ParentClick Santa Barbara

Party Planning Timeline


Tips for creating a manageable timeline if you are throwing a party.

6-8 weeks before the Party

  • Decide on a party theme with your child. Write down your ideas and make sure you feel it is something you can pull off.
  • Decide on a venue for this party (home, the park, a local business, etc.)
  • Set a date.
  • Decide on invitations… if you will be mailing them, you can order photo cards or other great printed invitations online. You can also by stock invitations at most stationery stores. If you will be emailing your invitations, you have a little more time and there are great online e-invitations that do not cost anything.
  • Put together a guest list.
  • Book any entertainment or needed rentals.

3-6 weeks before the Party

  • Send out the invitations via email or snail mail. (Include the location/directions, start and end time, and the party theme.) Be sure to include the party’s start and end time, your phone number, directions to the party location and the party’s theme.
  • Put together your party schedule and list out your activities, crafts or games. Decide on any additional supplies you will need.
  • Purchase party supplies, candles for the cake, paper goods, decorations, and party favors.

2 weeks before the Party

  • Put together a menu. (If it is a drop off party without parents, the food can be simpler).
  • Order the cake or choose a recipe if you will be baking the cake.

3-7 days before the Party

  • Follow up with any guests that have not responded to the invitation. Do a final count for how many are expected to attend.
  • Order balloons and flowers.

2 days before the Party

  • Grocery shop for the food and drinks.
  • Wrap birthday gifts.
  • Prep any crafts or activities for the party.

1 day before the Party

  • Make sure you have charged your camera and video so you are set to take photos.
  • Confirm with the entertainment, bakery or any other vendors you are expecting for the party.

Day of the Party

  • Prepare the food (order the pizza), pick up the cake, etc.
  • For younger children, it can help to have them take a nap before the party so they are rested and this gives you more time to prepare.
  • Pick up balloons and the cake.
  • Decorate the house.
  • Set up any games or crafts.


  • Clean up
  • Thank you notes
December 31, 2014

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