Feel free to print this page to help things go more smoothly as you prepare for your upcoming party. This guide is for "normal people"...I honestly start months and months in advance in order to score better deals, avoid rush charges, and so that I am not stressing the week of the party. Adjust the timeline as you see fit!

At least 6 weeks prior to the party:

*Determine your party budget. Even a one year old's party can get out of hand in a hurry.

*Pick a theme with your child. Try to make it something that you BOTH can get excited about!

*Create a guest list.

*Decide where you will throw your party. Reserve a location if you're having it outside of your home.

*Set the date and time for your party. Keep in mind your child's age as well as the ages of the other children attending the party.

*If you plan on having some kind of entertainment, remember to book early! Good entertainers are in high demand.

*Order your invitations. Remember to include how you would like the guests to RSVP to best plan for the number of guests to expect. Ordering matching thank yous will save you a headache later!

*Start looking for an outfit that will compliment your theme for your child. This may be something that you already own, but you will like your pictures better if the outfit doesn't fight with the colors of your party.

*Start thinking about the decorations that would be appropriate for your party venue. Keep in mind the amount of space you have and how you will use each decoration.

At least one month prior to the party:

*Purchase party decorations.

*Send invitations.

*Purchase plates, napkins, cups, silverware, tablecloths, etc. They may take a while if you order them online. Also think of serving trays and bowls and pick up any that you might need.

*Order an rentals that you may need.

At least two weeks prior to the party:

*Order the cake or cupcakes.

* Finalize the menu and make a grocery list. Don't forget the beverages.

*Decide on what you will give for party favors. Assemble them now so that you'll have less to do when the party gets closer.

*Purchase any supplies needed for activities, music, and games that you'll play at the party.

At least one week prior to the party:

*Order balloons.

*Shop for groceries that you can buy ahead of time and make a list of the perishable items you'll need to buy right before the party. Don't forget candles for the cake!

*Contact those who haven't RSVP'd.

*Charge your camera and ask another adult who will be at the party to bring their camera as well. I have NEVER had a party where I myself got the pictures I wanted...I am always too busy running around. Be specific with that person what types of pictures you'd like them to take.

*Confirm all reservations and orders.

The day prior to the party:

*Pick up the cake. (This can also be done the day of, whichever is easiest for you.)

*Confirm all arrangements by phone.

*Shop for all perishable groceries or last minute items. Don't forget beverages!

*Make sure the beverages are refrigerated.


*Lay out all serving trays and silverware. Plan how you will set the food up to best serve your guests and make it easy as possible for you to set up and clean up.

*Set up and decorate a table close to the door with the favors on them. That way you can easily have guests pick one up on their way out.

*Designate a table or spot where guests will put the gifts.

* Lay out clothes for everyone for party day. Then even husbands can help get kids dressed during last minute preperations!!

*Make any food that can be made in advance.

The day of the party:

*Pick up balloons.

*Pick up the cake if you didn't do that yesterday.

*Prepare any food that needs to be made the day of the party.

*Do last minute decorating.

*Set the table.

*Do a last minute once over to make sure things are where you want them.

*TRY to relax and enjoy the party.