This is part of the Party Primer Series. Answers to all of your party and event planning questions.
There are no set rules when it comes to establishing a timeline for your party planning. I know, that’s not such great advice. In general, the larger and more complicated the event, the earlier you’re going to want to begin the planning process.
The most important factor when deciding your timeline is the type of party you’re having. This will help you determine your time frame Some of these things will seem natural, you wouldn’t send out invitations before deciding on a location or theme. Other ideas will hopefully give you some insight into how to save yourself time and organize for a stress-free event.
I have put together sample timelines for two types of parties that each require a different level of detail. I hope this gives you a good idea of all the things that need to be done as well as the approximate timing.
For large parties that will take place outside of your home, or involve a lot of rental items (like tents, tables and chairs) you’ll want to start planning at least 4-6 months in advance. If the location you’d like to us is a popular one, you may want to start even sooner. These events are usually milestone anniversaries or birthdays, showers, baptisms, communions, retirements, graduations, and family reunions. They have a large guest list and a lot of details, so allowing yourself a good window of time will save you from stress and headache as the event nears.
For smaller parties, like birthdays and holidays, planning begins about two months ahead of time. Again, if its not being held in your home, you may need to book the location earlier than this, but you shouldn’t need to do too much else until about two months before the party.
Casual events like brunches and dinner parties that focus more on good food and good company than a lot of little details, can be planned in just a few days (or a few hours in some cases) thought I usually like to give myself a week or two.
I didn’t put together a formal timeline for the casual party, because its something we’ll discuss later on, and its much simpler to put together an event like this than either of the other two.
Once you’ve figured out the time frame you’ll be working with, you’ll look at all the things that need to be done and determine the best times to do them. I know this sounds simple and almost silly, but you’d be surprised how few people actually write down what they need to do and keep track of their schedule. I think that lack of a timeline in the beginning is the biggest cause of stress and trouble as a party draws near. The most important thing when it comes to party planning is to enjoy yourself! Parties are fun, remember?