Planning Parties

With the beginning of a new year and many birthdays ahead (apologies if your birthday has passed for 2017 – Happy Belated Birthday!), I thought I would share my birthday party planning ideas/tips.  I’ll start with the ideas/tips this week and move onto the actual parties going forward.  All but one of the parties I’ve held have been at home so I will prepare this list as if I am hosting the party at home.


4 months out:

I start by speaking with the person for whom the party is for, a few months out from the event.  I ask them what theme they are after.  My kids have asked for Peppa Pig, Teddy Bears Picnic, Paw Patrol and Doc McStuffins.  Adults generally want colour themes.  This time varies depending on my excitement for the project.  I then hit Google and Pinterest for ideas/inspiration for:

  • invitations
  • food
  • drinks
  • games
  • cake
  • decorations
  • loot bags/guest gift

I also set the date for the party so that I can let key people know (extended family members etc) the date.  I look at the calendar to see when the persons birthday falls.  I check for any public holidays/school holidays as having a party over a long weekend when people tend to go away can prohibit a lot of guests from attending.  I failed to check this properly last year which meant Miss 5’s birthday party was on the same date as one her friends actual birthdays 🙊.

2 to 4 months out:

I fine tune the theme and decide what I will actually be doing from the many ideas I’ve found through Google and Pinterest and spend time purchasing required items from party shops/Kmart/$2 shops/Spotlight/eBay.

I also prepare the guest list and delegate tasks to extended family members. Mum O loves to cook so I always ask her to help with the food.  My SIL prepares a great fruit platter and my Mum makes a mean sandwich so I get her on board with that.  I tend to ask my brother to collect the balloons on his way to the party and my Dad to bring the ice.  By getting help, there is less for me to do on the actual day = less stress =friendlier hostess.

I also prepare and print the invite now.  I have done this a few ways in the past.  I have purchased pre-designed ones from Etsy and eBay.  I have used Martha Stewart’s Apple App and printed through Snapfish and I have also used templates through Snapfish.

1 month out:

I send out the invites to all the guests with the RSVP due a full week before the event.  In the past I have had a friend do the cake as the kids birthday present.  He has since gone and had 3 kids and doesn’t have the time anymore.  As I don’t want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a birthday cake, I have learnt how to make some pretty fancy cakes myself.  I head to the cake decorating shop and pick up supplies ready for me to commence making the cake when the time is right.

1 week out:

  • Check RSVP’s.  If there is someone who we really want to be there, but hasn’t RSVP’d, we will follow up, otherwise I take these to be final numbers and plan accordingly.
  • I prepare the grocery shopping list and either go myself or process it online for delivery, depending on whether I have time or not to go myself.
  • If any of the decorations need constructing, I tend to do these now and store away until the day before the party.
  • I prepare the loot bags/guest gift.
  • Depending on the cake I am making, I will also start making the fondant accessories for the cake.
  • I contact family and confirm that they are still able to do what I’ve asked them to do for the party.

3 days out:

  • I clean the house.  I grocery shop or have the groceries delivered today.

2 days out:

  • I bake the cake and ice the cake.

1 day out:

  • I do a final clean.
  • I get as many decorations up as possible.
  • I finalise the cake.
  • I ensure the dishwasher is on before I go to bed, ready for party day.
  • I get out all dishes and platters needed for food for the party.
  • Hubby and I move any furniture around that needs moving after the kids have gone to bed.
  • Hubby mows the lawn/poop scoops/cleans the pool etc.

On the day:

  • I empty the dishwasher.
  • I start laying out the dishes/platters ready for the food to be placed on them.
  • I set up any final decorations.
  • I pre-heat the oven ready to keep food warm until needed.
  • I lay out the loot bags/guest gifts.
  • I shower and dress for the occassion, ready to welcome the guests.
  • Welcome guests and enjoy the party, hopefully not spending the entire time in the kitchen!


Are you hosting any parties this year?  Do you do parties every year for your kids? Alternate years?  Big one for you this year?