In order to have a successful birthday party, you need to ensure you’ve got everything you need, whether you’re having the party at home or out a certain location (ie bowling, skating, local pool, etc.) You’ll want to be sure you’ve got enough plates, and hats, and cups, and if you don’t have a wide variety of party supplies to choose from locally to you (and let me guarantee you we absolutely do not), then the internet is your resource to find it (what did we do before the internet is beyond me).
First thing you’ll need to do is a checklist of what you’ll need to do to ensure an enjoyable, stress-free party.
People – Who do you want to invite? Be sure to compile a thorough list, including schoolmates, neighbors, family and friends, with numbers, emails and any information you have.
Venue – are you planning to have it at home or somewhere, such as bowling party, skating rink, etc? Pick a place and be sure to have good directions and contact info to pass along to your guests. Sign any appropriate contracts to secure the venue, but before you do, be sure you know how many are included in your base price, what the price is if you need to add more people, and what’s included, such as food, beverages party planning supplies, etc. Be sure you’re also made aware if there will be any parties running simultaneously along with yours, and if that will deviate attention from your party and guests and space needed – some venues cannot handle too many parties at once, and some venues do not know how to budget their space. Be sure when booking that you’re confident they are confident in what they can and cannot hold, it is your time and money and your loved one’s birthday you don’t want ruined because of poor planning.
Theme & decor – what does your child want as a theme? For a great place to go online with a wide variety of birthday party supplies, try BirthdayExpress.com (a place which has been our savior since we don’t have a local party supply store here). Be sure to have dinner and/or cake plates, utensils, napkins, cups and any other party supplies you’d like to go with the suggested theme. Get creative here, it’ll make a more memorable party if, say, you plan a pirate themed birthday and hand out eye patches and skull cups for your guests to have to celebrate with (my four-year-old can’t wait to have his pirate party in May). Be sure to get tablecloths, streamers, balloons and whatever you’d like to have to compliment your party’s theme.
Invites – decide whether to give paper invites, email invites, or both. Be sure you have enough, plus a few extra should you forget someone or lose a few. Be sure to send these out with enough time to get RSVPs back. Be sure to mark off who you’ve spoken to, and be sure to call the night before to secure the head count.
Favors – a great way to thank your child’s friends for coming. You can opt to go with the theme of the party, offer bags filled with candy, or make a craft at the party the kids can take home as their favor. The choices are endless, but your creativity will make for a funner experience.
Activities – plan ahead what you may want to do, and again, you can keep with the theme of the party, doing crafts or play traditional party games, such as a pinata, pin the tail on the donkey, duck duck goose and more.
Cake – will you bake it or order it? Do you want it to go along with the theme of the party, or do you want it to be basic? Perhaps you don’t even want to serve a cake, you’d like to serve brownies or cupcakes instead. Be sure to make enough to include all of your child’s guests and parents should they stay.
Food – what will you serve? Is it at lunch or dinner time, or is it in between? Does your venue provide for this, and does it allow outside food? Be sure to compile your birthday party shopping list and include snack-type foods, drinks, the main ‘course’ (whether it be pizza or burgers and hot dogs, you get the idea).
Thank you cards – do you want them to match the invite, or do you want your child to draw or color their own? Be sure to get everyone’s address either before or during the party, so you’re able to get these out.
Gift – should go without saying, but don’t forget to get your child their gift, too! I won’t say why I put this down, *ahem* just know that it helps to add this to your list of to-dos when you’re busy planning for everything.
Smile – it’s going to be a fabulous party, mom. You’ve got the list, just stick to it, and your child’s party is going to be a fantastic one!