The memories of childhood parties will last a life time…….
As this special day only comes once a year, birthday parties should be filled with good times and laughter for everyone and a special day for you and your child to cherish. As fun as it can be, children’s parties often require an element of planning to ensure they are successful.
Whether you’re celebrating indoors at your home or in the backyard, with musical chairs or an entire petting zoo, here’s a guide specially designed to help you create fabulous parties for your tiny tots, tweens or teens whilst avoiding potential problems.
ABOUT 6 WEEKS BEFORE:
- Set your budget – first things first, work out how much you want to spend on the party and try your best to stick to it.
- Set the date and time – ideally, parties are best held over the weekend, but if it is a busy party time of year, you may have to consider having it after school/preschool instead. If your child is under 3, it’s best to have a party around 10am-12pm (Or work around your child’s sleep pattern). If your child is over 3, anytime is fun time but be sure to keep along a 2-3 hour frame which is usually long enough for both the children and the parents.
- Choose a theme with your child – A theme helps tie a party together and differentiates your party from others. It’s best to let your little one tell you what they would like and work from there (Eg: Superhero, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Angry Birds, Pirate, Soccer and so on). Everything can be themed – food, décor, outfits, party bags, games, cake. So let your imagination run wild.
- Determine the guest list – firstly decide on how many, and then whom. Start with the close friends and family then expand to neighbours, classmates and so on. Try not to have more than 30 children otherwise things might get out of control.
- The venue – Location, location, location! Holding a party in your home can be convenient compared to hiring a venue which adds to the cost but it can prevent your furniture and carpets from being destroyed. Also bear in mind of the current weather pattern.
So consider these alternatives (choose a venue that can accomodate your guest list and goes well with your theme):
• indoor playcentres
• theme parks
• a marquèe in your garden or backyard
• leisure centres
• parks and farmyards
• function suites
• village halls
• bowling alleys
- Entertainment – determine the games, activities and menu to match your party theme. You can either organise your own fun activities or hire the professionals – a clown with tricks, a fairy doing face painting, a super hero, jumping castles, animal farms, etc. Just remember to book in advance and work along your budget.
ABOUT 4 WEEKS BEFORE:
- Invitations – handmade or purchased, be sure to clearly state the date, time and venue of the party, as well as an RSVP date. Party invitations can be a sneak preview of your theme so you can also incorporate your theme into the design and maybe include the dress code. Blast to guest list!
- Food – Create an attractive party table, and try to offer a range of foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables and make sure you check if any of the guests have any allergies: nuts, gluten, lactose, etc. Themed food boxes are a great way to give food to children but most people go for buffet spreads. Consider some of these ideas:
• Shaped sandwiches (cheese or jam are the safest options)
• Cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks
• Crisps (e.g. mini Pringles or Organix)
• Cheese sticks
• Themed biscuit
• Mini yoghurt pot
If you’re having adults too, you’ll need to provide some kind of catering for them. Finger food and soft drinks go down well.
- The Birthday Cake – A homemade cake baked by you and your little one is adorable but if you wish to seek for something more extravagant, you can opt for colour themed cupcakes or special designed novelty cakes. So hire and work with a cake artist to make your child’s dream cake into tasty tiers. The Birthday Cake or Cupcake arrangement is usually the highlight of each birthday.
ABOUT 2 – 3 WEEKS BEFORE:
- Party Decorations – Purchase or finalise with party planner of the party decorations and/or party supplies (eg: Balloons, Banner, Welcome Sign, Plates, Bowls, Cups, Napkins, Cutlery, Table covers, Centre pieces, etc).
- Party Favours – Start scouting for the contents to put in your party bag/box/container that goes with your party theme.
- Confirm any bookings you’ve made (caterers, venues, entertainers) and make sure you have paid any necessary deposits, etc.
- Photographer – Assign an adult to be the official photographer of the party or hire a professional to capture the beautiful moment of the party that can last a lifetime.
ABOUT 1 WEEK BEFORE:
- Create a party flow schedule – work out a running sheet for timing of things and be exact.
- RSVP – Call those who have yet to respond to your invitation.
- Presents – don’t forget to get the birthday girl/boy their present from you!
THE DAY/NIGHT BEFORE:
- Purchase batteries for camera.
- Charge video camera.
- Call entertainer to confirm appearance and expectations.
- Call party venue to confirm all details.
- Assemble party favors.
- Bake cake or pick up pre-ordered cake.
- Decorate home or gather decorations for party venue.
- Prepare party food or call caterer to confirm all details.
THE BIG DAY!
- Follow party flow schedule but also play by ear (observe the flow of the party).
- Knife and candles for the cake.
- Layout of buffet spread and table setting or check with caterer.
- Blu Tack, scissors and sellotape to stick up any loose decorations or check with party planner.
- Venue and entertainers details.
- Mobile phone to contact parents – pen & paper for their number in case of an emergency.
- Children’s name stickers or place cards (if any).
- Rubbish bags to clear away.
- Camera and video camera or check assigned photographer.
- Blow out the candles!
- Choose a corner to place the heap of presents.
- Settle any pending payments (Caterer, entertainment, photographer, party planner, etc)
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: Enjoy the day with your loved ones 🙂
ABOUT 1 WEEK AFTER:
- Remember to say thank you – After the excitement is over, it’s worth getting your child to write out thank you notes for gifts received. It’s something easily forgotten but is an important final touch.
Of course every thing seems easy on pen and paper but things might go chaotic along the way. So take it one step at a time and hopefully everything goes according to plan.