I now have 3 children’s birthday parties to plan almost equally spaced through the year. So, I kind of have to keep the next party in the back of my mind to mull over. I have this list to keep myself on track.
Choosing the date is the first and most important step in planning anything. If you don’t know when, there isn’t much else to know. Typically the date of a birthday party is withing the month of the actual birthday and usually within a week or two.
When if comes to a child’s party, timing can be everything. Consider the ages of the children that will be in attendance. Nap times and activities will determine the best time to hold the event.
Beyond date and time, location is the next thing that needs to be pinned down because you can rush the other stuff, but you can’t send out the invitations until you have these three things in place. The location should work with the age group of the children and other guests and should work with any theme or game options in the running. It must be available for the time and date of the party and will need to be booked in advance (unless it is in a home, which still needs preparation time).
4. Guest List
The guest list for a party can grow rapidly and quickly get out of hand. First, decided whether the party is for family, friends or both. This makes it easier to draw the line and stick to a specific number and budget.
Send invitations out no less than three weeks before the party. RSVP should be one week prior to the event, giving guests two weeks to decide on attending and to make arrangements.
Themes for children’s parties can be easy if there is a favorite cartoon character or interest. Otherwise, there can simply be a color scheme or themed location.
The cake is often the centerpiece or finale of a party, so choosing the flavor and decoration is the next important step. Again, this is a time to consider the age range. Would a large sheet cake be best? Small or tiered round cake? Or would cupcakes be more appropriate?
Some people like to have a show at their parties. Magicians and Clowns have been traditional choices for children. Now there are companies that market various characters and performers to entertain your guests. However, entertainment is not limited to paying someone to perform. Games and crafts are also popular and keep little ones busy. I can vouch for makeovers being popular for little girls 😉
9. Party Favors
This is not necessary in all situations, but it has become expected in certain circles. This is also something that can escalate quickly, so make a budget and stick to it. Some prefer to give little gift bags with candy and trinkets and others like to give a larger gift that goes with the theme. Some children’s venues even provide the favors, which takes the work out of it.
Remember that, above all, the party should be fun and enjoyable. What matters is the birthday honoree and their guests have a good time. If the party is spent worrying about what people think or how much the cake cost, things have gone awry.
A few quick tips:
- Thank you cards weren’t really a big deal with kids parties when I was little, but these days they are important. I think it’s also a really nice touch to have the honoree help out so that there is a personal touch for their friends. My kids love getting things in the mail and when it’s actually written out or made by their friends they think it’s extra cool.
- The “Smash Cake” has been really popular in recent years for 1st birthday parties, but I think it is a waste of money. I have always gotten a cupcake to match the big cake and it is plenty (to eat and to clean up…).
- Birthday parties on a budget can be challenging but doable. The trade off is usually time. I find that I end up spending similar amounts for home parties where I provide everything and parties at locations with elements included. I prefer to pay for the experience rather than have all the time spent stressing, prepping and cleaning up. There is no joy in that.
Jen is a “Mom Blogger” in the sense that she writes about her life which largely revolves around being a mother. You can expect to hear about family life and raising young kids, recipes and menu planning, home organization, crafts, products that she loves and local, family friendly events and locations. You can hear more from Jen on her personal blog, WorthingtonLower.com