Suggested party shopping list – how do I plan the perfect party?

Yellow, Pink, and Blue Party Balloons

Every parent knows that it’s hard work to plan a child’s birthday party, but being organised helps you to make sure everything goes according to plan. Although there’s a lot to keep in mind, drawing up your party shopping list in advance will help you to avoid forgetting any essentials or panicking at the last moment! Advance preparation is key to your party planning success!

Even if you think you know exactly what you need for your special event, the moment you enter the supermarket or shopping mall there’s a good chance you’ll forget something without a birthday party planner checklist. As soon as you’re confronted by aisles full of exciting goodies, trying to keep all those important items in your head can be a real challenge. All too often, you end up buying things you hadn’t planned to buy and forgetting to buy something that’s absolutely vital for the occasion. As a result, the budget goes out of the window and you end up spending a lot more than you intended, not to mention giving yourself a lot of unnecessary stress.

If you want to avoid this almost inevitable scenario from occurring, it’s time to pick up the pen and paper and start writing!

Drafting The Perfect Party Shopping List

The chances of making a serious shopping mistake will be minimised if you follow our expert planning advice. Avoiding distraction when you get into the mall or supermarket can be difficult, especially when you catch sight of all the wonderful party items on the shelves. You can avoid this by writing a list of everything you’re going to need. That way, you can focus in on the items you genuinely need and overlook all the other non-essentials that are likely to turn your head!

Here are our top tips to make sure you don’t forget any of those party necessities.

  • Before anything else, you need a pen and paper (or the virtual equivalent!) Begin by labelling your first page with your event date and all the location details you could require at a later date like addresses and phone numbers – something which could prove important if you’re not hosting the party in your own house.
  • Plan the menu. Whatever type of party you’re arranging, food is probably going to play a major part in the celebration – what’s a party without food? You might want to plan a buffet-style meal with sweet and savoury dishes laid out for everyone to choose from. Alternatively, you might be planning a sit-down meal with hot food. Whatever you have in mind, you’re going to need to thoroughly plan to make sure that you don’t forget anything. For example, if you’re planning hot dogs or burgers you don’t want to forget the ketchup! Make sure you go through any recipes that you’re planning to make, wrote down all the ingredients which need to be bought and the precise quantities you need. This will make sure you don’t realise you’re missing something vital when you begin preparation.
  • Thirdly, it’s time to think about the drinks you’re planning to serve. If you’re planning a children’s party, this will obviously just be soft drinks but you might want to think about buying some wine or beer for the parents too if they’re going to be accompanying their kids. Make sure to have something for all tastes and dietary requirements. There’s no point in only planning for milkshakes if you have attendees who are lactose intolerant, for example. Make sure there’s something to suit everyone.
  • Decide on the tableware that you’re going to need for your party. Whether you’re planning a sit-down meal or a buffet, you’re going to need plates and cups. You may also need cutlery, napkins and serving dishes. It’s often a better idea to choose paper goods rather than having to wash standard glassware and crockery and deal with the possibilities of breakage.
  • Think about which partyware you’re going to require. Whatever type of party you’re hosting you’re sure to want some kind of decorations for your venue, whether that be your own home or an external location. Party supplies are an absolute essential, from balloons and banners to flowers and table confetti depending on the nature of your occasion. If you’re hosting a children’s party, plastic or paper party bags filled with treats and gifts are going to be absolutely vital. Luckily, whether you’re hosting a party for girls, boys or both sexes, there are lots of prefilled party bags to choose from which are sure to please the guests!


Once you’ve drawn up your party shopping list, you can go one step further. You can break down your list by the stores and dates where you’ll be making your purchases. You’ll probably need to visit the supermarket for food items twice if you’re catering for your own party, for example. You might want to buy all the longer lasting items at an earlier stage and then the day before the event you can shop again to buy perishables like breads and cakes, fruit and vegetables. Although planning your shopping schedule in advance might sound like overkill, it’s the best way to make sure that you’ve taken everything into account so nothing vital will be missed out at the last moment. It’ll also make sure that you’ve allowed sufficient time to get everything together for your successful party – you don’t want to be running around at the last minute panicking because you forgot to buy a birthday cake!

Click Pen on Notebook Beside Chronograph Watch

The Importance Of A Birthday Party Planner Checklist

Not only do you need a party shopping list, you also need a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything vital. After all, planning the perfect party isn’t just about buying essential items, it’s also about arranging venues, contacting suppliers and sending out invitations in advance. Here are some more expert tips to make sure that everything goes according to plan.

Choosing A Party Theme

This is something you might want to consider before you draw up your shopping list if the theme is going to impact on that food and decorations you’re going to choose. There are lots of kids birthday party ideas to choose from and more parents these days are opting for a theme that carries through the whole occasion. Pirates, princesses, animals and superheroes are all popular themes for children’s birthday parties and it makes it much easier to plan for childrens party activities. You can even buy prefilled party bags which are dedicated to a specific theme to make your planning and preparation even easier!

Setting Your Budget

Once you’ve chosen a theme, you’re going to need to decide on how much you can afford to spend. Impulse buying leads to the costs adding up, and this is another reason why having a checklist and shopping list is so important. It’ll make sure that the expense doesn’t get out of control. Make sure you take everything into account when planning your budget. If you’re hiring a venue, arranging entertainers and caterers and buying decorations and accessories, everything needs to be added into the total so you have a clear idea about precisely how much you’ll be spending. Once you’ve defined your budget, it goes without saying that you need to stick to it – don’t be tempted by all the fun party supplies that you see on the shelves!

Set The Date, Venue And Guest List

It might sound obvious to choose your date, venue and guest list well in advance, but you’d be surprised by how many people overlook these essential things until the very last moment! If you’re going to be hiring a venue for your party, you’ll need to book ahead to make sure there’s sufficient availability for your party. By drawing up your guest list early, you’ll also be able to maximise the number of people who can attend. The longer you leave it to send out your invitations, the higher the risk that all your chosen guests will be busy elsewhere and unavailable to attend. You don’t want to go to the expense and hassle of throwing a party if nobody can make it! Try to send invitations around 3 to 4 weeks before the big day itself so your guests have sufficient time to plan ahead and check their diaries.

Order The Essentials

If you’re planning to use professional caterers or entertainers, you’ll need to arrange this in advance too. Make sure to do your research at an early stage and make enquiries well before the event. Remember that the most popular professionals will be booked up early. If you’re going to be ordering a birthday cake, make sure to do this a couple of weeks before the big day too so it’ll be ready in time. If you’re going to make the cake yourself, it’s always wise to try out the recipe in advance, just in case it all goes wrong and you need a plan B!

Last Minute Preparations

About three days before the party, ensure you’ve got all your need for the big day. Make sure you have all the arrangements in order and that everyone whose services you’re using are prepared and good to go. If you’re doing your own catering, make sure you’ve bought all the food and drinks you need. You’ll also need to make sure you have all the party necessities like balloons, streamers, party bags and table decorations ready to get your party off the ground.

On the day itself, make sure you start early with your preparations. If you’re using a hired venue, arrive early to do the decorations or to check on the staff to make sure they’ve done everything to your specifications. All that’s left to do then is to have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Your Party Supply List

Now that you’ve read our expert party planning tips, you might still benefit from a more convenient checklist. We’ve drawn up our list of essential supplies so you can easily cross-reference and tick off all the items which you’ve already purchased so you can stay on track. Remember that you may not need absolutely everything you find on this list, but it should give you a good basis to start with to get your own party off the ground.


  • Party invitations and thank you notes


  • Napkins
  • Plates and serving dishes
  • Thank you notes
  • Cups
  • Tablecloths
  • Spoons, knives and forks


  • Banners
  • Balloons
  • Table decorations
  • Centrepieces
  • Party blowers
  • Streamers
  • Party hats
  • Confetti
  • Wall decorations

Food Items

  • Birthday cake
  • Snacks (crisps, sweets, popcorn etc)
  • Drinks and ice
  • Ice cream
  • Buffet foods
  • Food for a sit down meal
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise)

Other Items

  • Party bags and bag fillers
  • Birthday cake candles
  • A lighter or matches
  • A cake plate
  • A knife for cutting and serving the cake


Lighted Happy Birthday Candles

The Perfect Party Plan

If you follow the expert tips here, you should find that planning the perfect party isn’t as difficult as you imagined. Although it can be quite stressful to get everything ready for your child’s birthday party, organisation is the key to making sure that everything goes smoothly. Remember, failure to prepare is preparing to fail! So, make sure that you start your party planning in plenty of time so you won’t be running around at the last moment in a panic!

A party shopping list is a really important element in your birthday party planner checklist. Making sure you’ve thought ahead about all the food, decoration and favours that you require is vital to avoid forgetting something essential. With our handy checklist, you’ll have the perfect starting point to begin your own shopping list and to get your party off the ground. Good luck with your preparations – and, most of all, don’t forget to enjoy the day! Remember – parties should be fun!