I love to throw a party…but to throw a good one is ALOT of WORK! With Christmas and a very busy December for Macaroon Kids, lets just say I was not overly inspired to put together a January birthday bash for my little girls FIRST birthday! This all changed when Missy Minzy posted a pic of her new flamingo wall decals on Facebook! Inspiration washed over me!
I have only thrown a couple of parties and my wedding, but I am getting better at gathering tips and wanted to share them with you, so with a little planning and thought, anyone can throw a special party, where your guests have no choice but to say ‘WOW’.
FIRST STEP: THEME!
It is very difficult to put together a party if you have no common theme. A theme helps you make quick decisions, know what products to look for and also helps to dismiss all the wonderful ideas that you will come across, but won’t actually help your party be great! Examples of themes include:
> a color theme, I went for a mint and pink color theme;
>a motif theme, in my case a flamingo, but you may like a train party or a bug party;
>an entertainment based theme, for example a hired circus performer may inspire a circus party;
>food based theme, we went for a middle eastern theme with the food, but candy bar parties are ever so popular at the moment; or
>number based, where everything revolves are a certain number, for example an 18th birthday or 20th anniversary.
Themes can consist of one or a combination of factors, in my case everything was based around flamingo, color scheme and food! Choosing a theme can be tricky and sometimes you need to research a couple of ideas to see what will work for you and your space. Pinterest is great resource for ideas, as are magazines. The interests of the party person is also a great place to start… but also keep your eyes open…you never know what you may find on Facebook etc. You will discover so many great concepts that you would love to adopt, that if you do not have a theme, you will find it difficult to choose which ideas to pursue. A theme keeps the ‘look’ of the party ‘tight’ and ensures everything goes together!
SECOND STEP: CHOOSE YOUR SPACE
Once you have your theme, you need to know where you will hold your party. At a venue? In your own home? A friends home? Will the party be inside? or outside? Start building a vision in your mind of how you want your party to look, write it down and continue to the next step.
THIRD STEP: MENU
You may think it is a little early to think of the food/drink you are serving…but believe me, if you sort this out early, everything becomes easier! You need to consider what kind of food you are comfortable serving? This will help decide whether to have an outside or inside party and the time of day for the party? I did not want to be dealing with food too much on the party day, so I opted for a ‘Exotic High Tea’ menu served in the afternoon. I would much rather decorate than cook, but your forte maybe cooking, so you may love cooking up a storm! We are very lucky to work with Passionate Life Kitchen with our monthly newsletter updates and I had previously completed one of their cooking classes…so a Middle Eastern theme was a no brainer! For a first birthday party you can get away with more adult tastes than, say, a 5 year old party…so enjoy it! Passionate Life Kitchen were fantastic in giving me ideas of what I could serve. A priority for me was to be able to pre-prep as much as possible and to enlist my mum and sister to help with the food prep! Obviously google is a great place to start with menu ideas but do not be afraid to approach appropriate people for ideas also…you never know what they may suggest! I would never have considered fresh date scones with rose petal jelly and cinnamon cream!
FOURTH STEP: HELP REQUIRED
So now it is time to start bringing things together. So far everything has been able to be done from the comfort of the couch but now it is time to enlist help. Consider what your strengths are, what you enjoy doing and outsource everything else 🙂 I am ok with graphic design, but my party was such a success due to enlising a graphic designer Missy Minzy! The work Irene did was just so amazing and took away so much stress! From the invites, to the menu cards, to the party props to banners, Missy Minzy put together such an amazing package, that spending your money here will give your party a ‘professional stylist’ look! I was quite happy to outsource the food also, but being a January party it was hard to find people available to help…so I chose to keep the menu simple, then I could enlist family to help. I was also ever so lucky that Kate’s Cookies agreed to help me by making some amazing Flamingo cookies! A few professional touches not only takes away so much stress, but also offers ideas you may not have thought of yourself.
FIFTH STEP: DETAILS
Now that the location, menu and theme have been chosen you can now start fulfilling your vision.
Let start with the food table…what are you wanting it to look like? What crockery do you have? What do you need? What should you hire? I made a list of what I needed and when I found appropriate things on sale I grabbed them! I wanted all my crockery to be clean, simple and mint green. I wanted the food to be the highlight…needless to say, all my parties from now on will be on mint green crockery! I choose to buy what I need, rather than hire, if I know I can reuse it in my household. I did the same for my wedding and did not regret it! If you buy thoughtful pieces, you can reuse them again and again and again. All parties need a focal point and the focal point also needs to have its own internal focal point. In this case the food table is the focal point and the central focal point are the flowers (can also be the cake) …whatever your central focal point, have it raised and colorful enough to be noticed and not blend into the background. Other considerations you need to factor in are the table cloth? a banner? the food layout? cake stands? the heights? a backdrop?
I knew I needed a back drop to display the birthday banner and I admit I wasn’t sure which way to go…in the end my husband created a ply board back drop for me, which I can now paint on and use as a mood board! You may want to have something professionally printed, use a sheet back drop, wall paper, a canopy or maybe even a flower curtain…something to draw everyones attention to where the action is…in my case the food table!
Next consider the rest of the space and what you need. I was going for a summery afternoon feel, so it was tissue paper pom poms for me! They are so easy to make, but also cheap to buy. I purchased 20 of them, strung them all up and had them hanging overhead to give a garden cafe feel! A space can feel empty if you don’t consider the surrounds of your main focal point and pom poms are an easy, cheap solution! Another easy solution are 90cm round balloons! I LOVE these! I also used these at my wedding as they fill an empty space very easily! These balloons are not expensive but before you go overboard with them, there are other factors. You will need a specialist balloon shop to fill them for you, and they are costly. Ours were $30 each to fill, hence why I only purchased 2! If you are considering a large number of them, you will need to get them delivered as they just wont fit into your car! Also consider the heat. It ended up being a very warm day for our outdoor party so our balloons popped! Thank goodness it was after everyone arrived, but it is an expensive spectacle! Regardless, I loved having these balloons. We bought the clear balloons and filled them with confetti and metallic gold pieces…they looked amazing! We also filled the space with standard sized balloons in a beautiful color palette from Polly’s Party Shop, Blaza has a beautiful selection to suit any theme with gorgeous accessories to match!
So once you have finalised selecting what you require to fill your space appropriately, its time to think of the small details…plates, cutlery, drinking cups, napkins, props, additional details. Ensure your theme is firmly in your mind before you choose any of these items.
I love the drinking mason jars around at the moment and as they are not very expensive, I decided to buy these, with cute colored straws! I also wanted some drink dispensers and decided it was best to hire these from Ryder Loves Miller.
Thank you gifts…if your throwing a childrens party dont forget to consider your thank you gift! In our case i did not want lolly bags or a lolly buffet and instead opted for a hoola hoop with handmade cookie attached and the kids loved them!
SIXTH STEP: MEMORIES
Now you have gone to so much trouble to produce a beautiful, happy party, you need to consider the memories! It is painful to go to so much work and not have a photograph of it…believe me! With this party, we hired a good quality camera, but of course I ran out of time to take photos of everything! An even better step is to hire a photographer or have a friend in charge of photos and explain what kind of photos you are wanting! Trust me, when the party is over, you will love creating a special photo book of the great pics of all your hard work! In my case, I did not even get a complete photo of the food table…all that work and not one photo…yes I am kicking myself now.
One more item I haven’t mentioned…your outfit! Do not forget to dress yourself and the person in whose honor the party is being thrown…in my case I was lucky enough to create something special for my little girl…
So it is the day of the party, things will not go smoothly, things will go wrong but keep moving forward. If possible, have everything ready at least 30 mins prior to the party commencing to get some great photos and ensure everything is ‘just right’. Try and be as organised as you can be, enlist as much help as you can and do the best you can while having fun! Its a party after all.
So there are my tips, after throwing this party I think it best to plan inside parties! Much easier to set up prior and no weather factors to deal with. All in all the party was a huge success and lots of fun to put together…now when can I do it all over again!