In just over one month my eldest daughter is turning six – where did the time go?! This year I’ve promised her a party, and she has been talking about it non stop for the past six months. If it were up to Miss R, we would have started the planning in early December. One and a half months might seem like a lot, but if six years can whizz by as quick as they have that time will go by before we know it and the party will be upon us. I’ve determined to be organised this time around, since last years Enchanted forest fairy party that we threw for Miss K turned out to both blow the budget and end up in a last minute rush of organisation. To help myself out I have designed a comprehensive Party Planner, and you can share it too.
*Note this post contains some affiliate links, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The party planner is 4 pages long and covers everything from invitations to food, games and favours. It also includes a budget and estimated cost for each, so you can see just how much your plans are all adding up.
Click here to print out your free Party Planner
My party planning tips:
It’s easy for the cost of kids parties to really add up, even when you keep it simple. That’s why for my party planner there is room for a total budget and then an estimated cost for each category, so you can see if you’re overspending and can cut costs accordingly. Filling this out for our upcoming party has helped me to realise the appeal of the pre-organised parties in an existing venue (like indoor play lands). They seem expensive when you look at the brochure but when you add up the many costs of throwing your own party it’s actually not that bad at all, considering it’s about zero work on your part and the kids still get a fun day to remember.
Being a graphic designer by trade I always make my own invites, but not everybody has the time nor the inclination to do that. You can also easily outsource great looking hand made ones from Etsy. Some of my favourite invitation sellers are Paper Zoo Printables, Print Smitten and Sarah Jane Studio but there are many more.
I love this fab Super Hero invitation by Paper Zoo on Etsy
Decorations and Supplies:
First stop for me for decorations is always the local discount store. They have some pretty great party stuff and most of it is really cheap. If you live in Australia Spotlight has everything in every colour (if you can’t find it in the discount stores first), or the big department stores are not bad also. If you like to make your own decorations you need to add up how much all the materials you need to make them are going to cost, sometimes it’s not really that much cheaper – but of course it always looks more original and adds an element of fun if you’re creatively inclined. Check out my Parties board on Pinterest for tons and tons of creative party decorating ideas.
When it comes to food I find the simpler the better. I’m on the lookout for recipes and snacks that look effective but take minimal effort, since it usually needs to be made in a hurry amongst a bunch of other things like decorating, cleaning, cake making and getting the kids ready. Fruit on skewers, platters of savoury crackers and dips, and some simple cupcakes usually go down well. Last time we made the mistake of throwing a lunch time party, which meant providing a main meal for everybody as well as the party food spread and that can really add to the cost. This time we’ll be going for a mid afternoon party and won’t have to worry about lunch.
It can be a bit intimidating seeing the amazing cakes that pop up on Pinterest searches when you type in your chosen theme. When I was a kid, I was happy with a simple strawberry shortcake every single year (in fact, my Mum still makes them for me now), and I rarely remember my friends having a work-of-art cake at their parties. As long as it was a cake with candles to blow out we were happy. These days the pressure is on, but there are still ways to make a fancy looking cake without putting in that much effort. You can short cut the cake-making part by buying a pre-made slab cake or double un-iced sponge from the supermarket, or simply using a packet cake mix. For Miss K’s 3rd birthday I made this simple castle cake by buying a double un-iced sponge and a packet of sponge roll cakes and decorating them with choc-dipped ice cream cones, cream, wafers and marshmallows to look like a castle. You don’t even need to choc-coat the cones (it was fiddlier than it sounds and took longer than I thought it would). She was chuffed.
For last year’s cake at the Enchanted Forest Fairy Party I went all out and baked the sponge myself. I’m sorry to say it would have tasted better if I’d gone and bought the Supermarket version, but it did look pretty fancy with the simple topping of cream, fresh berries and some wire butterflies from the discount store to decorate.
Party favours can be everything and anything, just a little freebie that the kids can take home with them after the party. Not long ago they were selling large bags of plastic junk toys at Aldi, really cheap, so I stocked up for our party favours (not the most original idea but the kids seem to love that stuff). They can also help to fill the Pinata that Miss R has her heart set on having. You definitely don’t need to be giving kids more plastic junk though, you can be as creative as you like and make your own favours. Etsy has some awesome party favour ideas that would cost the same as putting together a bag of plastic junk and lollies. Crimson Hill makes a huge range of different themed hand made soap party favours , like these cute “Soap Popsicles” pictured below. Don’t they look yummy?
Here are some more useful links to help you plan your party…
100 kids Party ideas by Octavia and Vicky
How to create a beautiful children’s party on a budget by My Little Bookcase for Childhood 101
25 fun and fabulous party favour loot bag ideas by Childhood 101
Visit my Pinterest Parties board for plenty more inspiration