Planning a birthday party for your child can feel daunting. I have had nearly 9 years experience of planning my daughters parties so today I thought I would share with you how I plan and organise for these every year. I have split this into two posts, so don’t forget to come back next week for part 2.
The reason I have nailed this party planning is that there is one point every year where I add the job title “party planner extraordinaire” to my already long list of other job titles. You see, everyone in my family, apart from me, has their birthdays within one month. My eldest daughter is first. Then two days later it’s my husbands, followed up 23 days later by my youngest. So from about the end of February/beginning of March I have to start writing my lists.
So, what do I do? Below is the beginning of my timeline:
Two to three months before
The first thing to do is to write down the basic details:
– How many children are to be invited? Start writing a list of your little ones friends. Who do they play with at nursery or school? Don’t forget cousins and family friends. Knowing roughly the number of children will help with the next part.
– Where are you going to hold the party? Are you going to have it at home or a family/friends house? Or you may want to hire a hall. Does your little one love soft play or the local trampoline park? You may even want to hold it outside at the local park or at the local swimming pool. I think we have done all of these!
– Will there be a theme? Does your little one love Disney Princesses or is it all about football? Have a chat with the birthday girl/boy and see if there is anything they have in mind. Start to have a think about what decorations you want – banners, balloons, paper plates, napkins etc.
– When will you hold the party? Do you want to do it on their actual birthday or the weekend before or after? Now is also probably a good time to check that family and favourite friends are free on certain dates. The last thing you want when you send out the invites is to find out that the favourite people can’t make it.
– Is there going to be any entertainment? If you are holding the party at soft play or an activities place then you won’t really need to sort this. But if you are having the party in a hall or at home then you may want to get ideas on what entertainment you want. This could be a children’s entertainer, a bouncy castle, someone who will do activities with the kids etc. If you are going to do games yourself start writing down a list of what type of games.
– Will there be food at the party? Most soft plays etc. provide food as part of the party package, but if you are holding the party somewhere else start having a think about what spread, if anything, you will be putting on. Ideas could be hot dogs or party nibbles like sandwiches, crisps, biscuits, fruit, cakes etc. If you won’t have the time to prepare food you could arrange for a local cafe or supermarket to provide platters.
– Will you be giving out party bags? Again, if you are doing soft play, most places would provide these, all you would need to do is bring cake. But if you are sorting this then start to have a think what they would look like. You can get bags that match most themes these days, or maybe you could get crafty with your little one and make your own. Also, what will be in the bags? Anything can go in – stationary pieces, notebooks, toys, bouncy balls, bubbles, sweets, you name it. If you don’t have the time to put bags together, there are plenty of places online that can put packs together.
When you have all the answers to these questions, you will have a better idea of what the party will look like, and what needs to be arranged over the next couple of months.
So from this list, and to ensure your child gets the party they want there a few tasks that need doing now. These are:
– confirm a date
– book the venue if using one and pay the deposit
– book the entertainment
– if ordering a cake from a bakery put the order in now.
6 weeks before the party
– Confirm the invite list with the birthday girl/boy.
– Buy/make the invites. If you are making the invites you will need to let people know:
- who’s invited
- who has sent the invite
- date of the party
- time (start and finish time)
- what type of party it is – if there is a theme include that and state if it’s fancy dress
- do guests need to confirm if they are attending or not? If so when do they have to do this by and how – can they do this by text message/email/or completing a slip? It’s best to get guests to RSVP at least one week before the party. This then gives you time to chase anyone up and confirm numbers/menu choices with venues
- if food is being organised do they need to choose what their child will eat when responding? Or if their child has any allergies or special requirements if you are preparing the food.
So by now you will have a firm idea of what is happening for the party, and I will leave it there for part one. Part two is now up on the blog and this covers what needs to be done during the last month leading up to the party.
If you are starting to plan a party and you use this timeline I would love to hear how you got on.
Let’s get organised