Birthday Timeline

6 to 8 Weeks Before the Party
Select a date, time and location for the party.
Decide on the number of guests and develop a guest list.
If desired, call to book an entertainer, such as a clown or magician, to occupy children at the party.
Choose a theme for the party.
If you want personalized invitations, place the order so that they arrive at least 3 weeks before the party.

3 to 4 Weeks Before the Party
Prepare invitations and mail or hand-deliver them.
Put your guest list near the phone so you can track responses as invitees call to RSVP.
Purchase party supplies.
Ask for help from a favorite sitter, friend or family member.

2 to 3 Weeks Before the Party
Select several activities to entertain children at the party.
Purchase supplies needed for the activities you selected.
Decide if you are serving a meal or just ice cream and cake.
Order a cake (unless you plan to bake one).

1 Week Ahead
Call any invitees who have not responded.
Decide on the agenda for the party, including the order of your selected activities, what time you want to serve food and/or cake, and if it’s a birthday party, when the birthday boy or girl will open presents.
Try any games or activities with which you are unfamiliar.

2 to 3 Days Ahead
Purchase groceries or any pre-prepared food you plan to serve.
Assemble party favor/goody bags.
Charge your video camera and/or put fresh batteries in your regular or digital camera.
Organize any crafts that can be set up ahead of time.
Make any treats that can be prepared ahead.
The Day Before the Party
Clean the party area. Put away items that may be dangerous or distracting.
Bake or pick up the cake.
If ordering pizza, etc, call to arrange a delivery time.
If necessary, confirm with the entertainer and/or any helpers who you’ve asked to attend.
Sit down with your child and discuss his or her expectations for the next day.

4 to 5 Hours Ahead
Set the table and decorate.
If you are planning a birthday party, put the candles on the cake and place matches nearby.
Get balloons filled/pick up pre-filled latex or Mylar balloons.
If you’re having the party at home, tie some balloons to the mailbox or the front porch to help mark the party location.
Place crafts and prizes near the activity location(s).
Locate paper and a pencil for recording gifts (for thank-you notes).

1 to 2 Hours Ahead
Consider putting your pets in an area away from guests.
Get everyone dressed for the party.
Set up the first activity.
Get food ready and set up
Answer the door.

Have a Fabulous Party!