There is something magical about birthdays before you hit double digits (and, for some of us, even after). But there are so many aspects to throwing a party for a little one (or even throwing a party in general) that it may be overwhelming. There are invite lists and invitations, theme ideas, party favors, decorations, and activities. And even after all of that, the party is rarely on the birthday boy or girl’s special day, so how do you make their birthday just as memorable as the party? The following is a general guide to approaching birthday party planning with the least amount of stress and the maximum amount of fun. These steps apply to parties in general, so minimize your stress levels next time you have to throw a holiday party, baby shower, or other big event, too.
MAKE A LIST
Party planning is detail-oriented. Writing a list can make those details seem manageable and will help you keep track of what you’ve covered and what you have left to do. However, shy away from making multiple lists. While it may seem helpful to have all of your subcategories listed out, the length of the list you end up with at the end will not provide you any extra comfort. Just keep it simple.
PRIORITIZE YOUR LIST
You don’t need to do this while you are brainstorming your original “to-do” list, once you have a general idea of what needs to be done, review your list and decide which steps come first. Generally it is best to decide on a date and a theme before proceeding on to other details. Once you have a theme or a preference for the style of party, a date, and the place, the next step will be the invitation and guest list. Then the details of the event. This party “flow chart” cascades you from one decision to the next and before you know it, the party is planned.
Here is a suggested birthday party planning list:
- set party date and theme
- decide and reserve location
- guest list and invitations
- party details, favors,cake, etc.
- photographer, reserve and/or designate a friend or relative to capture the moments
- mail invitations 2-3 weeks prior for kids birthday parties
LOOK FOR INSPIRATION
Turn to others for support! You don’t need to be a celebration whiz to throw an amazing party. Use magazines or search engines (especially sites like Pinterest, whose photo-based system makes idea hunting very easy) to look for inspiration. Using search words like “child’s birthday party” or “holiday party” will provide you with bloggers, websites, and photos clamoring to share their own tried and tested ideas.
DON’T ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS OF YOUR BIRTHDAY CELEBRANT
This applies less if you are throwing a party for yourself, but if you are creating one for a little one or a friend, try not to ask them for their opinion on too many things, especially smaller details. This is especially important for kids, too many choices may become overwhelming. Let them help you pick a theme (give them two or three to choose from) and help with the guest list (again, give them something to work from), then you do the rest.
DELEGATE AND ENJOY
Be certain that you as a party planner and host are able to enoy the event. Delegate tasks such as introducing people to each other, serving food, assisting little ones to restrooms, writing on cards what gift that a person gives for thank you note purposes, collecting opened gift wrap, taking photos, and participating in games or activities. Most aunts, uncles, or friends are usually happy to lend a hand, remember to ask.
-esk & cmk