Skip to Content


Remember when we talked about the outdoor party pre-party checklist? Well, now we are on to the second part of the summer event planning checklist, and this is the fun part.

event planning checklist outdoor party


With the main items planned in the Event Planning Checklist Part One, now on to the fun part and that is the decorations. We have load of ideas in our 8 Charming Outdoor Party Decoration Ideas post.

So, where do we begin?

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links below.  All opinions are all my own.


So you figured out all of the first details, and now it’s time to get to the fun stuff. This is where Pinterest comes in for me again.

Think about two things while you’re looking on Pinterest.

First, ask yourself is this something you can create.

Second, ask yourself if you already have a lot of the items in the picture, so you don’t have to spend any extra money.

Now if you love the idea and its stuff you have on hand, then you have a win-win.

event planning checklist Valentine table centerpiece

When planning our Valentines centerpiece, I knew from my search I wanted pink roses and white flowers in vases.  Lucky for me I already had this adorable stand with apple juice vases and all I had to do was purchase some flowers.

Make sure to create a board for your party on Pinterest and don’t forget to make notes on the pins. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back and discovered and asked myself why did I pin that picture.


Many times people think a great deal about their centerpiece and forget about their place settings. But the place setting is even more personal to your guest. So think about some way of making it personable.

For example, when I created my Thanksgiving tablescape I took a eucalyptus leaf and wrote the name of each person and placed it at each place setting.

Event planning checklist Thanksgiving place setting

You also need to think about your dishes, drinkware, and silverware.

Pick out something that goes with the flavor of your theme. Sometimes I have to borrow from my sister or friends. Something that coordinates nicely with the centerpiece and doesn’t clash.

If you’re not good at coordinating patterns, then keep it simple and go with a solid maybe even a white colored plate.


A tablecloth won't be necessary on your event planning checklist if your table is fantastic and you don't want to cover it.

If you have a pattern on your plates or a really fancy centerpiece you probably want to go with a solid tablecloth.

On our Christmas tablescape, the dishes had a great deal of color and design, so I went with a solid white tablecloth under a solid color knit blanket.  The added texture was a nice addition, but it didn't take away from the elegant royal hunt pattern on the plates.

event planning checklist Christmas place setting



OK, you have your main dining table planned out. Let's think about the drink table on your event planning checklist.

Begin by determining how you want to serve your drinks. Do you want drinks served in dispensers like what we used at my nephew and daughter's graduation party or regular pitchers?

event planning checklist drink table

The next thing you need to do is think about labeling your drinks. We decided to use these little chalkboards at the party.

There are lots of ways you can label your drinks.

You can tie labels on the pitchers or place something down on the table.

Next, make sure there is plenty of room for your cups and straws unless you have drinkware in the place setting.  Now add a bucket of ice on or near your drink table, and you're all set.


The last table on my list is the dessert table which is probably the favorite table of all the children who come to the party.  I know my nephews couldn't take their eyes off of it at our graduation party.

event planning checklist dessert table

Here you will need different height cake plates, jars for your candy, napkins, plates and some silverware in a jar.  We used a mason jar to fit our theme here. For another fun dessert option, check out my post on the best ice cream social ideas.


Now you have everything planned, prepared, and ready to be assembled early the morning of the event.

Start the day by checking the weather.  The forecast will determine if anything outside needs to be placed inside.

Start by cooking anything that couldn't be prepared overnight.

Then with some help, I want to encourage you to go ahead and put your tables in place that morning.

About three hours before the party place your tablecloths on the table and arrange your place settings and centerpiece.

Now change your clothes and put on your apron.

Then an hour before the party starts warming up the food, mixing up the drinks and placing the desserts on the table.

event planning checklist dessert table

If it appears that day that you’re going have a problem with bugs consider keeping the food indoors and just serving from inside.

Probably one of the best words of advice I can give is to be flexible. If something doesn’t work out right be gracious on yourself and find a way to laugh about it and create another quick idea. Sometimes the best creations are when you have to be creative and find an alternative.



I hope this post has helped plan a beautiful outdoor dining experience for all your guests to enjoy! Here is your outdoor party event planning checklist all in one place to make it easy on you.

Complete Outdoor Party Planning Checklist

Remember there is a part one to this blog post on pre-planning your outdoor party. In that post is a free printable outdoor party checklist. All you have to do is subscribe to Life on Summerhill to get access to the download. This will make your event much more organized.

Yay!  The party is ready and your relaxed and smiling.  I hope your party is a beautiful and joyous occasion.

Happy Decorating!

If you enjoyed these ideas, please sign up for emails, so you don’t miss out on more fun decorating tips and ideas HERE


Wednesday 14th of July 2021

[…] Event Planning Checklist for a Successful Outdoor Party Part 2 […]