5 Lists to Plan Your Party Like A Pro

How to Plan a Party

Our #1 Tip for Party Planning (of any kind) is to make A LOT of lists!  Here is a peek behind-the-scenes of how we planned our last Fiesta, in order of use:

1. Preliminary list of party ideas

Pinterest is a great resource for gathering ideas centered around any party theme.  Even if you're "not creative", it's a great place to start.  After searching a few terms like "fiesta food", "fiesta party favors" and "fiesta decorations", you can probably get a good feel for what elements stand out to you.  This first list is just a party brainstorm.  Jot down potential ideas for each element - food, drink, decor, favors and activities so you can see which ideas will naturally flow together. Fiesta Party Planning List on barquegifts.com

2.  A Comprehensive Party Task List

Most tasks will be little things, everything from "cleaning the front door" to "restocking toilet paper in the bathrooms" (yes, this is actually important to remember).  The list will be long, but very few of them will be hard or time consuming, so just write them all done as the ideas come to you.  The weekend before your get-together, try to get as many of the tasks done as you can.  Anything left undone (or that HAS to be done the day of or leading up to the party) will get moved to another list later.  More than likely, your task list will continue to grow as you get closer to the event, but that's a good thing - it means you've probably thought of everything and you won't forget anything really crucial.

3.  Grocery List

Once you've narrowed down your menu, collect recipes and write down ALL the ingredients.  After you have one big list, you can compare with your pantry and cross off anything you already have on hand.  Keep in mind if 3 different recipes call for limes, you may want to mark your list as "limes - x3" or "limes - 2 + 3 + 1" so you can allocate exactly how many you need for each.

4.  A Daily Prep List

In the last few days before your party, a daily prep list can help you divide the remaining tasks among the days left.  This is where all of your unfinished party tasks (from #2) get split up.  On a sheet of paper (or notepad), visually imagine 2 columns.  For the left side, list out the days leading up to the party, leaving some empty lines between them for you to make notes (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday).  On the right side, write the day of your party at the top.  That leaves the largest space for the day-of tasks.  Time sensitive tasks like icing down drinks and lighting candles will naturally fall in the right column, but other work such as arranging flowers, setting up the table or bar area and prepping food may get split up between the other days.  That helps keep you moving forward without getting overwhelmed.

5.  Timing Is Everything List

On the day of the party, you'll need one last list as a companion - the Timing Is Everything List.  Using a new piece of paper, start at the bottom left with your party time.  Moving up the page, write down the time backwards, using 15 min/30 min/60 min increments (based on what you need).  Next, figure out how long your remaining tasks will take and fill them in accordingly.  So it might look something like this: 4:00 - pick up bags of ice and start cooking 4:30 - chop taco bar fixins and refrigerate 5:00 - arrange party favors 6:00 - warm up meat in oven, get changed 6:15 - make guacamole, pre-mix margaritas 6:30 - ice down drinks, 6:45 - light candles, turn on music, put out appetizers 7:00 - PARTY TIME! {Barque Party Tip:  This last list is particularly helpful when planning holiday dinners!  If you can "back out" how long it will take for each dish to be completed, you can actually plan to have all of the food ready at the same time.  No more forgetting to thaw something or waiting on that last side dish to warm through.}