Line up some help
      Find out who your go-to person at the venue will be and enlist a few friends to lend a hand on the day

      Barrio Shoreditch is one of London's best Latin bars for hire.

  • A week before:
    • Call or email guests who’ve not yet RSVP’d
    • Finish DIY projects
      Inviting friends over to help out makes for a fun pre-party!
    • Make a party playlist
      Music sets the scene so choose upbeat tracks that’ll keep your guests on the dance floor
    • Confirm all deliveries and pickups
  • The day before:
    • Pick up rentals and flowers
    • Shop for last-minute items
    • Recharge your camera

      The White Swan is a stylish London gastropub for hire.

  • On the day:
    • Decorate
      It’s time to let you inner interior designer go wild! Place flower arrangements and set up the lighting, tables and serving areas (remember not to inflate balloons until 1–2 hours before your event)
    • Queue up your music
    • Welcome your guests!
      Things should be organised, which means you can enjoy your event as much as your party-goers!

      The Lady Ottoline boasts one of the cosiest private dining rooms in Bloomsbury.

  • Bonus tips and tricks:
    • Order thank you notes at the same time as your invitations
      This will save on shipping costs
    • Make sure the bar is well stocked and there’s plenty of ice
      Expect each guest to have 1–2 drinks per hour
    • Hire a venue with a built-in activity
      Booking a fun venue, like a bowling alley or a karaoke bar, will simplify your event planning
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