I suppose I have always loved to plan a party. From parties in my teenage years to dinners - and, of course, my wedding! I always took great delight in organising an event. There is something so special about planning a party for someone else though.
Once I became a Mummy, all these creative juices started flowing and from the very first birthday parties my children had I always wanted to create a theme and make them feel extra special on their special day. From a backyard barn bash, to Under the Sea, a fairy princess tea party and the wonderful world of Peter Rabbit, it’s always been such fun!
I do think planning a party has become easier and easier over the years because of all the wonderful products available on the market, so it definitely doesn’t take a genius to pull something magical off, but I still think you can have a plan to follow in order to pull it all together.
Steps I take…
1. The Theme
Think outside the box. You don't have to be generic when choosing your theme.
Like I mentioned above, I did a barnyard bash for my son’s 3rd birthday party even though he probably would have asked for a tractor party. It was really cute because you could have the tractors if your son is really into them, but you can also include all the sweet farm animals and props that go along with it.
For example, we used large stacks of hay and gingham table cloths and had a really fun piggy cake. It came together as something the children would love, but that was also fun for the adults too. If you put out some large metal ice tubs filled with organic juice boxes for children and rose for the adults, everyone is bound to have a nice time.
2. The Table Setting
Decorate your table in an environmentally conscious way, as best you can.
As I said, Amazon and other brands have made this super simple these days and you can capture almost any scene or theme you wish. I have been becoming more and more conscious about disposable decorations though. Thinking about the environment means you might have a lot of dishes to do after the party…
I think the best thing to do is to get a nice but not too treasured table cloth or place mats which can help set the scene, some lovely serving platters and fun little glass jars or containers for treats, sweets or flowers, and then, if you really can’t face the thought of washing up, you can throw in a few paper or bamboo plates to fit into the scene.
If you can find fabric napkins that will also help with the waste and if 80% of your table can be cleaned and reused, I think you’re in pretty good shape.
3. The Entertainment
When in doubt, stick to childhood classics.
I’m from Australia and growing up we had the most wonderful birthday parties, but there was no such thing as an entertainer. I have very fond memories of childhood favourites such as Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs and Pin the Tail On the Donkey.
I would say these games are perfectly acceptable at any birthday party, in any area, for a wide range of ages. If you do wish to go the extra mile, one could organise an entertainer to celebrate your child’s special day, but it certainly isn’t necessary in my opinion.
4. The Food
Miniature food is always a hit!
You can have a lot of fun with party food. Mini portions of almost anything is a good idea- sausages, pizzas, grilled cheese, cheese cubes, etc. You can also do large platters and put them in the center of the party table if that’s easier. Keeping it as simple as sandwiches, hummus and veggie sticks is also totally acceptable and enjoyed.
One year we did an Under the Sea theme, so I got these super fun glasses, filled them with jelly and put little sea creature figurines in them before they set. Once they were ready, I added some cookie crumbs to look like sand and a little umbrella and voila! We had a super cute beach themed treat that is not the most unhealthy thing you could imagine and the kids loved it!
I also always like to do a cake table with some small jars of treats around the cake. For my daughters 3rd birthday party we had a unicorn theme, so we had little jars of jelly beans labelled ‘unicorn food’ and cotton candy labelled ‘dreams’. These are all sweet little touches and a great way to add to the feature table. Mini cupcakes, cookies or fruit trays are also a nice addition.
5. The Party Bags
A parting gift is always appreciated.
I really enjoy giving our guests a little something to go home with. You can order some really cute fabric reusable bags on Amazon or Etsy. The ones on Etsy can even be personalised and are quite reasonably priced.
I always like to fill them with goodies that align with the theme of the party. For example, my son is about to have his 7th birthday and we are having a very small tennis party for him (due to Covid restrictions).
I have had some personalised hats made for him on Etsy and ordered some lovely tennis water bottles for his friends. Some wrist bands or a little book about tennis could be something fun to include, and maybe a granola bar as an added little touch.
There are so many things you can do, even home-made goodies if you’re on a budget. I did a Peter Rabbit theme one year and we also added seeds in the party bags in cute little pouches so the children could go home and plant some flowers in their garden. It’s a lovely way to end the event and everyone leaves happy.
Let's get the party started!