Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Weekly Fest: Birthday Party Tips

I've never organized a children's party before but I do have a few quirky ideas. I know, I know, I tend to tailor parties that are to my specific taste and are kind of hard to make but that's just me. Since this Weekly Fest is hosted by Pinay Mommies Communities and sponsored by The Nambiars, I decided to join in and share my wacky ideas and hope that some little kid out there would enjoy them.
I don't have kids yet, mind you, but I would try to have this realized when I do have spawns of my very own.
  1. First things first. You need to plan ahead of time. Many people tend to take it for granted, especially when you live in the Philippines, and try to plan the party a few days before the celebration. Although some can pull off stunts like this, I do not suggest this practice. Planning ahead, say 2 months ahead, is beneficial. You can scout for prices and pick out the most affordable items that you want at a discount. This also means that you can save up for the party. These days, parties do cost a lot of money and planning ahead can help you set up a budget so that you don't go overboard.
  2. Next, you need to decide how many people to invite. With this in mind, you need to make three lists (I learned this while planning my wedding). The first list, let's call it the A-list, are those people that you would really want to attend the party (since it's a children's party, you need to pick kids!). The second list, the B-list, are those people you want to invite but are not sure they would come or they are not that important (acquaintances, office mates with kids, etc.). This list could also be useful when someone on the A-list declines the invite, then you can pick whoever you want to replace them. And the last list, the D-list, are those people that you need not invite to the party but you would want to invite. I know this sounds so mean but we can't invite absolutely everybody to the party! Keep in mind that this is a children's party and we need kids. If you're thinking of inviting adults with no kids, they can be in list B or C. The most important thing is to invite children.
  3. Okay, now that you already have an idea of who to invite, you need to pick a theme for the party. A lot of kids parties are centered in a theme based on their favorite cartoon character or toy or action hero. This themed party has indeed gained a lot of notoriety when the trend started a few weeks ago. Almost every department store, mall, or toy store carries different props or decors for this kind of party. This is also a good time to decide if your little guests would be in costumes. Remember, the costume should more or less match your theme. Including the birthday celebrant in picking out the theme of the party is crucial. Kids these days have overactive imaginations and this could be a good avenue for them to express themselves.
  4. With the theme all settled, you need to visualize what the party would look like. If you're planning to hold it in a restaurant, your home, etc., you need to make a floor plan on where to put you decors. You would also need to think about unique stuff that you can add to the party. Be it making a backdrop or a photo area for the kids or a play area, you need to make sure that everything will be placed and decorated according to the theme. Making a floor plan would also give you an idea on how big or small your space would be.
  5. I always thought that the birthday cake is what my guests would want to see at my party so I would try to make my cake unique and unforgettable. You don't need to pick out an expensive one, or a 10 tiered cake but a simple cake that fits to your theme would be nice. I suggest hopping over to the world wide web and search for cake ideas. I did that on our wedding and had our cake customized to my specifications. Doing this early could help you in choosing your baker. You need to approach different bakers and show them a picture of your chosen design and ask them how much it would cost and if they could do it, that sort of thing. In my experience, talking to 2 or more bakers are fine.
  6. Once you have that settled, you need to think about the invites. The invites should be unique because this is a "preview" of what your party would be. The invites are the ones your guests would see first so they must make an impression (I know ours did). These invites could be handmade or store bought but they should always reflect your overall theme (check online for cool ideas). You could also let your little tyke or princess (if they are old enough) to make the invites themselves. That would really be great, don't you think? I would also suggest sending out invites at least 2 weeks before the event especially if it falls on a weekday. You should also include in the invite instructions as to the costumes and themes and such. Giving your guests a heads up on the costume helps them prepare for the said event. Remember, your little guests may not have costumes lying around!
  7. The next step on the list is to prepare the food. I know, kids don't usually eat a lot of hard to cook meals so we should always stick to finger foods. I have noticed that children love fried chicken, spaghetti, hot dogs, barbecued pork (or anything skewered) candies, and cookies so these should always be on the menu. Stock up on yummy fruit drinks or chocolate drinks because stocking up on soda is a no-no for me. Yummy fruits dipped in chocolate or getting a chocolate fountain would also be a nice tip. There are some catering companies and restaurants that offer chocolate fountain rentals with all the goods so you don't need to purchase one. If you will be having adults over, you can also add two to three dishes for them as well.
  8. And lastly, you need to plan for the kids games! I know children love this part of any event! You can go ahead and hire professionals to entertain the kids like clowns and such. Check out party stores and inquire about entertainment packages. Some even provide for the games and the prizes and face painting! I know I love face painting. For those mommies who want to host the games themselves, you need not worry, there are a lot of party games out there that require only a few preparations so they won't be a bother. Don't forget the piƱata! Goodie bags are also recommended.
  9. If you are a really busy mom, you could also hire a party planner. This usually costs a lot of moolah but at least everything will be taken cared of. However, if I would be the mommy, I would plan my party myself and include my spawn to. She/he might have an idea or two that would really make his/her party awesome!
Whew! That was a long list! But once I started, I couldn't seem to stop! Hehehe oh well, I do love thinking up party ideas! Need help planning a party? Just comment on this post and I'll be glad to help you, free of charge, of course!

Image taken during my hubby's nephew's birthday party. Told you I love face painting!