In most of my party planning books, there are guides at the back dedicated to helping you figure out how far in advance you need to do something in order to prepare for your soiree.
To be honest, most of them make me feel more anxious than motivated, and I break out in a cold sweat when I see that I was supposed to send out ‘save the dates’ eight weeks prior to a birthday bash.
Having said that, I do think a little structure is a good thing when it comes to organizing yourself for hosting duties. And a schedule is imperative when it comes to the shopping and food prep, which should be done in advance when possible.
Here is my simplified party planning guide, one that will hopefully keep you on task without causing you to feel sickly when you look at your to-do list.
Four to Five Weeks in Advance
Choose a party theme (if there is one).
Pick a date.
Three Weeks in Advance
Make a guest list.
Two Weeks in Advance
Outline the menu.
Plan games and activities.
One Week in Advance
Put together party favors.
Bake cake and store in the freezer.
Wrap the present (if there is one).
One to Three Days in Advance
Make shopping lists.
Prepare all make-ahead foods.
Make icing (if needed).
The Day of the Party
Pick up the cake if you’ve ordered one.
Finish cooking and decorating.