This year Shaniah is turning 5! To me this is utterly crazy. It feels like only yesterday I was holding on to my brand new bundle of joy and now we are beginning to plan her first “proper” party.
The thought of planning a party where you are inviting more than just close family may seem a little daunting, but it needn’t be. Over the next few months I am going to be sharing our tips, plans and of course the finished results which I hope will come in handy to you.
If you are a regular to my little corner of the internet then you will know that I like to save money on anything and everything. Even though this is my daughters first school aged party I reckon I am able to still throw that memory making party whilst staying within my budget. I will go into more detail about my budget range in the next couple of posts, but for today I am going to talk about the planning side of things.
Mission – plan the party.
One thing to remember is that no matter where you live or what your circumstances may be, you don’t have to stress out about planning a party that is either costly or elaborate. All the child really cares about is spending the day with their friends. Planning a child’s party can be as easy and as simple as you like, you may even end up enjoying planning it as much as your child will enjoy attending their party. Keep reading for some more tipsChoose the venueNo matter where on the globe you live, you are never far from places that host children’s parties. from soft play centres to restaurants and sports centres. They are all open to hosting your little ones special day. Many local places have party packages which are set at a certain price per child and that usually include invites food, entertainment and goodie-bags which means that all you need to do is bring the birthday child and the cake and relax.
This way is by far the easiest and straight forward way to host a party. Mini me has been to a lot of soft play parties in her time and they are absolutely brilliant.
Another way to throw a party is by hiring out a hall. Whether that be the local town hall, community centre or back of a pub. There are so many places to choose from and they are all fairly cheap too.
This is the route that we have gone down, simply because Shaniah has so many friends spread over two classes that it worked out a lot cheaper than paying per child at a soft play centre. This way however, involves a lot of doing things yourself.
Pick a theme.
Ah, the best part of party planning. The bit that really brings the party together. Once you or your child has decided on a theme then the whole party planning becomes a breeze. You can pick out matching party supplies such as invitations, decorations and tableware.
If hosting a party at a soft play centre etc. It is worth contacting them as many offer packages that include certain themes.
Set a date.
Children surprisingly, can be very busy people. Between busy schedules and other children’s parties, it can be difficult to find a date that suits everybody.
Weekends that don’t fall within the school holidays are usually best. I have tried to avoid the school holiday with Shaniah’s party as I know that some children will likely be away.
Sending out the invitations 4-6 weeks before the party usually makes sure that your child gets a good turn out.
If your child is good friends with another child who has a similar birthday why not discuss having a joint party? That way you can go half on the cost and save even more money! Unlucky for me, Shaniah is the only child in her class with a birthday in her month so that is out of the question.
Set a time.
An average time for a children’s party is around 2 hours, that way you have enough time for the children to play and then eat without rushing.
How many guests?
This one is really down to you, however, some soft play centres require a minimum or a maximum amount of children for a party. This is one other reason as to why I have hired a hall, there is no limit on how many children can come, which is brilliant as some parents like to bring along siblings. Siblings is a bit of a sticky subject as you can never be sure just how many extra hands will turn up, therefore always prepare a little bit more food and a couple more party bags than you truly need to avoid disappointment.
Whether you are handing out your invites, posting them or even emailing them, make sure that you have included the following details.
- Name of birthday party child. Make sure you include your child’s surname aswell just in case there is more than one child with the same name, it happens.
- Day and date of said party. It’s great to include both!
- What time the party will start and finish. Unless you are happy with stragglers at either end, make it clear!
- Where is the party going to be held? The more information that you include in this section, the less questions you will receive. If you are sending invites out by email, why not attach a google map?
- R.S.V.P. Please put either your email address or telephone number so people can confirm. That way you get a heads up just how many people you will be dealing with. Always add an RSVP date that isn’t too long so the parents reply prompt and there’s no chance of it being left in the to-do pile.
- Include any other information such as fancy dress, it’s never great to be the only child not dressed up!
The food you need to organise really depends of the time of day that you are hosting the party. although no matter what time every party needs some level of food.
Some of our favourite party foods (used in the past) are:
- Cocktail sausages
- Sandwiches (Ham, Cheese and Jam)
- Vegetables and dip
- Biscuits, cupcakes and endless amounts of CAKE!
Entertainment can be both tricky and expensive. It’s grand if you are choosing somewhere like a soft play centre where it’s all built in, however if you’re hiring a hall, it can be hard to decide whether to take the responsibility or get someone in who does it for a living.
In the past (when there weren’t so many people invited) I have chose to entertain myself however, this year I have hired a Disco and entertainer.
There is always so much confusion when it comes to bags. What do you put in them? How much do you spend on them? etc. Shaniah has been to parties where she has been given a little gift instead of a bag and she has also been to ones where she was given a slice of cake, slime and some sweets. Funny enough the latter was the one she enjoyed the most. Remember, this is a thank you and not a gift.
I’d like to finish with a few words of wisdom. Make sure you plan in advance, don’t leave it to the last minute (believe me) and don’t go overboard, remember it is just a party.