Birthdays are one of the most anticipated days of the year for children – and rightly so. The thought of entertainment, activities, gifts and colourful party food has appeal way beyond our early years. If you are the one responsible for turning dreams into reality, here are a few of our well-tried and tested tips to help make the day go with a bang.
If appropriate, have a chat with your child/children and find out what they would really like to do. You might want to find out what other children in their class/friendship groups have done before to eliminate or include, or you might want to start from scratch based on the likes and dislikes of your child. Your child will also be a great port of call for the guest list. Your child’s school or nursery will usually be able to provide a full list of class children and happily distribute invitations on your behalf.
Book the location/venue and try to get the invites out early – even if you haven’t settled on all of the details. External venues tend to get booked up well in advance, If your child’s birthday falls during or soon after a school holidays, you might need to send the invites earlier than you think so they land in parents’ hands in plenty of time. Four weeks is a good target to aim for.
Ask for RSVPs via text or email and you can easily set up a contact group for any evolving details or necessary last minute changes.
Appeal to the masses – consider the weather and nature of the group of children will all enjoy and embrace the activity.
Venue vs Home:
It may seem like a costly affair to hire a birthday party venue and you would rather cut some costs by hosting the party at home, but there are some factors to consider which might make it more appropriate to hire a venue. See our article Bien Venue – Welcome to your venue!, which goes into detail about why booking a venue could be a smart move.
Think about the work involved in setting up, hosting, catering, clearing down, serving guests… it all adds up to the stresses of the day, so it might be worth spending the money to reduce the chaos. There are some fabulous venues on Party Pages, so make sure you take a look at some of these. You might even find some packages which work out cheaper than doing it yourself.
Home is where the heart is:
If you decide to host the party in your home, try to get some helpful friends and family members on board to assist you when needed. Ask them in advance and maybe even have a little thank you card or gift ready to give them afterwards. Even if you don’t need them much on the day because you are super organised, it can’t hurt to have some extra hands on the day. They might help you organise a game or just keep the place tidy whilst everyone is busy having fun.
Food and Drink:
A rather large topic here, so a few different areas to think about.
Try to be clear on your invitations if you do or don’t intend to feed the guests at the party so that your guests know whether to eat beforehand or afterwards. There’s nothing worse than going to the effort of providing a wonderful spread of food, which doesn’t get touched because people didn’t know if there was going to be anything to eat and have either eaten beforehand or booked a meal for after the party.
Also, ensure that you do ask about dietary requirements and allergies. Although you may be inundated with food preferences, you can never be too careful when it comes to food allergies and cross-contamination.
Preparation is key when it comes to food and drink. Invest in some sturdy party platters which you can plate items on and pop back in the fridge. Prepare jugs of squash in advance rather than trying to pour 20 cups of cordial and then top up with water.
Think about how many types of these parties you are likely to host in the coming years and we recommend that you invest in some decent party plates, cutlery and cups. Although it may take time to wash up at the end, you can store everything ready for the next party and save the time and money buying disposables. You’d also help the environment by cutting down on disposable plastics and paper.
If you decide that the above is too much to consider, you can find some wonderful caterers in our catering category on Party Pages and even some Mobile Bars if you want a treat for the parents as well.
An easy way to run with a simple or elaborate theme from your child… but decorations really can make a party spectacular. There are many different companies who can provide decorations and theming for you, who we advertise on the Party Pages website. Alternatively you can create and provide your own decorations yourself; from bunches of balloons to full themed scene settings and costumes.
Whatever you decide in the way of decorations, try to think ahead and allow yourself the time to decorate the space accordingly. No one enjoys trying to hang a banner or blowing up balloons as guests are already arriving, so perhaps decorate first thing in the morning or even the night before!
Although children rarely need much in the way of entertainment to have fun at a birthday party, there are some amazing children’s entertainers in our local area, so make sure that you take a look at these on Party Pages. From inflatables, to walkabout characters and magicians, you are sure to find something to provide a wow factor for the children.
If you don’t wish to hire any formal entertainment, having some music and a few party games is definitely worth arranging.
Don’t forget to put some structure to the games to avoid any disappointment or tears. Little prizes for those who take part but don’t win are great peacekeepers and keeping an eye on the pass-the-parcel music to make sure everyone gets a go is a wise choice.
Gifts, sweets and goody bags:
It is quite common to have something for the children to take home at the end of the party. Whether this is just some balloons and sweets from the party or a more elaborate gift or goody bag, make sure that you have enough for all of the children, plus a few extras just in case. A sibling might take one by accident, or there might be a spillage and something gets ruined. You might even have a distraught child because you’re all out of unicorns and they really don’t like mermaids.