You guys know that I LOVE to plan a party. In fact it may well be my favourite thing to do – no matter how stressed it makes me or how weird I get about it (ask my husband or mother how pedantic I am about how everything needs to match or look like it does in my head. Which it never does, but that’s another story for another day).
A couple days ago I mentioned that Knox and I share a birthday which means that this year I’ll be celebrating my 31st with a Transformers party. Which, as parties go, is not a bad way to celebrate. But I wanted more. Not because I think I needed more per say, I have just been pining away for a fairy lite boho vibes party since my 30th last year. I didn’t end up doing it because we went away for the weekend instead, but this year you guys have convinced me to do it and I love y’all for it.
So I thought I’d share how I usually plan the parties that we do. Except that now we’re going to be doing this one on steroids!
How I Plan A Party –
6 months before:
Does that sound crazy that I’m already planning a party 6 months before it happens? Maybe. But in reality my kids have already decided on the theme of their next party the moment this one finishes! Anyway, you’re going to want to discuss a party theme with your child/children. Visit Pinterest if you need some Pinspiration – we have a whole board dedicated to this here – themes for days. The reason that you start early is so that if you spot something that is theme appropriate while out and about – you buy the thing! Trust me, when you go back a week before the party – it will NOT be there.
5 months before:
Confirm the party theme with the children because children are fickle beasts. Start or continue the Pinterest board that you have created for ideas. Don’t be specific – pin things for colours, vibe, food ideas etc.
4 months before:
Determine the venue for the party – if it’s a popular venue, book it now to avoid disappointment. We always used to hire a little hall but it turned out to be a lot more work cleaning and carting everything there that now we have it at home. Which means that it’s super cramped if it rains but whatevs, what can you do. I’m not that keen to pay R1000 plus just for a venue nowadays.
2/3 months before:
Are you hiring anything like a jumping castle, magician, zoo or something that you’re bringing in externally? Maybe even a party planner if doing it yourself is not your vibe? Book them now or you’ll be left with the crappy things no on else wants.
1 month before:
Try and coerce the husband into making invitations. Give up and make the invite on Canva instead (it’s such an easy program to use and you can make really cool things). I whipped this one up yesterday for the little shindig I’m planning for the end of the month.
My advice is that you shouldn’t do Facebook events. they aren’t personal enough and people just don’t RSVP through them. I’ve been burned hard there and I’ll never do that again.
3 weeks before:
Sit down and figure out what entertainment you want to provide for the kids at the party. Research theme related decor, crafts and “party packs” so that you can start gathering all the things that you need. The more parties I throw the less I am starting to care about trying to plan a million games and things. I try and do just one big game and one cool take home for the kids and that’s it. Also I don’t do edible party packs because they tend to eat so much crap at the party already. We have also had “brownies in a bag” for a baking party and Shaun the Sheep party packs if you are looking for ideas. But that’s just me. Obvs feel free to do you.
2 weeks before:
You’ll probably have to send out a reminder to RSVP to almost everyone you’ve invited because people are chops and wouldn’t have responded. Also bear in mind that even the people that have said yes will find something else more important to do on the day – you’re not supposed to feel offended because that’s just Cape Town for you.
10 days before:
Sit down and write a list of all the birthday cake making things, last minute decor things and actual food for the party. Order the themed cupcakes (or the actual cake if that’s your vibe) and a few extras from a trusted baker (because you probably won’t have time to make those).
Print anything you need printed like cake toppers etc. Spend hours cutting everything out 😉 Like the million butterflies we did that one time I was like, smoking crack or something.
8 days before:
If your party packs need prep – prep them now. Around this time your kid will request to change the theme of the party. Answer this with “that Mom look” and watch them run away in fear. Finalise party packs and put them out of reach of the children
6 days before:
Check your lists. Resist urge to punch someone in the face. Do a last call for RSVP’s. Again.
2 days before:
Start planning the birthday cake. If you need specialised utensils, get them now. Enquire about the venue and what time you can get there to decorate or fetch keys etc. Double check your ingredients list for the things that you are making. Place orders for any additional edible things you need – like bulks rolls, boerewors etc.
1 day before:
I always take this day off because I’m extra like that. I spend the day baking the birthday cake and collecting anything that was pre-ordered, setting up decor and making sure my kids don’t touch anything.
7pm the night before:
Make enough icing for the birthday cake. Maybe test the craft if you haven’t yet. Make any last minute decor.
Try to be accommodating of the people that are now calling in to say that they won’t be able to make it. Try not to take your anger out on the cake that you are now busy making. Ask husband to help make the form of the cake as you are actually just useless. Although that’s probably only me.
Make coffee for the husband who is trying not to drop kick the ball of fondant across the room.
Upscale to wine. This will help you to be OK with how it’s turning out – there’s not much else you can do now. Sprinkle a handful of glitter on it for good measure. Glitter makes everything better.
Fall into bed exhausted.
THE DAY IS HERE!
Listen to your kids as wonder through to the lounge in the morning and as they gasp in excitement at their cake. Know that all the work was worth it.
Contemplate actually getting up and making your house people worthy. But only after breakfast. Curse your children for being able to make a mess within seconds of entering a room. If you’re having it at home, put any special toys or breakable things out of the reach of the kids.
Start putting the decor up as well as set up the venue with the chairs and tables in the “right” places. Start laying out the platters and welcome the jumping castle people (who need the deposit upfront). Take 1000 pictures of the party as it starts coming together. Place all the food perfectly on the “party table”. Take more pictures. Resist the urge to eat anything before anyone comes. Take more pictures. Threaten kids with imminent death if they touch a single thing on the table.
Put the coffee machine on. Wish you’d done it sooner. Welcome guests who have arrived like and hour early. Run around like a mad thing trying to get every last minute thing done now that people are actually arriving.
Eat, drink and be merry. Make more coffee. Try and remember to actually eat. Play the game. Make the craft. Have the fun. Don’t forget to sing and cut the cake before people start leaving.
Start packing up. Say goodbye to the jumping castle. Console the children. Say goodbye to the last few guests. Try and send home as much food with the guests as possible because you simply can’t eat all the leftover cake.
Surround your birthday kid with all their presents and let them open them. Try and write down who everything is from. Get side tracked and just thank everyone vaguely for everything.
Get the kids to bed (which after all the sugar is probably going to be a flipping mission). Then snuggle up on the couch with a mug of hot coffee and plan how you’ll do this all again next year.
Other parties that we have had or been to with a cool theme:
- Camping Party
- Spy Party
- Paw Patrol Party
- The Faraway Tree Party
- Superhero Party
- Rainbows and Kites Party
- Shaun The Sheep Party
- Bling Party
- Butterfly Party
- Dinosaur Party
- Murder Mystery party (this ones for the adults)
- Cowboy Party
- A Baking Party (one of my favourites)
- Mister Maker Party
- Alice in “one”derland party
- Mermaid Party
- Sixties Party (also adult but doesn’t have to be)
- Princess Party
- Circus Party