A 10 step guide to planning your little ones party at home…
It’s that exciting time of the year again! My little babe’s birthday and I cannot believe she is turning 3!! This year we are planning a little getaway for Alba’s birthday instead of throwing a party, so I thought this would be a good chance to pop up the details from the party I threw for her 2nd birthday last year! Event and Party planning has always been so much fun for me! As a young girl I was always in charge of planning my younger sister Rael’s Birthday parties and took great joy in doing so. I would organise the food lists, create the invitations, plan the games, wrap the pressies and make up all of the goodie bags. I knew once I had my own daughter this would only get more exciting for me. Don’t get me wrong, planning a party is alot of hard work, but if you get yourself organised early and map out a good plan of attack you will find it much more fun to plan. For those of you who are interested in some tips on how to organise your child’s birthday party, read on for all the details on how I went about styling Albas 2nd birthday Party!
THIS IS A BIG READ SO FEEL FREE TO SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR ALL THE PARTY PICS FROM ALBA’S BIRTHDAY, IF YOU ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN VISUALS!
1. Get some Inspo
The first thing I always start with is the party inspo, there is nothing better to get you motivated than to find an inspiring and fun party theme. I always start looking for inspo a couple of months ahead of time to get some ideas and start to get the creative juices flowing. Here are the 3 places i always start with when looking for inspiration.
INSTAGRAM: Throughout the year I always screenshot amazing parties and yummy food ideas that I come across. Instagram is a really great place to find inspo as usually Instagrammers will tag where they have sourced their party supplies from and if you follow people from your city then its easy for you to track down suppliers and products you love. Searching hashtags on instagram is also a great way to get party inspo, when planning Alba’s Swan Party I searched things like #swanparty #ballerinaparty #swanlake #swanprincess ect. My favourite party accounts to follow on Instagram are @florenceknows these girls are seriously so talented! Everything they do is beyond beautiful! And locally I love @omgnessstyling she is also so incredible at what she does and comes up with some beautiful party themes and styling.
PINTEREST: Pinterest is also such an amazing tool to use when planning events. There is just so much amazing inspiration on an international scale. Don’t get too overwhelmed though. Alot of parties you will find on pinterest have been styled using rediculously high budgets, just pick and choose ideas you can use and recreate at your home and remember it’s all just inspiration you can always find ways to recreate ideas to fit within your budget.
BLOGS: The following blogs have some really amazing inspiration both internationally and locally along with lots of cool crafty ideas for decorations and yummy recipes for treats.
Kara’s Party Ideas www.karaspartyideas.com
Party with Lenzo www.lenzo.com.au
Pop Roc Parties www.poprocparties.co.nz
2. Choose your theme
3. Set a budget
4. Pick a date and time
5. Choose your guest list
This can be as small or large as you like, but do not feel any pressure to invite people. This is a very special day for your child and family, especially during the first 3 years, so keep your guest list to close family and friends. It might also be a nice idea to invite 1 or 2 friends from your parent class/coffee group as well. As your child gets older they will be able to help you with the guest list, choosing friends from school to come along. A rough way to decide on numbers of friends to invite is to choose 1 friend for every candle on the cake ie. if your child is turning 5, invite 5 friends.
5. Organise invitations
Choosing invitations is a fun party of party planning. These will usually be dictated by your childs party theme but can also just be something simple and design neutral. nowaday’s you can choose to send by either email or by post, although I still prefer by post. It’s so nice to receive a pretty card in the mail and it makes the whole experience more exciting for your childrens friends who are attending. If you choose to send by post then I recommend sending out invitations at least 3 weeks in advance. You can pick up many great themed ready made inviations from local book stores such as Whitcoulls as well as Kmart and Spotlight. If you would like something custom made, I would definitely check out Etsy. Just search a keyword from your theme such as swan party invites or something along those lines and a whole bunch of suppliers will pop up. Most of them will offer a customised, downloadable PDF which you can then get printed at your local copy shop. If you are crafty you may like to make these yourself using some beautiful card, ribbons, glitter etc.
6. Start hunting for party supplies and decorations
Now that your guest list is sorted and invites have been sent out it’s time to start organising the decorations. There are 2 party stores I will always source the bulk of my party supplies from and those 2 stores are www.partiesmadepretty.co.nz and www.poprocparties.co.nz both of these stores have the most gorgeous selection of party supplies and have them organised into themes and colour schemes as well which makes the process so easy! I also pick up pieces from Spotlight (this is also where i usually get my helium balloons filled), Look sharp store is also really great for plastic utensils, plates, napkins and cupcake cases etc. Also you cannot go past the Kmart party aisle, so many great additions for super cheap, i usually pick up plastic serving dishes, cupcake toppers, party poppers and little treat bag fillers too. When you start to get a collection going I like to store all the party pieces in a big plastic storage container from the Warehouse and keep it in the spare room cupboard so i can keep it altogether whilst keeping it under wraps from Alba.
8. Order or plan your cake
The birthday cake is an important part of the day and will be a real feature on the birthday table so it’s nice to put some extra thought into it. If you are having a themed birthday then you can easily go with a themed cake or choose a themed cake topper. It’s also a lovely idea to choose a cake adorned with fresh flowers or yummy edible treats such as macarons or mini chocolate bars. There are so many amazing cake designers out there now, but my favourite go-to would hands down be Bluebells Cakery www.bluebellscakery.com you can always rely on them to create something stunning that also tastes incredible. Bluebells have such a great selection of flavours and colours to choose from as well a a wide range of decorations. If you choose to make the cake yourself (which sometimes i choose to do to cut costs) You can find some great recipes from the Chelsea or Edmonds cookbooks or you could always purchase one of the ready made Edmonds packs from the Supermarket. I always go for a buttercream icing as it’s so easy to make and tastes so delicious! You can tint the icing with any colour to suit your theme and then just add a gorgeous cake topper or some fresh flowers to decorate.
9. Decide what food & drinks you would like to serve
10. Decide on table setting and take-home treats
Setting up the party table is usually an afterthought for most but it’s a good idea to put some thought into it as it’s usually the centrepiece of the party. Nowaday’s it’s cheap enough to hire a table and chairs for the day and alot of party hire shops have some nice options to choose from. We went with www.farfaraway.nz for our kids trestle table and chairs and they were so awesome to deal with. Then you can simply pick up a cool vintage table cloth from Trade Me or Op shops like I did for Alba’s lace one. For table decorating I always start with the cake in the centre, then pop some of the pretty treats on display around it. Make sure you have paper plates, paper cups, utensils and a napkin layed out for each of the kids. It’s also a lovely idea to pop a named treat or a goodie bag on at the table so the children can see there is a place for them to sit and this also helps to get the children to come and sit down and eat at the table. Making a treat bag or box doesn’t have to be expensive, Pop Roc parties has a great selection of affordable treat bags/boxes and then you can simply fill with a few lollies, mini chocolates and cute little inexpensive toys from the $2 shop. Cute treat ideas are hairclips, costume jewellery, stationary items, mini cars, puzzles, party poppers as well as bubbles, stamps and stickers. Get crafty with the name tags using pretty ribbon or mini pegs to attatch to the treat boxes/bags.
Other things to consider…
WRAPPING OF THE PRESSIES: This is also so much fun to organise and shouldn’t be an afterthought. Get creative and get your craft on and decide on colours of wrapping paper and ribbons to suit your theme and think outside the box a little. Adding things like feathers, stickers, washi tape or fresh flowers can take your wrapping to the next level.
BIRTHDAY OUTFIT: Dressing up your little babe for their special day is half the fun! For little girls birthday outfits my first stops would be www.beaumondebabe.com
I also think for girls a hairpiece or crown is also a really fun accessory to add. I love headwear from Milk & Soda which you can purchase from a variety of retailers in NZ or most recently I have found Poppy’s Bloom Room who make the most gorgeous handmade flower crowns. You can find them on facebook here.
ACTIVITIES: This isn’t so much of a requirement for parties of children under 3 years of age. Some good music and a safe place to crawl/run around is all you need. Younger kids over 3 though will love simple games such as musical seats, statue dancing competitions and pass the parcel, whereas older kids would love to go on a treasure hunt, play eat the chocolate, piniata, dress-up relay races etc.
Well that’s the end of the list guys! I hope you picked up something useful to help when planning your next children’s party. Don’t forget to have fun with it and take lot’s of pics of your hard work!