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Party planning timeline

Brie Gatchalian is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. When she's not writing about fashion and beauty, she researches topics related to relationships and mulls over her own love life. She'll be the first to admit she doesn't hav...

Plan your New Year's Eve bash

It's time to usher in the new year with a fun bash for family and friends. Here's what you need to know leading up to your New Year's Eve party.

New Years Eve

3 weeks ahead

  • Send out the invitations -- use Evite or the "plan an event" option in Facebook. Don't rely on snail mail or word-of-mouth.
  • Make a guest list so you can keep track of how many people you'll have to serve.
  • Plan your menu, recipes and purchases. That way, you can budget, too.
  • Make sure you have all of the cooking equipment and serving dishes you'll need to fulfill your menu. 

2 weeks ahead

  • Hit the party supply store for all of the decorations.
  • Clean your place thoroughly, iron the linens and make sure everything is in the right place.
  • Order a centerpiece if you plan to have one (such as flowers or a fruit basket).

1 week ahead

  • Order any food that needs ordering, such as special cakes, platters and dishes that you're not planning to cook.
  • Buy non-perishable items, such as liquor, juices, sodas and chips.
  • If you want, create mini menus of all of the food and cocktails you'll be serving.
  • Finalize the guest list. 

2 days ahead

  • Create a playlist on your iPod for the night of the party.
  • Send a reminder email or mass text to all of your friends who are coming and to all of those who haven't RSVPd.
  • Rearrange furniture as necessary to complement the party's overall ambiance. Group seating together and have a number of open areas to maximize your space.
  • Start prepping recipes that you can prepare in advance. For instance, if you have to marinate ham in honey, do so two days ahead so the flavor really soaks in. 

1 day ahead

  • Buy all the perishable items on your list.
  • Prepare and cook everything that doesn't have to be made the day of.
  • Do some last-minute cleaning, vacuuming and dusting.
  • Pick up platters and any food you've ordered.  

Day of the party

  • Cook the dishes that have to be cooked the day of the party.
  • Arrange the food.
  • Arrange the bar area.
  • Set up all decorations and centerpieces.
  • Have loads of fun!
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