The Ultimate Party Hostess Checklist

Party Hostess Checklist

Hosting your first party, shower, or dinner is a rite of passage. When we celebrate our nearest and dearest in big or small ways, it’s a way to outwardly show them how much we love them — putting thought into every detail, from the invitation to the menu. Whether you’re a seasoned hostess or are hosting for the first time, being organized is one of the best ways to ensure your party goes off without a hitch. And since shower season is upon us, we thought we’d help out with our Party Hostess Checklist to take the stress out of party planning. It may not be your party, but you’re throwing it — so you should enjoy it, too! 


Party Hostess Checklist

3-4 Weeks In Advance

1. Send out the invitations. Paperless Post and Evite are the go-tos for online invitations. If you plan to send paper invitations in the mail, this should be done as soon as possible to allow time for invitations to arrive (and guests to RSVP).

2. Plan your menu. Check with your guest of honor to see if there are any allergies you need to be aware of, or any favorite dishes they’d like to serve. If you plan to work with a caterer, be sure to contact them well in advance to ensure you have time to set a menu.

3. Make any necessary reservations and bookings. Need to rent table linens, chairs, or dishes? Want to hire a florist, catering company or valet service? Have any household to-dos to take care of (window cleaning, carpet cleaning, repairs)? Now is the time to get these on the schedule and secured. Even babysitters! Go ahead and arrange for childcare if you need to so you don’t stress about this the week of your party.

4. Plan your outfit. Take the stress out of getting dressed the day of and decide what you’re wearing with time to spare (in case you need to make a trip to the mall). This post has so many cute dresses that are perfect for spring and summer events!

One Week Before

1. Confirm any outstanding RSVPs. A quick email or text asking if they plan on attending works great!

2. Double check your serving pieces. Do a quick inventory of your serving pieces and see what needs to be cleaned or replaced. Lay out what you will be using and clean your silver, china, or crystal if you plan on using it.

3. Plant flowers and refresh indoor plants. If you have flower pots or beds in your front yard, giving them a little spruce is a nice touch!

4. Confirm with vendors. Call bakers, caterers, florists, and rental companies to confirm your order and day/time of pickup.

2-3 Days Before

1. Do a deep clean of your house. This way, you’ll only have to do a quick tidy-up the day of your party! 

2. Make sure your powder bath is stocked. Ensure there’s a fresh hand towel or two, as well as toilet paper. If you have a favorite candle or special hand soap, this would be the time to use them!

3. Iron linens. A quick iron should get out any creases, or you can spray with a water bottle and tumble dry on low.

4. Tell your neighbors. It’s courteous to let your neighbors know you’re hosting an event and that your street may be busier (or louder) than usual.

5. Go grocery shopping. Make a list, check it twice, and go to the grocery store on a mission! If you have co-hostesses, this would be a great task to outsource (one hostess can get beverages, one desserts, etc.). 

The Day Before

1. Tidy up outdoor spaces. Sweep your front porch, clean off patio furniture, water plants and flowers, put away outdoor toys, and if you have animals make sure your yard is clean.

2. Set the table. Arrange serving platters, set out cocktail plates and napkins, and place drinkware in the kitchen. Tip: Add Post-It Notes to the serving platters with specific food items written on them so you (and anyone helping you the day of) know what goes where.

3. Buy fresh flowers and arrange. Whether you’re using a professional florist or going the DIY route, the day before your party is the best to purchase or have flowers delivered. Tip: Trader Joe’s has a fantastic floral selection! 

4. Make a party playlist. There’s nothing like music to set the mood of a party! You can either make your own playlist with the guest of honor’s favorite tunes, or look at Spotify’s ready-to-go playlists.

5. Buy ice. This task is often forgotten, and can cause stress the day of! Grab a few bags of ice from a grocery or convenience store, and stash them in a cooler out of the way. 

The Day of the Party

1. Take out the trash. Keeps things in your home nice and fresh for guests, including trash in powder room. 

2. Create the perfect ambience. Light candles, fluff pillows, open curtains for plenty of natural light, play music, set out any name tags/place cards/decorations. This is the fun part and great tasks to delegate. 

3. Get food and beverages ready. Fill water pitchers, add ice to serving buckets, place drink dispensers, and add food to serving pieces you set out last night. Don’t forget serving utensils! 

4. Designate a space for guests’ bags and coats. Let other co-hostesses know where this is, too.

5. Put away children’s toys and pet items. It’s best to do this last since — as most with young children or pets know — these things seem to make a reappearance shortly after you attempt to put them away! 

6. Greet your guests. It’s party time! Offer them a beverage, take their bags, and make sure they know where everything is located (food, bathroom, etc.). 

Be sure to read our post on How to Be a Gracious Host & Guest here for even more party tips!

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