Party Planning Checklist: How To Plan a Party & Keep Your Sanity!

What I’m sharing today is more than just a Party Planning Checklist — it’s a formula for throwing parties that are BOTH simple and fabulous! We all want that Pinterest-worthy perfection at our own parties, but it’s easy to get stuck in a pinning trap and become either so overwhelmed by ideas that we give up or take on WAY to much!

Simplify Banner Pinners Conf

A few years ago, I taught a workshop at Pinners Conference in Arizona, sharing my simplified approach to party planning and walking the audience through how to use my simply party planning checklist. I thought I’d share some highlights with you today.

To start off, does this party planning process sound familiar?

  1. First you decided to have a party
  2. You pick a theme (because it’s a lot easier to plan a party if you have a theme. Let’s just get that out there.)
  3. Next you go to Pinterest and pin, pin, pin, pin, pin…
  4. Then you get overwhelmed!
  5. What happens next will vary a bit. Probably about half of you will just decide to call the local pizza place or trampoline park, shell out too much cash and be done with it. The other half of you will stop sleeping until the party so that you can try to execute everything on your Pinterest board.

There’s got to be a better way — right?!

There is absolutely a better way!

First up we have to address the Pinterest problem. I find that when most people, myself included, set out to plan a party, the first stop is usually Pinterest, am I right?

Pinterest is a great brainstorming tool, but it’s kind of like a power tool… useful but dangerous if not used safely. LOL!

Pinterest is filled with SO MANY IDEAS, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s not just in regards to parties — controlling the urge to compare yourself and your life to what you see on Pinterest, is vital for your own happiness, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

I still look to Pinterest for ideas, but I set a time limit for collecting inspiration and then I make an actionable plan!

For our purposes today, it’s just key to understand to take Pinterest in doses. Sure I will still look to Pinterest for ideas, but I set a time limit for collecting inspiration and then I make an actionable plan! For real, set a timer and pin for 20-30 minutes and then be done.


I promise it’s not that I don’t love over-the-top parties. Those of you that know me, know how much of an understatement it is to say that I love to throw parties LOL! Trust me, I know what it means to have a fabulous party, but I’ve also started to pay attention to which details really made an impact so that I could make smarter choices about how to invest my time.

Egyptian Costume Jewelry and Moroccan Spa Theme Birthday Party

Do you remember Attalie’s Egyptian Birthday Party? It was so fabulous but completely overboard — I mean I built a fabric tent in my backyard and was calling around town trying to find camels to rent. If that’s not overboard, I don’t know what is.

Since I’m called on to throw parties, mostly baby showers, almost monthly, I started paying attention. I noticed what really had an impact on guests, and more importantly those things that were particularly time consuming but left little or no lasting impression. Now I have distilled it all down to a super-simple Party Planning Formula that I use for every one of the parties I plan, and I want to share it with YOU!

I have distilled it down to a Super-Simple Party Planning Formula that I use for every one of the parties I plan, and I want to share it with YOU!

To keep things simple we also need to shift our focus from decor, food, and so forth, to the guest experience. As you are weeding through your inspiration and ideas, from Pinterest or otherwise, try to think about what you want the party to feel like and visualize what people will actually be doing at your party. 

How to be a Good Host

Honestly being a host is a lot like being a mom — prepared to meet your kiddos needs wherever and whenever. Like when you had an infant, you probably packed along an extra onesie in case of spit up accidents or blowouts… or for a potty-training toddler you’ve got a spare pair of underpants in your handbag along with a few snacks, water bottle, bandaids and maybe even a few toys or candy (for bribery). It’s that same kind of thinking ahead that I’m talking about! You are trying to anticipate your guests needs and expectations and be prepared to meet them.

My SIMPLE Party Planning Checklist

The key to a fabulous celebration — one that will be remembered for years to come — is to keep things simple and focus on a few special details that truly enhance your guest’s experience, and my party planning worksheet will help you cover all your bases and zero in on the most important details.

Get this FREE Party Planning Checklist. A free printable party planning worksheet via @PagingSupermom

Here it is… my free printable Party Planning Checklist! I created this worksheet to help organize myself a few years ago. I decided I just couldn’t keep such a fab printable from you, so if you want it, just fill out the form at the end of this post for instant access to the FREE download!

HOW TO USE This Party Planning Checklist

The main goal of this checklist is to help you filter out and choose only the best, most worthwhile things to do.

If you try to take on too much you’re likely to drive yourself completely crazy or perhaps give up altogether. On the other hand, it’s easy to get sucked into pinning and spend all your planning time unproductively collecting ideas on Pinterest but never actually getting anything done!

So be cautious, and while you’re in the brainstorming stage, collect as many ideas as you like, but remember you can’t brainstorm forever. TAKE THE NEXT STEP… print out my handy party planning checklist and narrow things down so you’ll have a plan for a pinterest-worthy party that is totally doable!

I literally give myself a time limit for how long I can be in this “inspiration” stage. Depending on my overall party planning timeline, I might give myself 30 minutes to pin ideas on Pinterest, or I might spend a little time here and there over a week. It’s fine to be flexible. What is important, though, is that you stick to the cut off and move on to actually creating a plan, which is where this Party Planning Checklist comes in.

Print out my free checklist, then sit down with your Pinterest board of ideas and start filling in the worksheet. It will guide you through my formula so you’ll have all your bases covered. Once the sheet is filled out you’re done planning! Now it’s time to make your to-do list, which will be much more manageable since you’ve identified on only the most important pieces for your party.

Party Planning Checklist to help you simplify and throw a fab party without going insane! via @PagingSupermom

My Party Supply Wish List

In my class I also shared a list of my must-have party supplies, which is something several of my friends have been bugging me for. Please don’t feel the need to go get everything all at once, it’s taken me years to collect my whole stash of party stuff, and that is totally fine.

My MUST-HAVE Serving Pieces

Below is a round up of my must-have serving pieces. These pieces are the ones I love and use all the time.

Hopefully this list can just help you plan and maybe you can add a few things to your Christmas or birthday wish lists. I know you’ll want to be sure to pin this post so you’ll be able to find it easily in the future!

Paging Supermom's must-have serving pieces for a hostess

1. cb2 cuatro platters | 2. white tuxton serving bowls | 3. white 12-in. cake stand | 4. clear glass drink dispenser | 5. 2-gal. glass heritage jar | 6. metals scoops | 7. metal pom tongs | 8. plain silver ladle | 9. metal sign holder clips or rings

This white butcher paper is my go-to for disposable table covers. It is the perfect size for covering a standard folding table. Use it plain or paint on stripes, dots, etc. It as cheap (maybe even cheaper) than disposable plastic tablecloths, which I hate because they’re see-through and just look, well, cheap!

Download my Free Party Planning Checklist

Ready to start planning without getting overwhelmed? Fill out the email form below to get instant access to my free party planning checklist that will walk you through each of the components of my Supermom Party Planning Formula. I’ve purposely limited this planner worksheet to just one page so you’ll be forced to SIMPLIFY your ideas and just invest time into the ones that will really make a difference.

Free Party Planning Checklist for kids parties, baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays, anniversaries and more via @PagingSupermom
How to Plan a Party Without Going Insane? Get this FREE Party Planning Checklist from @PagingSupermom

Bettijo Bridges

Administrator at Paging Supermom
Bettijo is the founder and designer of Paging Supermom where she shares creative ideas for family fun. Known for practical and kid-friendly activities, free printables and holiday entertainment. Bettijo was a guest on the Martha Stewart Show and has frequently appeared on local TV. Her work has also been featured in national magazines including Real Simple, O, Redbook, Parents, Family Circle, and Health. She enjoys art, retro-modern design, photography and making new things. Mom of 4 kids.

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