If you’ve been hanging about these parts for a while you’ll know that in my full-time work days I was an Event Manager. I now lecture future Event Managers which is much more family friendly work than the odd hours Event staff do.
I LOVE parties and I love birthdays too….I especially love kids parties and celebrating my baby’s birthdays is all kinds of awesome….but I have a disclaimer….I love the kind of party that is well organised and pretty but I’m not keen on anything that looks over produced. I love a good theme and all of Bebito’s parties to date have had one – his first birthday had a Where the Wild things Are, his second, an Oliver Jeffers’ “How to Catch a Star” theme, his third a “racing car” and his fourth (a very small gathering) saw a construction vehicle theme – and I think it works well to have one. My boys’ birthdays are both coming up and we are having a “construction” mini-party for Bebito and a “hot air balloon” theme for Little Lion’s 1st Birthday and Naming Day (I’ll share more about that in another post).
As an event manager, I have a few tips to share about how to organise a “good” kids party for would be party planners:
– my biggest and best advice to is to know your client. I think this applies to a super swish corporate gig or to a 1st Birthday party. Who is the person you’re trying to impress by having the party? Your small person? Your mother-in-law? When you know this it’ll guide you as to the type of party and even the time of day.
– My second bit of advice is to focus on a few important details – maybe the cake or the decorations – the thing that is going to appeal to your client the most. The rest of it isn’t so important.
– Don’t get caught up in trying to make everything perfect. Good event managers have a bit of a “good enough is close enough” attitude that comes from planning things in advance and letting things fall how they will.
– Don’t think you have to spend a fortune to have a good party. I’ve never yet spent more than a few hundred dollars on everything associated with Bebito’s birthdays gone by. This is easier when you focus on only a few important things.
– Do as little as possible on the day of the party – if you’re like me, you’ll be worried about how the guests are getting along and making lots of food or doing lots of preparation on the day is an extra stress you don’t need. For Little Lion’s 1st Birthday I have chosen a menu that means I don’t have to make anything on the day. Also, magazines like Donna Hay have great tips on how to organise a Christmas lunch well in advance too.
– Don’t be scared to enlist the help of your loved ones with catering and ensuring the guests are enjoying themselves. My Mr is a brilliant mingler as are a couple of our friends so we know we can count on them to get around and make everyone feel welcome.
– Don’t think you’ll make everyone happy! There will ALWAYS be someone with a sourpuss at every gathering – they could be a three year old or indeed, your mother-in-law! As long as your “client” has a good time and you can see smiley faces about you can consider it a success!
– Do something a little bit surprising. For Little Lion’s upcoming 1st Birthday and Naming Day we are getting our guests to fill out this cute little wish list card for him.
– Send thank you cards! I think this is just plain good manners but I may be a bit old fashioned about these things. I prepare these at the same time as I do the invitations.
– Plan something nice for the grown ups too – coffee or wine is a nice touch – it’s not just about the kids after all but don’t make it your biggest focus – remember your audience isn’t the grown ups after all!
– Don’t be scared to umm….”steal” ideas from other sources. Heck, that’s what pinterest is all about isn’t it? 🙂 Which brings me to my giveaway! ….
Thanks to the folks at Pan Macmillan I have three copies of the soon to be released book, “Party!” that is absolutely full to the brim with excellent kids party ideas. The big themes are covered – fairy princess, space, dinosaurs, cars and trucks, craft, cooking, zoo – to mention a few. It includes decoration tips, recipes, costumes, invitations and so, so, so many ideas around each theme which really does make it a comprehensive guide to having a birthday party. Even the most nervous party planner could feel confident using this book as a guide. I think some of the ideas would work equally well for “grown up” parties too!
If you’d like to win a copy all you need to do is comment below telling me what your favourite ever birthday cake was from your childhood…or the best cake you’ve witnessed was. My Mama made me one of those dolls in a cake thing for my 9th birthday and I thought it was the best thing I ever did see in my entire life even though I was never really a doll kind of girl.
Good luck lovelies!
Amended….& random.org has drawn numbers 2, 11 & 6 which is Kate, Natalie & Gab. Exciting! Lovely Kate can you please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – Nat & Gsb I’ll be in touch. Congrats and thanks to all who entered! Xxx
– Open from today, Saturday September 1st 2012, through to 6pm Tuesday September 4th 2012
when I’ll draw the three winners at random
– Sorry, Australian residents only
– If you’d like to tweet about the giveaway please do but leave a comment telling me you have done so
– I’ll need to pass on your details to the folks at Pan Macmillan to have the book sent on to you