How to Organize an Awesome Event – Complete Birthday Party Checklist

birthday party checklist

Get ready to throw the party of the year with our birthday party checklist.

Any event will be a success—without too much stress—if you follow these guidelines.

Throwing a party doesn’t happen every day. It should be a special event. An occasion! A memorable day. But it takes a lot of work and different elements to make it the gathering everyone will talk about this year. Whether for a kid’s or an adult’s event, use our birthday party checklist and the right resources to set up your special day.


Pick Your Theme

Top of the birthday party checklist should be picking out a theme. Finding ways to let all other elements tie into your theme is how you create a day that seems organized and cohesive—and one others will try and copycat.

It’s actually also a way to make everything easier. With so many options in terms of food, décor, dress codes and more, you can simplify decision making by aligning everything with your theme.

Ask questions like:

  • What is the birthday boy or girl’s interests?
  • Does the time of year fit with your theme? Don’t do a beach theme in winter, because no one will know what to wear to be on theme and warm enough at the same time!
  • On a limited budget, what’s an easy theme to use with décor and other party elements you already own?
  • How much time and energy do you want to spend on preparations? Will you pick a theme for which you can buy ready-made décor or do you have time to make unique items?


What’s the Budget?

Decide how much you want to spend on the party and create a budget that includes all the elements below. Doing everything on your birthday party checklist and having the celebration should leave you feeling satisfied—not stressed about money. So, manage finances from the start.


The Where, When and Who

Now decide on the venue. Perhaps your ocean theme prompts you to rent the boat club’s hall or a animal theme inspires your child to have a party at the zoo. Or will you transform your home into the party hub?

Make sure the venue is available on the day you want it, even for hours before the party starts. You need enough time to prepare on site.

Following the venue confirmation, decide on the number of people to invite. The available space AND parking will determine your maximum number of guests.


Sending Invitations & Managing RSVPs

You can go the classic way and send invitations by mail. This is especially smart to set the tone of a classic theme, for example, a 1920s dress up party or a Shakespearean themed event. But do yourself a favor and try resources of the digital age too:

  • Design an invitation on a design platform like Canva. Then share it with potential guests by creating a group on a chat app. You’ll have everyone’s communication and RSVPs in one place.
  • Invite specific people to an event you create on Facebook. You can see all the replies online.
  • Use online invitation websites that help you track RSVPs.


Have a system you can easily manage, so you know who to prepare for. You don’t want the embarrassment of not having enough seats at the table for all your guests.


The Menu

It’s totally up to you what you want to serve your guests. Will you cook yourself or order from caterers? A few guidelines to consider while planning this part:

  • On a tight budget, will self-catering be more affordable than using caterers?
  • Does the food support your theme?
  • Are you catering for everyone’s dietary needs? Your guests will appreciate if you enquire about allergies or specific diets. As long as there’s something for everyone, you’ll have a happy crowd.
  • Do you have the recipes for all the dishes so you can shop for ingredients?


Also, it’s a birthday remember! So don’t forget the cake!

Luckily, the cake can serve as part of dessert or general party food, helping you manage your budget. So, if you want to splurge and get a fancy cake to make someone feel special, go for it.


The Itinerary

Depending on the party and the guests, you may need to plan activities. Will it simply be a few friends gathering around the table for a meal? Or do you need to organize some of the following:

  • Games for kids to play
  • Entertainers—for kids or adults
  • A large enough table for poker if you have a casino theme
  • Live band for a Sweet 16 dance party


Along with the food, music and entertainment will help create an enjoyable atmosphere.


Who’s on Your Team?

Hopefully, you don’t have to do all this work yourself. Will you hire a party planner who can keep order on the day so you can also sit back and enjoy? Perhaps your family will get in on the fun and assist.

No matter the setup, confirm whose time you’ll have at your disposal, so you can plan accurately.


Plan Your Timeline

Based on all your decisions for the day, you need a practical timeline to get everything done on time. In general, especially for parties hosted at home, the following is a smart guideline to follow:

  • 2 weeks before party: Clean cutlery and check you have enough glassware; prepare a playlist; do general shopping for décor and ingredients that won’t spoil.
  • 1 week before party: Do some deep cleaning of the rooms; buy ingredients you still need; start putting up décor.
  • 3 days before party: Do a walk through and remove personal items you don’t want others to see or damage. For example, lock away prescription medicine that’s usually in the bathroom and valuable collectibles, especially if kids are coming to the party.
  • 1 day before: Do preparation for cooking, make or get flower arrangements as long as it’s flowers that will keep a while; start setting the table with décor items.
  • On the day: Complete cooking and set out food; move furniture to suit the day’s activities; set aside time to get ready yourself and be on time to welcome guests.


This is where a chore app like Enzo comes in handy. You can manage all the tasks online by creating chores and making sure they’re completed. It’s easy because each role player can confirm once something is done. Whether it’s your family helping to clean the house, or a party planner assisting with décor, keep everyone up to date via an app!

With Enzo you can schedule the chores so everyone can see on the calendar when you need their assistance. Also, if you’re hosting a birthday party in a common area of your apartment, you can let all the other flat mates know the area is out of bounds on a specific day.

With technology reminding everyone about your party requirements, you do less checking up on things, so you can get on with YOUR tasks.


Get Gifts

If it’s your birthday, remember to set up a gift station (see next point). But perhaps you’re the host for your child’s birthday? Even though you’re going to all this trouble, it’s still customary to give the guest of honor a gift.

You can also make the day extra memorable by giving guests a small gift as a token of gratitude. Thank them for setting aside the time by leaving party favors on the table or giving it to them when they leave.

Of course, see if it fits your budget and get creative to make it personal:

  • Biscuits with each one’s name in icing
  • A balloon for the kids
  • Party hats
  • Small box of chocolates with a handwritten note


Important tip: Party favors are NOT a must and it’s better to give nothing than giving guests junk or something they’ll never use. Do it if it suits your budget and you can give something that suits the theme.


Cleaning, Drinks and Gift Stations

Also on a dynamic birthday party checklist is to create different stations. It helps the flow of people and assists them in knowing what to do or where to go for certain activities.

For example:

  • Clearly label a surface for gifts, so guest don’t have to awkwardly carry them.
  • Have a drinks table for easy access to water, especially on a hot day.
  • Provide cleaning products like water, hand towels and hand sanitizer so parents can quickly clean grubby hands or tend to a scrape after a fall.


Your Outfit

Feel as good as your themed party will look by putting some thought into your own outfit. You may be tired after all that work! Knowing you look your best will be rejuvenating, giving you some energy to also enjoy the party.


Final Thoughts

You may not even need a party planner! You just need to be organized with a birthday party checklist—and we know technology like a chore app can make all the difference. Enjoy a stunning but stress-free day—and make sure your party gets remembered for the RIGHT reasons.