Some Awesome Helpful Hints
It’s a Family Affair
Turn party preparations into a family project, not only will you have less work to do, but your children will feel they helped make the party a success.
Plan for it to Take More Time
Make a realistic estimate of how much preparation time is involved and how much time you can devote to party preparation. Things always take longer than you plan. My rule of thumb is to figure what it should take, then double it.
Plan for it to Take Less Time
My other rule of thumb is to expect any activity you plan for the kids to do during the party to take half the time you think it will before the kids are ready to move on. So, have extra activities ready just in case.
It is much easier to find 15-30 minutes per evening than to make all of the projects on the last weekend (or night) before the party. Use the pull-down menu to look at the schedule I put together. It’s a good list of what should be done and when it should be done in advance of the big day.
Make a list of things you need and where you can get them.
Make name tags or have the kids make name tags for all the guests. This will help when it comes time for you to direct one of the guests.
Organize the Party Room
Part of the secret of a well-organized party is a well-organized party area. Make sure the area is clean and safe. Will you need more space and move the couch? Do it before the guests arrive. You’ll be surprised what you find under it.
Have materials for games and activities set up nearby ready to distribute and use as necessary. Lay them out in the order in which they will be used so that anyone can help distribute them.
Think about the height of furniture for kids. For making crafts and kids under 5 place folding tables (or plywood) directly on the floor. Or raise them up by placing it on milk crates. Kid size plastic chairs are inexpensive buy or borrow some to make guests feel more comfortable.
Don’t forget trash bins. At least two or three in the party area.
Decorate a box or basket or set up a card table near the entry door. Have the guests put gifts there as they arrive. Later, as the gifts are opened, put them back in the box.
Have your camera ready. Make sure batteries are charged and have an extra battery available for the camera/flash.
You can expect at least one spill. Have paper towels or cloths handy in several places ready to do a quick pickup.
Put Fido Away
Make sure household pets are kept out of the party area out of harm’s way and where you don’t have to worry about bites, barks or scratches.
Is the Party Area Child Proof?
Survey the area and make sure anything that is a hazard or that can become a hazard is removed. (Remember the bathroom too.)
Every year young children are injured by broken or deflated balloons. Have a rule if a balloon deflates or is broken throw it out immediately.
Make Your Guests Welcome Immediately
Whenever possible, greet your guests at the door. Introduce them to at least one other guest. Gracefully acknowledge their gift.
Organize and Organize Some More
Imagine the phases of your party- planning, shopping, preparing, and the actual event. Then write all the specifics: It will help nail down details. My schedule will help with the planning.
Make Things Easy by Simplifying
Narrow choices-including menu and décor. Err on the side of simplicity. Too many options can make you overwhelmed and cost you time and money.
Enlist Some Help
No matter what size your party, it’s good to have help. Don’t be afraid to ask a guest to take coats, help in the kitchen or if it’s a kid’s party help with activities. (Or if you have the budget, hire someone. A neighborhood teen is perfect.)
Spice Up the Guest List
It’s the people who make a party when adults get together. Invite a variety of guests with different backgrounds, generations, and persuasions to mix things up. An eclectic guest list makes for a fun fete.
Timing is Key
Opt for an earlier party-like 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.- so you don’t have to serve a full dinner. Also, invite people three weeks before the event to give adequate notice.
Technology makes it simple to invite, update details and keep track of your attendees. And send an auto reminder a couple of days before the party to help prompt more responses. Evite.com offers beautiful inexpensive invitations as well as free ones.
Set the Mood with Music
Choose music that suits the party and your guests. Make your own playlist if time permits in advance or use one of the music services that play tunes based on genres, decades, or musicians.
Don’t forget to have fun.