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Are you planning a party? Whether for a birthday, anniversary, or just a get-together with friends, parties can be a lot of fun.

But they can also be a lot of work! There are many things to consider when planning a party: the food, the decor, the entertainment – the list goes on. 

In this article, the lavender bake shop in Berkeley puts together this comprehensive party planning checklist to help make the process easier for you!

Planning a party: factors to consider

When you start planning your party, there are a few factors you need to consider. Here are some of the most essential:

The occasion

Ask what the occasion for the party is. This will help you determine the overall tone and feel of the event. For example, a child's birthday party will differ greatly from an adult's.

The occasion will be your main guide in planning the party, so getting this right from the start is important.

The guest list

Who will you be inviting to the party? This is a critical question to ask, as it will dictate many of the other details of the event. 

For example, if you're inviting a large group of people, you'll need to plan accordingly regarding food, drink, and space.

A good tip is to list all the people you want to invite and start crossing off names until you get to a manageable number. 

Doing so will help you stay within your budget and avoid potentially stressful situations. You can also check out creating the perfect guest list for ideas. 

The budget

How much money do you have to spend on the party? This is an important question, as it will determine how lavish (or not) you can be with your plans. Once you know your budget, you can start planning the specifics of the event.

For example, if you have a large budget, you may be able to hire a professional caterer or decorator. If your budget is more limited, you'll need to be more creative with your planning.

The date and time of the party

When is the party taking place? This will affect many other details of your event, such as the food you serve (finger foods are more appropriate for parties during the day, while a sit-down meal is better for an evening event) and the type of entertainment you provide.

It's also important to consider the time of year you're planning your party. For example, a summer party will differ greatly from a winter party.

The location of the party

The location will be very important depending on the party you're planning. For example, your home may be the best if you plan a more intimate gathering.

But if you're expecting a large crowd, you'll need to find a venue that can accommodate everyone comfortably.

The theme, if any

While themes aren't necessary for every party, they can be fun. If you choose to have a theme, it will dictate many of the other details of your event, from the decor to the food to the entertainment.

The food and drink menu

Never neglect the food and drink! After all, your guests will need to eat and drink something at the party. Keep in mind any allergies or dietary restrictions when planning the menu.

The entertainment

Do you want a band or DJ playing music at the party? Or perhaps you're planning something more low-key, like a movie night. 

If you plan on renting equipment, be sure to do so well in advance of the party. Here are some event entertainment ideas you can try. 

Party Planning To-Do Checklist

Once you've considered everything, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty and start planning your party. Here's a helpful to-do list to get you started:

Send out invitations.

Since you already have a guest list, this should be relatively easy. Just make sure to send the invitations out with enough time for your guests to RSVP. Around two weeks should be sufficient.

Plan the menu.

If you're hiring a caterer, this step will be much easier. But even if you're not, you'll need to consider what you'll be serving at the party.

Again, take into account any allergies or dietary restrictions. You'll also want to ensure you have enough food and drink to accommodate your guests. A handy tip is to overestimate how much you'll need, as it's better to have too much than not enough.

Another thing is to always prepare ‘safe' food options for those who may not be able to eat the more adventurous items on the menu. Some alternative food options might be:

  • Vegetarian options
  • Fruit
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Chips and dip
  • Sandwiches
  • Cookies or other desserts

Don't forget about non-alcoholic beverages! It would help if you had plenty of water, soda, and juice on-hand for those who don't drink alcohol. And if you plan on serving alcohol, be sure to have enough mixers.

Decide on entertainment.

This will largely depend on the theme of your party, as well as your budget. You can usually find some great entertainment options online if you're on a tight budget.

But if you have a little more to spend, you may want to consider hiring a band or DJ. Just be sure to book them well in advance!

Don't forget the dessert!

While baking desserts on your own is commendable, it will take up too much time, especially if you have plenty of guests. It's best to order small cakes like an Opera cake from a reputable bakery instead.

Check out Lavender Bakery and Cafe in Berkeley for delectable European-inspired desserts!

Get the decorations.

This is where a party theme if you have one, will come in handy. Once you know what kind of decorations you need, it'll be much easier to get what you need.

If you don't have a theme, stick to a general color scheme. Black, white, and gold always look elegant and sophisticated.

Set up the venue.

Go around your chosen venue and make sure everything is in order if you're hosting the party at home, thoroughly clean and move any furniture that might be in the way.

Set up the music or entertainment.

Technical difficulties are the last thing you want to deal with on party day, so ensure everything is set up and working well in advance.

Run  through the event

The day before the party, do a final check of everything to ensure you're prepared. Make a list of anything you still need to do to take care of it quickly and easily.

The day of the party: Last-minute preparations

On the day of the party, there are bound to be last-minute preparations. But try not to stress out! Just take care of anything that needs to be done and enjoy the party. Some last-minute things you may have to do include:

  • Putting out the food- If you're not hiring a caterer, ensure the food is laid out, and ready well before guests arrive.


  • Arranging the seating- If you have enough chairs for everyone, great! If not, improvise with floor cushions or other creative solutions.


  • Turning on the music- This should be one of the first things you do when guests start arriving.


  • Setting up the bar- If you're serving alcohol, set up the bar area and ensure plenty of glasses.


  • Preparing the coffee- If you're serving coffee or tea, ensure it's all set up and ready to go. It would also be great to set it up near the dessert area. 

Additional Party Planning Tips

Here are a few final tips to help you plan the perfect party:

Plan ahead- The more time you have to plan, the better. This will allow you to take care of all the details and avoid last-minute stress.

Delegate tasks- Don't try to do everything yourself! Ask friends or family members to help out with specific tasks.

Final Thoughts

With this party planning checklist, you're sure to throw a fantastic event that everyone will enjoy. Just remember to relax and have fun! After all, it's your party too!



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