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Throwing a party can be a little stressful, especially if you are busy with work, family and life.  Here are some tips and tricks to minimize the the stress in getting yourself organized. It’s a simple checklist that I think you’ll find very useful. It’s broken down into days rather than the day-of-the-party.  It’s a great outline for planning your party fun!

Plan the tables and settings and center pieces.  Do you have enough dishes, cutlery, glassware?  If not buy enough or rent them. (You can rent glasses, tables, chairs, and tablecloths for home parties. If you decide to rent, you don’t have to wash a thing.)

What is your theme or color scheme?  Do you need special flowers?  Talk to a florist, bring your own vases if necessary.

Check tablecloths and napkins for stains: Launder or iron if needed.

Do you have enough chairs for everyone?  Do you need a table for children?

Do you need some extra help with the bar or need waitstaff to serve?  Ask someone at your favorite restaurant to work for you!


Clean the house, arrange the furniture, remove furniture if necessary. This gives you time to consider seating arrangements, people flow.

Clean your refrigerator and keep some shelves free. Clean the clutter from your kitchen counter because you will need the extra counter space.

If it’s a cocktail party, set up the bar!  Put out liquor, mixes, bar tools, glassware, ice bucket, cocktail napkins, and anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.  Put wine and champagne in the refrigerator. Buy ice (or make it and put it in baggies).

For a dinner party, set the table with centerpiece, cutlery, plates, glassware, napkins, salt and pepper shakers, utensils. Organize cups for coffee and dessert too (plus utensils). Organize serving dishes with utensils and label them with a post-it note.

Pick your party music – make playlists. Parties need music with variety!  Music is sooo important.

Place candles around where you want them and have matches handy.

Put spare vase(s) in a nearby cupboard for flowers from your guests.

Check the closet where coats will be hung. Is there enough space and hangers?


Bake desserts and side dishes that can be refrigerated. If there is some prep to do before tomorrow’s party get it done (chopping veggies, lining pie plates with dough, etc.)  If having the party catered, double check with the caterer about delivery times and confirm price.

Create your timetable for cooking to be done on the day of the party so everything is coordinated at the same time.

Decide what to wear, check to see if it needs ironing. Shoes, stockings, etc.

Mentally take yourself through the party. Walk through the room, check for any “obstacles” and do any rearranging.


Have a good breakfast.

You should have your food prep organized and know when you will begin cooking. Cook according to your planned schedule.

Walk through the house, fluff pillows, put away any paper piles and clothes clutter.

Clean the front walk/step.

Set your timer for 30 minutes before the party begins.  IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO GET DRESSED!!

Just before your guests arrive, walk outside then back in and check for any odors.

Light the candles.

Turn on the music. Adjust the lights.

Take a deep breath, exhale slowly and have fun!

If there are children, assign them jobs to greet guests, take coats, help prepare the younger guests for dinner.




•tablecloth + napkins (linen or paper?)

•extra cutlery for different dishes

•glasses (water, wine)

•you can clear the table between the main course and dessert

•make sure everything is ready for dessert. Does it require extra cutlery?

•Then coffee/tea + utensils, cream and sugar

Will you have after dinner drinks? Make sure your glasses are ready.








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