Now that you know what kind of party you want to plan, it’s time to take concrete steps to achieve it. Your checklist should include these basic things: guests, menu, place, date, budget, and the time you have left to prepare. Be clear about at least one of them to get somewhere in your preparations.
1. Guests. In order to know how much food (and what kind of food) you will serve, you have to know how many guests are coming (and who they are).
2. Menu. Consider the age range of your guests and if some of them have special needs. Plan the menu in such a way that those with special food requirements can still enjoy a filling meal without depriving the others of the usual party delights.
3. Place. Of course, you can’t have a party without a venue. One advantage of holding it at home is you know your turf—so try to make it as guest-friendly as possible: do a good round of cleaning, ensure there are enough seats, play some fine music—oh, and clear your accessible restrooms (especially the cluttered bathroom sink) of personal items.
4. Date. Choose a date by considering the availability of your guests. Family gatherings can be set on Sundays, while a party date with your friends are better set on Friday or Saturday evenings.
5. Budget. Having a small budget doesn’t mean you’ll have a bad party—it just means you need to be more creative!
6. Time to prepare. If you’re having the party at home, make sure you have the time to do some menu planning (3-4 weeks before), intensive house cleaning and decorating (1-2 weeks before), grocery shopping (2-3 days before), cooking (1 day before), and any final arrangements (day itself).