My daughter is turing one next month. I can’t believe a year has passed, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with family and friends. That being said, I’m working and she refuses to sleep – needless to say I am one tired Mama! I want to make sure her first birthday is special, but I am currently running short on time, money and energy. So I share with you a few ways I’ve made the party-planning as simple as possible.
Venue: Skip the house party. For the host, it is the most stressful place to have a party. You have to work before, during and after, and you rarely get to enjoy yourself. If you can swing it financially, off-site locations are turn-key (think Chuck E. Cheese or Gymboree). They do 95% of the work for you, just show up with the cake! If you are more budget conscious (as I am), local parks and outdoor venues typically require only a deposit, if anything. My daughter’s party will be held at the park in our community.
Food: Keep it simple. Skip the theme, matching labels for each food and the intricate finger-snacks. The food at a kid’s birthday party needs to meet only two requirements – that there is enough to go around, and that a kid will eat it. We’re going with chips, dip, sandwich platters from Publix and popcorn chicken. Done.
Decorations: Again, keep it simple. A few balloons and some coordinating paper products should do it. If you are wanting to highlight a certain theme or character (we are going with Minnie Mouse) you can save that for the cake. Too many intricate decorations takes time and energy, and often times a lot of money with little return on the investment. No child has ever said “I had a great time at Tommy’s party, the hand-crafted centerpieces were really exquisite.” We found some great Minnie Mouse balloons at Party City and pink and white paper goods at the Dollar Tree.
Goody bags: Nix them. Again, they are cute and fun to put together, but they are not an integral part of enjoying a party. I would also guess that most parents would not miss them! I know I could do without the candy and trinkets strewn all over the car for weeks afterward. Your have provided food and entertainment during the party, so I think the parting gift is optional. Crossing this off the list will save you energy, time and money. This is definitely something I intend to skip for my daughter’s party.
Invite List: This might be controversial, but I believe you can be selective about your guest list. For example, I don’t think it’s necessary to invite the entire class (for school-aged kids). We have always stuck with inviting our stepdaughters close friends, the ones they actually spend time with. Since our one-year old doesn’t have any friends, the guest list for her party will boil down to our immediate family and our close friends. Extending beyond that can raise the price, and the amount of effort needed to pull off the event.
In the future, if I have more time and money to spare, I might pull out all the stops. Even simple party-planning can still be a lot of work! Keep these tips in mind to make the process as easy on yourself as possible.
What are your tips for planning a children’s birthday party?