There’s nothing like lessons learned through personal experience. Here are my top ten essential first (and second) birthday party tips based on what I’ve learned planning my daughter’s birthday parties on my own.
1. Plan ahead.Planning is everything. Last minute, rushed decisions usually result in you “settling” and unwanted costs.
My daughter’s first birthday party venue and caterer were actually last minute decisions. We initially wanted it to be held at my mother-in-law’s beautiful Tagaytay house but they unfortunately went abroad and would not be coming back until a couple of days before the party. We were unable to plan the party before they left and ended up having to book the party elsewhere. Costs like venue rental can be avoided with enough planning.
2. Have a theme when planning, however simple it may be.Your theme can be as simple as your celebrant’s favorite color or favorite cartoon character or can be as complex as a full-blown theme like a pirate ship party. This will help you decorate everything (invites, venue, etc) and keep you focused. Also, you get to have fun planning the whole event!
3. You don’t have to spend a lot for birthday party suppliers. Be creative! Ask around for where you can source your own loot bags and decor. This gives you more artistic freedom and, if your child is old enough, you can make it an unforgettable bonding experience between the two of you. I’m sure she would have fun having a hand in planning her own party. You can also read my other article for more DIY party solutions. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to hire birthday party suppliers. But think of what you can realistically do on your own so it’s more special.
4. Expect that most of your guests will be late.Expect this so you won’t end up panicking that you only have two guests 30 minutes past the party time. Relax and have some snacks and refreshments on hand to entertain early birds. Make your program flexible so that it will start when most of the other kids have arrived. Or you can also inform guests whom you know will arrive late that the program starts promptly at a certain time.
5. Assign someone else to be in charge of photos. For two years in a row, we weren’t able to take proper photos of our daughter’s birthday party. I guess we still haven’t learned our lesson! The first time around, we were just too busy and were complete newbie parents, and on our daughter’s second birthday party, my husband forgot to charge the camera battery! I think the best way to go about this is to request a responsible friend or relative to document the event. With so many folks getting into photography nowadays, it’s quite likely that you know someone who’s handy with a camera.
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6. Make sure the birthday celebrant naps before the party.You don’t want a cranky or sleeping celebrant. Plan her day so that she gets the proper amount of rest for her big day. Make sure she naps before the party.
7. Prepare activities for the kids. Ideas range from having a simple kids’ corner with crayons, kid-safe scissors, and paper; or have their favorite Pixar DVD ready to play. You can also hire a talent (or a talented uncle!) to do some magic tricks.
8. Don’t forget the mommies and daddies too! Even though this is a children’s party, you’d like the parents to enjoy themselves as well. You don’t have to plan games for them, although that would be a treat; the mommies and daddies will be content catching up with each other over some snacks or hors d’oeuvres.
9. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t tire out the kids too much, and let the adults rest, as well. Two to three hours is plenty of time to celebrate your child’s birthday. Four if there was a lot of waiting at the start.
10. Don’t forget to send out your thank yous. This doesn’t have to be a formal letter you mail out. With today’s technology, this can be as simple as posting a thank you message on Facebook or sending everyone an SMS.