Birthday Party Planning Tips
I love a good party! And I think I'm a pretty good host, but party planning can be stressful and quite bothersome at times. But kid's birthdays are my favorite, it's something magical about it. And honestly, they tend to be *whispers* less stuffy than most other parties. They're fun and whimsical, and can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. They allow my creative genius to really flow freely. And as a parent (aunt, godmother) it has been my pleasure to watch my children (and almost children) after a well executed birthday party.
I'd like to think I have it all together when I plan a party. Sometimes I do, and sometimes not so much. The planner in me wants to creates lists and timelines. The mom in me wants to do something simple and stress-free. The accountant in me is trying to watch my pennies. The fun me wants to do a full on circus, or something close. So how do I balance everything I want into one cool practical package?! Here's my neat list to help keep the pressure off when it comes to kid's birthday planning.
Create a Theme and a Budget
Choose a theme. Something you think your little one will like. Get creative if necessary, but don't do all the work. People before you have probably done the theme and have done the foot work for you. Check online (Pinterest, Instagram). I spend a week or so just researching and looking until I create a vision board of everything I want to do. This includes food, entertainment, location, favors etc. I try to give myself enough time to change my mind once or twice.
Next, I establish a budget. And I stick to that budget. It's so easy go over budget. There are so many cool things to buy. But be wise about what you need and don't need. If you are having the party at home, you most likely want to spend more on entertainment and food. Don't go overboard on home decor because setting up and tearing down is a necessary evil. If you do an experience party (like the museum or zoo), go light on the food (cupcakes and juice or snack pack with boxed juice, apples slices and chips).
Write down a plan and Order Early
I start planning the menu, activities, and tablescapes all in advance. It may seen like overplanning, but it helps you know what might need. This also helps you keep track of you budget. Before I order anything I write down a plan. And next to everything I want to buy I write down the price. Once I have everything I want to do and buy, I go over the list with a fine tooth comb. I write things down because I forgot, but it's also helpful for me to see everything in one convenient place. Also it helps you be aware of what you are spending before you ever spend anything.
I try to order everything at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance. That way I know what I have ahead of time and I can plan around anything that might not fit my preferences. Custom shirts can take up to a month, so order those early. Everything else takes a few days. I recently used birthdayinabox.com (it took a little over a week to get these items), and was pleasantly surprised at their selections. They have some hard to find themes which is helpful. Amazon (Birthday Express) is usually my go to, they don't disappoint and have a great return policy. Target and Walmart are good if you like something more familiar, and are convenient. Ordering online saves you money and time, and who doesn't need more of both of those.
Outsource and delegate....whatever you can
Last, but not least, delegate! As my kids get older I will most likely start to outsource party planning. This will be a big timesaver. Since my little ones are small and their birthdays are close (January and March), I have to divvy up my time and resources. My biggest challenge is delegating, but it's key to a good party, and helps you keep your sanity. Get a crew for setup and teardown. Don't try to do everything yourself. While you might be able to, most times you don't have too. You can even ask for help in lei of presents. And if possible pay for convenience.
And most importantly, enjoy these birthdays; they only happen once! Happy planning!
***Menu and recipes are featured here on Food blog.***
(We did a Daniel Tiger theme party for baby boy's first birthday. We are PBS kids fanatics. I ordered everything online. I used birthdayinabox.com and Birthday Express via Amazon. They offered everything we needed (plates, napkins, cups, tablecloth, signs, cake decor, party hats, balloons, trolley cutout, wall decals. I made all the food including cake and cupcakes. I did very little for entertainment. The kids played with play dough and made heart crafts with markers and stickers. I even ordered prepackaged favors online that included crayons, stickers and a coloring book. I gave balloons away to the kids as they left. Everything seem to be a hit! And now I have to deal with the fact that I have 2 toddlers.)