As you are leisurely sipping your morning coffee this morning, I am in full on Party Prep mode. In T-minus 24 hours, give or take, our friends and family will be coming over for my son’s 6th Birthday Party. I’m desperately hoping the weather man is finally right, and we can have the party outside. However, I am prepared either way. How do I do it? Let me tell you, and help you prepare for your next party.
5 Party Prep Tips for an Awesome Party
#1 Decide on a Theme or Go with Tradition
In our house, I love a good theme party. I like all the decorations, food, and colors to go together nicely. If you don’t like going with a specific theme, that’s totally fine. You can go the traditional route of food and cake. The only thing that is necessary for either of these parties really is FUN. That fun is mostly for the kids, since the party is for them, but it’s nice if the adults have fun too. I make sure I have a few games for the kids, and we always have a Pinata. That way, the parents can have at least a few minutes to themselves while the kids are frantically chasing candy or pinning the tail on the whatever.
If you do like a theme, I have some tips. I like to decide on it way, way, waaaaay ahead of time….although, you really don’t have to decide until a couple of months in advance. If you give yourself plenty of time, you can wait for sales, reuse/repurpose things you already have, and/or borrow things. I just like to find the most cost-effective way to decorate and throw a party. (These tips can also be used for a traditional party.)
Now, your theme doesn’t have to be anything fancy. For example, it could be just a theme based around your child’s favorite colors. For my oldest, as you’ve seen in previous posts, we went with Monkeys for the 1st, Smurfs for the 2nd, Thomas the Train for the 3rd, Monsters Inc. for the 4th, and Minions for the 5th. The last three were based on his favorites at the time, however, I had been collecting things for a while before.
For example, if I’m out shopping and I see something super cute at a ridiculously low price, I buy it for a future party. I have a tote of Dr. Seuss stuff from when the Dollar Spot at Target went 70% off, and a bunch of Peanuts stuff from over the summer clearance. I’m actually hoping to get more once everything from the new movie goes on clearance.
Now, I’m not saying when these parties will happen, but since my kids are young, it’s pretty easy to convince them of a certain theme. If I can’t, we’ll just go with whatever makes them happy. It’s their special day!
#2 Get your Invites Out ASAP
For my kids’ birthday parties, I like to send out paper invitations. I think it’s more personal, and I get a greater chance of people RSVPing. I always put a start and end time, address it to the whole family (since we’re not ready for just kid parties yet,) and an RSVP date. If I do not get a response by that date, I used to chase people down. Not anymore! No RSVP, no gift/treat bag for you.
#3 Make a List and Get the Stuff
This year I didn’t give myself much time between the RSVP date and the party, but usually, I allow at least a week. That way I can make a list of everything I want to serve, what I still need to buy, what I can borrow from friends and family, and what we still need to do to make the house presentable.
Once the list is made, I go through my decorations one more time, in case I need to add something else to the list. I don’t usually get licensed plates/cups/napkins etc., but instead just go with a color that matches. It’s so much cheaper, and you can reuse the extras.
I mentioned in my previous post, that I buy a cake instead of making one, so it’s at this time I order it.
I also love to use pictures of my kids in the decorations, so I order some this week too.
#4 Divide up Responsibilities
I usually do the shopping, since that’s my forte, and my husband does the cleaning of the house. Since we’re in Wisconsin, we prepare for the party to go either way…meaning inside, if it turns freezing cold with rain or outside, if the sun is shining.
We both work on decorations, since he is really artistic, but I also like to do crafty stuff.
Included in these responsibilities are my wonderful parents, who often volunteer to watch the kids, so some of this decoration/cleaning can be done in peace. Sometimes they even volunteer to have my oldest stay overnight the night before, which would be tonight (hint, hint, if you’re reading this Dad.)
#5 Get it Done
I did all the grocery shopping on Friday, and we pick up the cake on Sunday morning, giving me a chance to get anything else I’ve forgotten. The day before, which is today, is spent cleaning the rooms the guest may be in, straightening the rest of the house (or closing the bedroom doors,) setting up the tables and chairs that we’ve borrowed, straightening up the backyard, and putting the finishing touches on decorations.
We won’t put anything out until we see what the weather looks like Sunday morning. Luckily, the party is in the afternoon, so we have some time.
I also have outfits for all the boys washed and ready to go, since getting dressed takes a long time around here.
We prep all the food that we can the night before, then the rest will have to wait until right before. We have parties in the middle of the afternoon, so it’s just snack food and cake. It makes it simpler and more cost-effective than having to serve an entire meal. Plus, who can sit down to eat while chasing your kids around?
The last thing that I have left to prep is the gift bags for the kids. I know some people don’t like when their kids come home with a bunch of junk from a party, but I think it’s nice to leave with a souvenir of some sort. I try to find things that are useful (last year there were sand pales and water bottles decorated like minions) and I also include something edible, like fruit snacks or cookies. I don’t include candy because we always have a Pinata, where they all get plenty of candy. Not to mention, Halloween/Trick or Treat is coming soon. Sorry parents!
So, that’s it! I’m actually feeling really good about our party this weekend.
How do you party prep? Any steps I’m missing?