Group of 20 somethings celebrating a birthday

Birthday Party Checklist

The Ultimate Checklist for Birthday Parties

Planning a birthday party — whether it’s for a child, an adult, or anyone in between — can be pretty stressful. You want every aspect of the party to go perfectly, which is why it’s important to start planning well before the day of the party. If you are feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do to get ready, don’t worry! Rocky Mount Event Center is here to help. Our team of event planning specialists has a comprehensive checklist to help you make sure you have everything taken care of for the upcoming celebration.

Weeks Before the Birthday Party

In an ideal world, planning for a birthday party should start about six weeks before the big day. We understand that a timeframe of that length isn’t always absolutely necessary, but it will give you plenty of time to plan ahead and make your preparations.

Six Weeks Before

  • Decide on the birthday party theme
    • While not every party absolutely needs to have a theme, it can make the event more fun — especially if it’s a child’s birthday party. Choosing the theme ahead of time will help determine the activities and decor for the party.
  • Set a budget
    • Before you get too far into the party planning, it’s important to know how much money you are willing to spend on the festivities. Having a clear budget will guide all the other decisions you will make for the party.
  • Find and reserve the event venue for the party
    • If you are not hosting the party at your house, it’s important to reserve your space at a venue several weeks in advance to ensure you have the space for your guests. (And if you’re in North Carolina and are looking for an event venue, come check out Rocky Mount Event Center!)
  • Create the guest list
    • Whether you want a smaller, more intimate party or you want anyone and everyone to come, you’ll need a guest list! Having a list of everyone invited will help you plan for all the details, including cake!
  • Hire the entertainment
    • Entertainment isn’t always a necessity for a party, but if you do choose to have some sort of performer for the celebration, the sooner you can book them, the better. If you’re not hiring an entertainment act, this is a good time to start working on a party playlist.

Four Weeks Before

  • Finalize guest list and send out invitations
    • If at all possible, you should send out invitations about four weeks before the birthday party, regardless of whether they are paper or electronic invitations!
  • Order the cake
    • Cake is a tradition for any birthday party — but don’t let that hinder you from choosing something different. If cake isn’t the birthday person’s favorite, go for something unique like pie, ice cream or cookies.
  • Order catering
    • Whether you are planning a full meal or just hors-d’oeuvres, you will probably need catering services.
  • Start planning themed games and activities
    • If you are planning a kid’s birthday party, you’ll want to have several games and activities planned to keep everyone entertained. If the party you’re planning is for someone a bit older, it’s still fun to have a few activities planned throughout the night!
  • Start shopping for themed decorations

Two Weeks Before

  • Finish shopping for decorations
  • Follow up with guests
  • Secure additional people to help you at the birthday party
    • Extra hands are always helpful! Talk to a few friends or other parents to have additional help for the party.

A Few Days Before the Party

The days leading up to the party get a bit more hectic. While the bulk of the work is done, this is the time when you have to confirm everything is in order and put out any metaphorical fires that may arise.

  • Confirm cake order
  • Confirm catering order
  • Confirm entertainment
  • Call birthday party venue to go over last minute details

The Day of the Party

The big day is finally here! It’s time to set everything up and enjoy all the work you put into planning this birthday party.

  • Pick up the cake
    • If you don’t have time for this, it’s a great task for one of the people you have helping you!
  • Decorate the venue
    • Make your space look amazing! Hang streamers, set centerpieces, do whatever you want to do to make the space perfect for the birthday party.
  • Take lots of pictures
  • Have fun!
    • Did you forget something? It’s okay, it happens to the best of us! Most people won’t even notice, so sit back and have fun instead of fretting about anything you may have missed.

After the Party Ends

The party is over, and all your hard work has paid off. Now there are just a few more things you need to do to finish out your party hosting duties.

  • Clean up
    • Figure out what you want to keep and what can be recycled or thrown away. Split up the work with the people helping you and clean up will be done in no time!
  • Make any final payments
    • Make sure you’ve paid everything to the event venue, the bakery, the catering, and the entertainment for all their hard work.
  • Send thank you notes to guests
    • Everyone likes to be thanked! A quick note of gratitude to all your guests can go a long way and is a great practice for any event.
  • Relax because you did it!
    • You pulled off an incredible birthday party! Pat yourself on the back, go home and relax. Your job is done.

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