Party Planning Tips Makes Birthday Party Planning Easy And Stress-Free

Fun And Fabulous Party Planning Tips
To Help Your Party Flow Smoothly From Start To Finish!


Whether you are planning to host a catered affair or opting to throw a fun backyard BBQ bash, you will want to be sure to start early and following a party planning guide and/or checklist to ensure nothing is forgotten or left to the last minute. Unfortunately, the only way to accomplish this task is to work from a written plan of attack in an organized fashion. I know that statement flies in the face of those of you who tend to be more of a free spirit, but something inside of you knows this must be done or else you wouldn't have done a search for some help with your party planning efforts.


When selecting a theme you want to be sure to include your child in the selection process if they are over 2 years of age. What might have worked for a sibling does not mean it will be great for this child. Theme selection should be based upon a child's unique likes and interests. Important party planning tips: Ask the following questions to hone in on a theme:

THEME


When selecting a theme you want to be sure to include your child in the selection process if they are over 2 years of age. What might have worked for a sibling does not mean it will be great for this child. Theme selection should be based upon a child's unique likes and interests. Important party planning tips: Ask the following questions to hone in on a theme:

  • What sports does my child play?

  • Who are my child's favorite cartoon characters?

  • What are my child's favorite toys?

  • What are my child's favorite TV shows, movies, and videos?

  • What are my child's favorite computer games, board games, and activities?

  • Does my child like to dress up as a superhero, action figure, or someone else?

  • Does my child like to play cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, Army, etc?

  • Is there anything my child likes to collect that could create a party theme?

  • Does my child prefer to stay clean or do they like to get dirty?

  • What are my child's favorite animals?

  • What are my child's favorite school subjects and books?

Once you've answered these questions, you'll probably come up with several possible themes. Now let your child decide which birthday party theme they want their special day to revolve around.


BUDGET

Your party budget affects all subsequent steps in the party planning process. It will help you determine the number of guests, party theme, location, entertainment, invitations, decorations, food, party favors, and many other factors.

If you're working on a tight budget, decide which items you want the most. For example, you might want to splurge on a special decoration like a wall mural that creates both a great backdrop for birthday photos and solidifies the party theme. In exchange, you might make the other decorations to help save money.


LOCATION AND TIME OF PARTY

Important party planning tips to consider: Sometimes a party theme or an away from home party location might dictate when a party commences and concludes.

If weather permits, consider hosting the party in your backyard, which would limit damage to your home, provide more room to play games, and make clean-up a breeze.

If you're throwing a party for babies or toddlers, it is best to hold it at home or at a place that is familiar to them. This will help keep misbehavior and shyness of joining in activities to a minimum.

After age 4 or 5, feel free to hold a party at a park, community center, banquet hall, bowling alley, etc. The location could be part of creating the ambience for your party. Also, places like bowling alleys and skate rinks offer party packages and charge a flat price per person and provide skating or bowling, pizza lunch, party room, etc.

If babies and toddlers are the invitees, be sure to schedule the party after nap time and have it last 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you have a morning party, you can do the set-up the night before. This would eliminate trying to put up decorations while your kids are running around.

For children ages 4 to 7, their party may last 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

For ages 8 to 11 party length can be 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Age 12 and up usually want to have an evening party that involves a sleep over.

When scheduling the party, try not to interfere with prescheduled activities like church or sport events. Also, try to accommodate your child's best friend(s)' schedules so they aren't left out which would be very disappointing to your child.

GUEST LIST

Party planning tips to consider: If you're throwing a party for a baby or toddler you might host a big family celebration and invite all the nearby relatives. Most likely, this party will last several hours and include serving a meal.

The other option would be to invite babies/toddlers that your baby/toddler sees on a regular basis for a small birthday party. This type of party would only last, at most, a couple of hours and doesn't have to involve a full meal--just snacks.

After age 4 or 5 you can have a larger party as long as you have enough help. Determine how many children you can accommodate and are comfortable hosting. Another option in determining how many children to invite is to use the Party Rule Of Age +1. This means if your child is turning 5, then you invite 6 children.

If your child has many friends through various venues, like school, sports, church, neighborhood, Cub Scouts, etc. hosting a party that allows all to attend is probably not a great idea. It is best to allow your child to bring cupcakes or cookies and punch to his classmates or Scouts. This way your child won't feel like he excluded his friends from his birthday celebration.


INVITATIONS

Party planning tips involving invitations. They set the tone for a party and alert all to the theme. The more creative you are, the more pre-party excitement you will stir within your guests. They will anxiously be counting the days to the big event!

Party planning tips: Be sure your invitations address the following:

  • The birthday child's name.

  • Start and finish times of party.

  • Party location.

  • If a meal will be served.

  • If guests should wear costumes.

  • Ask guests to RSVP so you know who is coming and if you don't hear from someone you can follow-up. Their invitation may have been lost in the mail.

  • Mail out invitations 2-3 weeks before the party.

DECORATIONS

Party planning tips: Obviously, your decorations will set the mood and theme for your guests as they enter your party room(s). You don't have to add something "grand" in order to create a great party atmosphere. Party planning tips: Lots of balloons, twisted streamers, banners, posters, theme tableware, proper color scheme, etc. will all go a long way to ultimately create a fun and festive party.


TABLES, CHAIRS, EQUIPMENT, ETC.

The don't forget party planning tips: Make sure you will have enough tables and chairs to accommodate everyone. You don't want guests to have to stand or sit on the floor. Also, ensure you have sufficient serving dishes. If you're lacking anything plan on either borrowing or renting what you need.


PARTY FOOD AND REFRESHMENTS

For an afternoon party that excludes a meal, plan to serve a few snacks, punch, and birthday cake.

Take into consideration the ages of the children whom you will be serving to ensure age-appropriate foods. Also, you will want to be sure to allow adequate preparation time. To ease the burden, make and freeze foods ahead of time. To make things super simple, serve individually packaged snacks and juice boxes or create individual lunch bags party theme bags. To avoid spillage, serve drinks in cups with lids and straws.

Big timesaver party planning tips: Leave the food preparation to others. Consider ordering pizzas, party trays of meats and cheese, Chinese or Mexican food, etc. Then all you have to do is pick it up and serve it.

If you serve theme-related foods label dishes with snappy food titles. For example, hot dogs become Dino Dogs at a Dinosaur Party, Octo-dogs at a Baby Einstein party, and Sea dogs at a Pirate Party. A Rubber Ducky Party might serve Quackers & Cheese (various crackers and cheese), and a dog-related party could serve Chex Mix labeled "Puppy Chow."

Keep it simple with kid-friendly snacks that are quick and easy to serve and usually liked by most kids. Finger sandwiches of peanut butter & jelly, fruit, goldfish crackers, macaroni & cheese, chips, tator tots, cookies, etc.

If you're having a tea party serve petite sandwiches and colorful petit fours.

To serve cake and ice cream quicker, use individual ice cream cups instead of scooping out ice cream. No fuss, less mess.

Juice boxes and mini water bottles are easiest for little hands to manipulate without spilling. Paper cups are a great outdoor option where spillage doesn't matter.


PARTY GAMES, ACTIVITIES, AND ENTERTAINMENT

Important party planning tips: Be sure to keep your guests interested and occupied. Plan enough party games, activities, or hiring an entertainer (clown, magician, etc.)

Choose age-appropriate games and activities that are easy to understand and carry out without confusion. Remember to roll with the punches, sometimes small children don't want to participate in games and activities and prefer to play quietly by themselves or sit on Mom's lap.


PARTY HELPERS

Helpful party planning tips: Have 1 adult for every 4-5 kids under the age of 5 and 1 adult for every 6-7 older kids.

To free up your time, be sure you have enough friends, relatives, parents, baby sitters, teenagers, etc. to help with specific tasks like answering the door, serving cake and ice cream, getting drinks and keeping snack bowls full, overseeing a craft event, running a game, etc.

Have everyone in the family help get ready, including the birthday child. Spread out the assignments to make for a less stressful day. On the day of the party, Dad can pick up the cake, balloons, food trays, rented equipment, etc. If you have an artistic friend either ask or pay for their services to help create birthday banners, face painting, invitations, etc.


PLAN, PREPARE, & PRIORITIZE

Important party planning tips: Plan ahead and perform your "To Do's" in a timely fashion, then you will enjoy the party preparation process and ultimately arrive at your party with a smile. Use our Party Planning Checklist to ensure you don't forget to do something.

Prepare for the unexpected so you don't go into panic-mode if something doesn't go exactly as scheduled. If you or a child gets sick, or you have to work overtime, all you will need to do is make an adjustment to your timeline tasks and just keep truckin!

If the weather isn't going to cooperate and you were planning an outdoor party, be prepared to change to an indoor party, or postpone the event, or hold it elsewhere.

Prioritize your tasks. If you fall behind and have to make adjustments, remember to focus on those things that will make your party a success. Be sure to have enough games and activities to keep the party flowing. Nothing spoils a party quicker then standing around saying, "What should we do? I didn't plan enough activities to keep people involved and in party-mode."


TIME SAVERS

Favorite party planning tips to save time include switching from making things from scratch to buying ready-made.

Buy ready-made invitations and thank-you's vs. making your own.

Buy ready-made decorations vs. making your own.

Order pizza, Chinese food, party trays, etc. vs. making party food yourself.

Use ready-made snacks like cookies, chips and dips, vs. making them yourself.

Have a bakery make the birthday cake vs. making your own.

Hire a teenager to organize the party games vs. doing it yourself.

Hire a clown, magician, or other entertainer vs. organizing party games and activities.

Hold party at a skate rink, bowling alley, etc. that has a party room vs. hosting the party at your home. This way the activities are provided, you can easily clear the tables, walk away and return home to find everything in its place.


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