Last minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideas
Holidays and Special Occasions Parties and Get Togethers

Last Minute Party Planning for Underachievers

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them I will receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

Welcome, underachievers! Ready for some last minute party planning tips? New Year’s Eve is coming up, and that means it’s the perfect time to host your friends without overexerting yourself. I am a big fan of the last minute party, but when I go to do a search for last minute party planning ideas, it seems like everyone gets “last minute” confused with “easy.” Yes, it would be easy to blow up fifty balloons and tape them in a rainbow design to your wall. No, it would not be something I could do at the last second before guests show up. So, with that in mind, let’s see what us realistic party planners can actually get done when we decide to host a same day party.

Last Minute Party Planning Tips


Looks like I’m serving pizza and cookies.

First of all, there’s no point in last minute party planning if you don’t have time to go to the store. At that point you just call everyone and tell them what to bring. If you do have time to go to the store, then you’re in luck, because the deli/bakery section is going to plan your menu for you. Whatever tasty looking desserts and/or dishes they have cooked up is what you’ll be serving. They pretty much always have cookies and cakes and some sort of chicken, so those are  safe bets, but you do not need any sort of theme for a last minute party, so feel free to pick up whatever looks tasty. Now, if you live in a small town with only one grocery store and they don’t have a deli/bakery (I grew up in a town like this, so they exist), just pick up frozen stuff instead.

You’re also going to want chips or whatever. I highly advise against taking on too much actual cooking, but if you are going do so, I’d go with an easy dip. There’s so many of them and they don’t have to look nice. Here’s a place to start. Thinking about making your famous dessert? Can I tell you why I wouldn’t bother? Unless you’re a professional baker or your friends are food critics, they probably won’t know the difference between a box dessert mix and something homemade. Trust me, I tried it with brownies. Save those good recipes for when you have more time.


Well, my general theory on decorations is don’t bother, but I know how people are obsessed with decorating, so here’s my thoughts. Get something fancy and tall to put on your food table. I like a crazy cupcake holder, although that would require you to buy cupcakes. If that’s not your thing, really any serving dishes with varying heights will do. I’ll put a few shopping items at the bottom for you – surprisingly, this kind of thing is hard to find at your regular Walmart! I think that’s really all you need, but if you can’t stand the idea of using only dishes as decor, add a tablecloth and/or confetti, and possibly balloons, assuming you have time to get helium-filled ones. Don’t bother if you have to blow them up yourself.

Clean Your House

Okay guys, here’s why you can’t spend all your last minute party planning time on decorations. It is so much more important for you to clean your house than it is for you to google free printables or hang streamers. If you’re like me, you’re always prepared for drop-in visitors, but if you’re not I suggest you get yourself a housecleaning schedule put together now so you’ll be able to throw spur of the minute parties later. If it’s too late for the party you’re currently working on, find the worst areas and work on those. The good news is you won’t be doing much cooking so the kitchen should be easy!

The Important Stuff

I want you to think of the granddaddy of all parties. You know, weddings. What’s the best one you’ve ever been to? Was there food? Probably. Decor? Undoubtedly. Dancing? Absolutely! You remember that part even if you have no idea what the centerpieces were. Having fun is what makes a party memorable, not oohing and ahhing at tissue paper creations. So what should your focus all your last minute party planning energy on? Entertainment, of course!

Now, I’m not saying you need to turn your house into the club, but music would probably help. I’m not a big buyer of music, but there’s always things like Party Mixes on Soundcloud. Games are always enjoyable, drinking or non. Or both, if you’re creative. Drinking Operation, anyone? If you don’t own games, charades or Pictionary are easy to do. Playing cards are cheap to pick up and can be found everywhere, plus the game options are endless. Remember, if you’re enthusiastic about whatever you’re doing, your guests will probably get more excited too. Now go have fun at your last minute party!


Last minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideas


Last minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideasLast minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideas

Last minute party planning for underachievers - no need to DIY everything here! #lastminuteparty #partyideas #lastminute #timesavers #easypartyideas


You may also like...


  1. Andrea says:

    These are all wonderful tips, I’m gonna be honest growing up we would always have people over and more people dropping in on the weekends for last minute get togethers so my mom always said it was important to have things in the freezer for times like this, our beach house was about 20 minutes away from a grocery store so it made sense now living on my own I def am prepared.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Wow, your mom sounds like she’s a great hostess! And I’m jealous, a beach house sounds great. 🙂

  2. Shandy Kaye says:

    Great list! All four tips are needed for a last minute party…keep it up!

  3. Haha, well you had me at underachiever!
    This is such a practical – and under-represented – reality which many bloggers ignore for some reason.
    Thanks for making me feel human again (and reminding me to clean the house, haha).

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Lol, if you don’t clean your house I won’t tell anyone. I do think the blogging world gets a little crazy trying to be the most creative, so sometimes I just like writing about normal things. 🙂

  4. For a person who is trying to succeed you have it nailed. That table with the cookies on that plate and presentation makes it look very beautiful. This is a party that really works.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Thanks! Keeping it simple helps.

  5. reesa says:

    I love throwing a party, no matter how last minute it can be! It looks like you really knocked it out of the park here with these tips!

  6. These are all awesome tips. I’m pretty sure I’ve had to use one or two of these a time or two. I love the tip about the food!

  7. robin rue says:

    We had Christmas here this year and spent the night before frantically cleaning and prepping the dinner. It all went off without a hitch, though 🙂

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Glad you were successful!

  8. I don’t really bother with a lot of decorations either. I think they are expensive and they can become a pain to take down after the party is over.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Right? Such a hassle and no one cares if they’re there or not.

  9. Oh gosh I love your those on decorating. I don’t have room to store a ton of decorations so I have to be very picky and so I don’t often decorate the table! I love having a few things that are good frozen long term for situations like this (cookie dough specifically!)

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Good choice! I have some cookie dough stored myself. 🙂

  10. Krystal Butherus says:

    I love the title of your post, it caught my eye right away. I think it is great to have things on hand for the unexpected guests. I like your ideas and will definitely remember them for the next time we have a gathering.

  11. I haven’t thrown a party in years. But when I did, I always made sure to thoroughly clean before I did. That was one of the biggest parts of getting ready. My house doesn’t always look perfect when I’m alone, but it’s surely gonna look good once people are over.

  12. What great tips! I definitely do similar things when I have guests over. It makes things so much easier for entertaining.

  13. This is SUCH a great angle on preparing for parties!! I personally am one of those people who obsesses over decorations, but I know folks who have offered to host get-togethers who are certainly Party Underachievers. These are awesome tips for them, and a decor hound like myself appreciates those adorable cupcake holders!

  14. I hardly throw parties because I am always afraid I don’t have everything I need. I need to follow your suggestions and organize ahead of time.

  15. Yes, it is best to keep things simple when it’s a last minute thing! Will have to check out the suggestion for the music. I also think nibblies like olives, nuts & precut cheese are always good choices.

  16. These are some great tips! I don’t really host parties, but would like to. I’m sure when I do they’ll be organised last minute! You’re totally right, people don’t remember the little details, it’s all about how much fun they have.

  17. I love having help from the local bakery when it comes to last minute treats for parties.

  18. Krystle Cook says:

    I am always one of those people that is doing things at the last minute. These are amazing tips for people like me!

  19. Angela says:

    These are all great ideas! I love hosting parties and decorating, but can be a last minute planner too!!

  20. Angela Ricardo Bethea says:

    These are some great tips on planning for the last minute party. I will definitely save this for my future references and share this with my family and friend as well.

  21. Such list of tips. I use a cupcake stand for so many things – its truly versatile and I dot like cupcakes. LOL

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      How funny, glad you get use out of it anyway!

  22. Amazing post. All 4 useful tips are needed for a last minute party Enjoy.

  23. Great tips! This month really got away from me and last minute is where it’s been for everything.

  24. Brittany Giles says:

    I love the accessories that you chose! They would be perfect for any gathering!

  25. I’ve been cleaning since December 26th lol I need to hire someone to come help me! We don’t have any plans for parties so I won’t stress too much about that but I do love your ideas.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      You and me both! It’s like the Christmas presents are multiplying the longer they sit out. Lol

  26. Great tips! I hear you on the fancy desserts, I used to make my kid’s cakes from scratch and one year I couldn’t be bothered so I used a mix. They told me it was the best cake I had ever made. I always use mixes now.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Yep, that’s what I found out about brownies. I think there are some really good bakers out there, but most of us are kidding ourselves. Lol.

  27. Love this no-nonsense approach to parties.. maybe I’d have more parties if I didn’t work so hard to do them…

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Lol, nah, you’d have the same amount. You’d just throw less fabulous ones. 🙂

Comments are closed.