Forget outsourcing your next party because all the processed food and depressingly cheery party rooms in the world can’t beat an old-school, at home, handmade, stylish kids’ birthday party. Now, ignore the fact that after every single children’s party I have ever slaved over, my own kids say, “Can I have a Wizzyworld party next year?” Yes, ignore that.
The food, the decorations, the games… fact is, the most daunting thing about running a children’s party for most mums is getting through the actual event itself. Timing the day and crowd-wrangling a bunch of children is certainly challenging, but not completely impossible when you use a little magic.
And here is that magic! Over the next few weeks, I’m going to do a series of Party Planning posts. They’ll be centred around children’s parties, but applicable for most kinds of parties. I am no expert, I’m just going to show you how I do what I do. It might work for you, you might think I’m a nutjob. But I like to share, so here I go.
For me, the key elements to running a successful party are:
1. The Plan
2. The Theme
3. The Invitations
4. The Food
5. The Decorations
6. The Games / Music
7. The Running Order
8. The Thank yous
So, let’s start at the very beginning… The Plan.
When you set out to create your party (and it’s a good idea to start thinking about it at least two months in advance), start a blank doc on your computer ready to begin. Copy and paste the list above. Add a ‘The Checklist’ table at the very top of the document. Your plan is up and running!*
Use your plan to dump ideas, how-tos, recipes and notes on your party under the relevant heading as you go. Because so many of my thought starters begin online, I also use my Pinterest boards to capture ideas and then add my favourites to my plan.
You can also track RSVPs and set up shopping lists and ‘what to do when’ lists in this document. So everything is in the one, accessible place as you plan your party. The key is to update this plan whenever something changes and then, when you settle on something, add it to the Checklist at the top of the document and note any relevant details. The Checklist will keep you on track to make sure you get everything done in time.