Organising a children’s party

My babies turned 1 on Wednesday.

My husband and I were very undecided as to whether we wanted to have a party or not (him, because he doesn’t like crowds and me, because I don’t like mess :)) but then we decided to do it because, well, we survived the first year!

As a friend wrote on my Facebook status update, that’s the worse of the sleep deprivation behind you. And I said, “amen to that!” 🙂

Anyway, I thought I’d share some things that worked well, and also those that didn’t, in the hope that this list will help someone out there.

Decide on exactly what you want and stick to your plan

Not only is there less stress when you know what you want (and more importantly, what you don’t want) but the focus helps you “see” your theme everywhere.

We knew that we wanted a small and intimate party and that made it easy to decide on a small number of people. We also decided on a polka dot theme and I saw suitable foods, etc. everywhere – marshmallows, cupcakes, Salticrax with toppings, etc.

Decide on a budget

This is the part I did very well. And I still could have done better (see food story below).

I planned everything beforehand and was not swayed when I got to the party store as I had my list and knew I only needed x, y and z 🙂

I normally don’t like the “waste” of paper plates and polystyrene cups but felt it was a necessity to save me time and energy later.

Get creative

Google is my best friend!

I googled ideas and found beautiful, beautiful parties by much more creative people than I am, or ever will be.

But they inspired me to get a little bit more creative than I would normally be.

Also, ask your friends for ideas – you’ll be surprised at what pops up.

Make a gift list

We didn’t have one initially because we really didn’t want people to feel obliged to buy two of everything or even one bigger item but after about 3 – 4 requests within hours of my email invitation going out, we got cracking.

Even so we only had about 4 items on the list – clothes and the sizes they currently wear, baby hot water bottles and some age appropriate toys.

Yes, a gift list can seem a bit mercenary but it seems my friends are super-practical and the babies were blessed with some fantastic gifts that are SO useful.

Don’t over cater

I sucked big time at this. I love food and I hate to run out so I had STACKS. Literally. Only 4 people were not able to come at the last minute but still, STACKS of food left over. Yes, I handed out food parcels but my freezer and fridge are still full of food.

(I have a thing against throwing away perfectly good food when there are so many needy people so that is not an option).

Accept help – don’t feel the need to be Super woman

Asking for help is not my strong suit at all.

But I soon realised that just running around after my two would mean I wouldn’t be able to socialise with my friends or be as hospitable as I’d have liked.

I got our nanny in to help us with the babies and in between running around, she also helped with washing dishes!

My MIL baked a yummy pudding and my SIL baked cupcakes so that I could focus on baking the small cakes for the babies.

Confession – I did microwave cakes as I didn’t see the need to do a proper baked cake for kids who would eat maybe a fistful or two 🙂

My children don’t ever eat sugar and this was the first time they were allowed some – individual chocolate cakes with a caramel topping. They didn’t know what came over them but (Connor especially) just DOVE into the cake. Too funny!

One of the best things we did was

Put up a Happy Birthday banner and balloons on the gate. It helped guests find our house easily once they were in the street.

While party planning is still fresh in my mind…

Please share your best things to do and not to do so I can be well prepared for next year 🙂

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Comments

  1. Claire Barn says

    My biggest tip is – Have summer babies so the mess can stay in the garden!!!!
    Failling this, go somewhere else for the party!
    We were lucky with my two when they were small, they are both summer babies, and we just used to hire a bouncy castle, make (or buy) finger foods, enlisting the help of family and friends for key items, paper plates, paper cups, big bin bags, and hay bales covered in blankets. Everything was then out in the garden, we could invite everyone we knew, and the dogs and birds would clear up any mess at the end of the party, whilst the adults bounced on the bouncy castle!
    Perfect!
    (but i love kids parties, so having them is never a problem)

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