Oh No, Only Seven Days Until the Party!
Planning a party on short notice? Maybe you procrastinated a bit or just lost track of time and now you realize your get-together is in a week!
Don’t panic. It is possible to organize a party in just 7 days. It takes motivation, determination, and careful planning, but you can pull it off. Two things to keep in mind: keep it simple and divide & conquer.
You don’t have time to experiment with new recipes and design ornate table settings. Plan a meal that includes foods you are familiar with, and decorate with simplicity and style in mind. Delegate tasks to other family members; even younger children can help with cleaning and setting the table.
Breaking down the overall project into daily tasks keeps you on track:
7 days to go
- Plan your menu and then create a grocery list. Remember to choose items that you can make ahead of time so you aren’t doing all of the baking and cooking in one day.
- Make a “To Do” List and include a column for “designated person”. (You do not need to do it all!)
- Create guest list and then use it to call or e-mail them. This list will also serve for RSVP tracking (√ if coming and X if not) and what they have offered to bring.
6 days to go
- Clean out your refrigerator so that you will have room for the party food.
- Modify your grocery list based on what you already have and what guests have offered to bring.
- Create a list of “Other Items” you will need such as napkins, a new tablecloth, batteries, candles, decorations, chairs, tables, etc. Do you have enough place settings and glassware? Write down these items, too and determine where you will get the needed items (friends, party rental company, and department store). If you need to borrow items then make the calls now!
5 days to go
- Hit the stores – buy your groceries and supplies now.
- Start making the “make ahead” dishes on your menu and store them in the freezer.
4 days to go
- Create a timeline for the big day. Begin with the party start time and plan backwards. Consider how long it takes for food to bake. If you are preparing a turkey, for example, plan time to prepare it, cook it, let it rest, and carve it. Don’t forget to plan time to shower, dress and sit & relax!
3 days to go
- Wash your place settings and glassware, especially if you are taking them out of storage. Polish silver if needed.
- Fully clean all of the rooms that guests will see – dust, vacuum, wash windows.
2 days to go
- Set the table and display your centerpiece or any other table decorations.
1 day until the big day!
- Head to the store for a final shopping – ice, rolls, etc.
- Defrost the food that you made earlier in the week.
- Make all other recipe items that can be made a day in advance
- Do a quick cleaning once over in each room.
- Baking day! (cakes, pies, homemade rolls, etc)
- Follow the time line you created earlier in the week.
- Have fun and enjoy your friends & family!