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Okay now that you’ve sent out your invitations, it’s time to make some more checklists.

About two weeks before:

  1. Make a menu. In my case I’m serving appetizers, drinks and desserts. The key is to either order the food or choose items that can be made at least one day ahead of the party with minimal additional effort on the party day. Consider frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s as an option. Any baking should happen now and the items should be securely wrapped and frozen or stored in a cool place.

  2. Line up any help for the party now. Consider nieces, nephews, young neighbors as options.

  3. Make up a detailed grocery list for all the menu related items. Don’t forget paper plates and napkins if appropriate. Also candles and tea lights if needed.

  4. Clean any candle holders, hurricanes, platters you’ll be using.

  5. Label the serving pieces with the name of the dish.

  6. Iron any tablecloths and linens.


About one week before the event:

  1. Text any non-responders to get an accurate guest count.

  2. Come up with a music playlist.

  3. Do a preliminary grocery shop for all the non-perishables, beverages and ingredients for items that will be frozen.

  4. Prepare any dishes that can be frozen.

  5. Clean the house thoroughly. This will leave you with just a quick cleaning of the common areas the day of the event.

  6. Move any furniture and set out extra seating if needed.

  7. Determine where the food and drink will be served. For my party’s the food will be served on my island. I’ll need a tablecloth and a flower arrangement or two. I’m going to set out candles and maybe white fairy lights so I’ll have to locate those.

  8. Locate bottle openers, cork screws, and serving pieces.


Two to three days before the party:

  1. Stock the bar. Party planners say that you can get five glasses of wine out of a typical 750 ml. wine bottle. Guests typically drink two drinks in the first hour and one drink per hour subsequently.

  2. As for ice get one and a half pounds of ice per person. This will allow for pre-cooling of beverages in coolers or buckets as well as for ice added to any beverages.

  3. Put out candles. Put up any decorations.

  4. Specify a place for coats. It’s fine to use a bed for this purpose.

  5. Finish grocery shopping.


One to two days before the party:

  1. Buy and make or arrange for delivery of floral arrangements.

  2. Set tables.

  3. Finish as much cooking, prepping as you can.

  4. Make a detailed timeline for cooking any of the food. Put post-it notes on each tray of food with the cooking temperature and cooking time.


Day of the Big Event:

  1. Buy ice.

  2. Pick up any last minute items from the grocery.

  3. Check all bathrooms for supplies and toilet paper.

  4. Straighten up common areas.

  5. Get dressed for the party.

  6. Put wine, beer and soft drinks into ice buckets, or nearby refrigerator one hour before the first guests arrive.

  7. Put out any non-perishable items one hour before the event.

  8. Finish cooking any appetizers to be ready for the first guests.

  9. Light the candles and start the playlist 15 minutes before showtime.

  10. Enjoy!!! Happy Fall party 🍂🍁🎃!

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