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Tips and advice from a professional party planner

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These think-ahead steps from our professional party planners will help you enjoy your children's party as much as your child and their guests. 

2 months before your child's birthday.

Start to think about your the theme of your party, you little one will probably have some quite specific ideas of their own!  Sometimes you will need a little time to tame their imagination and come up with an idea that suits not just their own wild ideas but your pocket too!  

Often the really popular venues can book up pretty fast, especially those whole package venues that do the lot for you, of course if you book a whole package venue then you job is almost done at this stage! but make sure to leave your self enough time to make the booking so that you won't either be disappointed or have to wait until several weeks after your child birthday before then can have their party.

Lets assume you are preparing to throw a children's birthday party the old fashioned way, in your own home or village hall.

8 weeks to go...

Choose your theme.

Book the party entertainment.

Start to think about your party decoration, you may be planning on creating a lot of it yourself and will need time to find the right inspiration, this is when those social media picture sharing websites really come into their own, you can try Pinterest, Instagram and also Facebook, be warned you can really loose yourself looking at all the delightful ideas there are around for children's parties.

5 - 6 weeks to go...

Start to prepare your party decorations, you will need to buy in a few supplies at this stage, but with the right inspiration, materials and time you will be able to prepare something truly magical for you children.

Also if you are going to have a cake made for your child's birthday then this is the time to get that ordered.  There are some stunning cake makers out there, do your homework though, it can be very expensive so find a recommendation for a good cake maker.

4 weeks to go...

Get together with you child and agree upon the guest list, there a f ew pitfalls here, inevitably the size of the list is dependant upon your budget, venue and the entertainment you have planned.  Often with younger children, they haven't got a fixed group of friends and so the list of potential guests can be quite big!  Agree upon a sensible number  with you child and then help them to decide who makes it onto the list.  

The party guest list can be a real minefield, with lots to consider, not the least of which is playground politics amongst the parents!  Yes really!  If this is your first child's party be mindful of potential parental pettiness.  

Seriously though, we all do get a little protective of our little ones sensibilities and it can be quite upsetting for them to be left off the guest list, if you little one is still developing their friendship circles their guest lists may need to be either quite large or be just a few very select friends.

3 weeks to go...

Send out the invitations.  

There is one single pitfall here.  We are all busy people and with the best will in the world us parents receive these party invitations, we read them, we think awe thats nice I will respond to that later/at school tomorrow etc and then we forget about it or we miss you at school and then forget about it!

You will find that no matter what you do, we fellow parents will still leave it to the last minute to respond, the same parents will also complain bitterly when its their turn to wait for the RSVP's too! 

There are a couple of things you can do, the first is really simple and that is to politely give a deadline for the RSVP a week or so before the party, that way the last minute reply's are still a week or so in advance.  You may still get one or two late reply's but those you can take in your stride.

The second way to deal with it is much more direct and simply ask the parent's yourself if their little one is coming to your party.

This is also the time to start organising your help, you might want to ask family members or your friends to help out a little bit on the day, this might mean you have to offer to do the same for them though!

2 weeks to go...

Plan the food and make sure you have enough serving dishes.

Order the party bags, tableware and any room decorations you need to finish off your own fabulous creations.

You will need to think about:

How you will serve the food, plus the party plates, cups, napkins plus extra napkins for wrapping the cake, party cutlery, table covers and any chair covers and sashes you would like.  You may wish to have party table centre pieces  on your table, these can be as simple as a tiered cupcake stand which is eye catching and practical for serving or you may wish to create a more stunning table centre piece, possibly with balloons.

For us the party bags are clearly important, they finish you party, they are the thing that signals that the party is over and it is finally time for everybody else children to go home, so that you can sit down with a well earned glass of wine and put you feet up!  The party bags can be the crown of a great party and they don't have to cost the earth, but please you do get exactly what you pay for when it comes to party bags... As suppliers we have had to compete with full package venues who offer the party bags as part of the package but then skimp on the contents, party bags have suffered a bad name for a long time, but we offer great quality at the best price we can.

1 Week to go...

Plan you menu, do you have facilities for cooked food?  If so you might want to consider, pizza or hot dogs and chips, it is simple and easy on you and your pocket.  Finger foods cost a little more and take a little longer to prepare.

You should have your final guest list by now, you should have your menu, your entertainment, room decoration, table decoration and tableware and party bags, your cake is ordered and your little one super excited!

2 days to go...

If you are preparing food, you will need to go shopping.

1 Day to go...

Pick up the cake

On the day...

Arrive early with you helpers and start to decorate the room, prepare the food and wait for the entertainer to arrive.

Greet your guests as they arrive, relax and have a wonderful party!

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