Party Planning Checklist Back to Articles
Organized house? Check. Delicious food? Check. Calm and collected host? Check!
This handy guide can help you tackle party planning easily and efficiently, from the moment you select a theme until the first guest walks through the door.
(1 month ahead for a formal party; 2 weeks ahead for a casual gathering)
__Select the date, place and style of the party.
__Assemble the guest list.
__Plan the menu.
__For formal parties, mail invitations. For casual parties, email invitations or invite guests by telephone. For a modern take, send free email invitations found online.
__Decide on the table settings, decorations, centerpieces and music.
__Make arrangements for any items you need to rent or borrow.
In the Groove
(1 to 2 weeks ahead)
__ To get an accurate head count, follow up with guests who have not yet responded.
__Do preliminary housecleaning, particularly time-consuming tasks. Make sure all necessary appliances function. If you’re grilling, don’t forget to buy charcoal or fill the gas canister.
__Compile your Publix shopping list. Be sure to include items such as matches, candles and liquor. And don’t forget ice! Use our helpful reminder list.
__Ensure that table linens are clean and ready to use. Decide on tableware and serving pieces, and wash infrequently used items. If you plan to use disposable paper or plastic plates or utensils, take inventory and add what you need to your shopping list.
__Order special flowers, party trays, meats, seafood and other essential ingredients from your neighborhood Publix.
__Begin assembling do-it-yourself decorations or centerpieces.
__If possible, prepare and freeze some foods ahead of time.
(2 to 3 days ahead)
__Shop for everything but the most perishable items.
__After shopping, recheck your recipes to make sure you have everything you need.
__Plan your cooking timetable.
__Prepare nonperishable items such as snack mixes.
(1 day ahead)
__Shop for perishable and last-minute items.
__Tidy up the house as necessary.
__Decide where guests will mingle and make sure there’s enough seating and room to move about. Prepare an area for stashing guests’ personal items such as purses and umbrellas.
__If possible, arrange and set your table(s) and serving area(s).
__Prepare as many recipes and ingredients as possible. For example, chop vegetables and refrigerate them until needed. Some chores, such as cleaning salad greens, should wait until party day.
__Thaw frozen items in the refrigerator if they’re perishable.
(Day of the party)
__Walk through the house for a final cleaning check.
__Pick up party trays and deli and bakery items from your neighborhood Publix.
__Prepare foods according to your timetable so everything is ready on time. (Wash dishes as you go to save cleanup time later. Run the dishwasher and unload so it’s ready for party dishes.)
__Make sure all served-cold foods and beverages are the proper temperature by party time.
(1 hour ahead)
__Put the final flourishes on the meal and tables.
__Clear a spot for placing used dishes, and provide an easily accessible place for disposing of garbage.
__Set out nonperishable appetizers or snacks.
Ready, Set, Go
(5 to 15 minutes ahead)
__Open wine and unwrap cheeses. Set out the remaining appetizers and snacks.
__Light candles and turn on music.
__Relax and get ready for an enjoyable event!