I’m a big fan of planning all events, but especially my son’s birthday parties every year. Pro tip: start early and plan throughout a few months, so you’re not stressed and have plenty of time to nail all the details. This also means you’re spreading out your expenses and not paying for everything at once. With Westley’s birthday right after Christmas, I usually plan his parties in three phases, breaking up the tasks, so I’m not overwhelmed.
Here’s a breakdown of my party planning choreography.
Phase One (Pre-Planning, a few months out)
- Decide on theme
- Plan your party budget
- Secure venue
- Design and order invites (I’ve used Vistaprint the last few birthdays and they have cute designs and awesome promos)
- Lock in cake (my cake lady is in high demand and books far in advance)
- Research food options and get pricing for comparison
- I also research décor and goodies and usually create a wish list for reference when I’m ready to purchase
Phase Two (one month out)
- Mail invites
- Finalize food plan
- Purchase decor and goodies for guests
- Have photo plan in place (If I’m in charge of taking photos A. I’m not in them and B. There won’t be very many memories captured)
Phase Three (night before/day of)
- Open all decor, paper goods, goodies, etc. and have everything sorted and ready for party time. (This saves an enormous amount of time and makes things way less stressful)
- Pack necessary supplies in vehicle including a cake knife (forgot that for his 2nd birthday and my FIL had to make a grocery store run, while guests eagerly awaited cake…won’t EVER make that mistake again), lighter, tape, etc.
- Confirm with any vendors (cake, food, venue) to ensure everyone is stil on board
- Give yourself time to decorate and arrange party goods and have a team of people willing to help (my hubby and mom rounded out the party trio this year).
- Sit back and actually enjoy your child’s birthday party after all the planning!
Lessons Learned/Things to Consider
- Plan ahead
- Delegate, delegate, delegate
- Have a friend, family member or professional photographer capture the memories
- Have someone else handle food (having a hot dog cart offering a one-stop-shop for food, chips and drinks was well worth the investment)
- Be in the moment and enjoy the birthday party with your child
Do you have any party planning go-to tips?