We have the perfect birthday party planning timeline here to help you run your next party as smoothly as possible!
4-8 weeks out
- Decide on the number of guests. If the party will be held outside your home, select and reserve a location. If you choose an outdoor location, come up with a back-up plan for bad weather.
- Let your child help choose the theme.
- Make a guest list.
- Book entertainment, if necessary.
- Order personalised invitations or make your own.
2-3 weeks out
- Fill out and mail invitations. Make sure you write your child’s last name on the invitation so there is no confusion over which Emma it is.
- Keep a list of invitees on your phone to track RSVPs.
- Enlist your child’s help to select activities and games for the party.
- Assemble prizes.
- Decide on party favours.
- Plan the menu.
- Order your cake if you aren’t baking it yourself.
- Ask a relative or babysitter to help out during the festivities.
- Buy paper plates, napkins, decorations, balloons, party hats, and other supplies.
One week ahead
- Decide on the order of activities.
- Test new games, which you can find in our Birthday Parties section.
- Make a grocery list.
- Confirm reservations for entertainment or party location.
2-3 days ahead
- Call guests who haven’t RSVPd.
- Shop for food, candles for the cake, lollies for lolly bags or the piñata.
- Assemble lolly bags.
One day ahead
- Clean the party area. Put away items that may be dangerous or distracting.
- Bake or pick up the cake.
- Order takeout food (such as pizza), if necessary.
- Discuss party expectations with your children.
- Practice saying “thank you” with younger children.
4-5 hours before guests arrive
- Set the table.
- Lay out crafts.
- Inflate balloons.
- Decorate the house.
- Charge your phone for taking photos.
- Tie balloons to your mailbox or front porch so guests can locate the party easily.
- Find matches for candles.
- Make sure you have a pen and paper to record gifts.
- Have a garbage bag/box available to dispose of wrapping paper.
1 hour before guests arrive
- Take pets to a safe place until the party is over. Some kids may be frightened and others allergic.
- Send the kids off to get dressed for the party and get yourself ready too.
- Put the food on the table and candles in the cake.
- Set up crafts and activities.
During the party
- Greet your guests with the birthday party boy or girl.
- Make sure younger children know where the toilet is.
- If parents are dropping off children, confirm the pick-up time (and be sure you have a contact number in case of emergency).
- Take photos (or ask another adult to do so).
The day after
- Help your child write thank-you notes to party guests.