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Birthday party preparation - top tips

For anyone that is in the middle of birthday party planning, you will know all too well how daunting it can be to organise all the little details, where to order decorations, and how do you do a balloon garland…

I’ve put together some tips to help navigate and take out some of that stress, add some magic, along with some great suppliers.

Picking a theme

This year our theme came together quite easily as we were on holidays in the beautiful Yamba – which I strongly recommend for a family holiday with little ones! The place we stayed at catered for toddlers and kids, hands down are going again next year. But that can be another blog.

We were playing in the kids pool and Isla had seen a big blow up flamingo pool toy over in the adults pool, and she asked “What is that?”, I said, “It’s a Flamingo!” She looked at me and said “MeCow”, I replied to correct her, “no, Flamingo”, with her response more adamant “Me-Cow” - you can see where this is going, an almost two year old determined she is correct. So her party theme was born.

We were lucky that flamingo themes are so in right now, and of course since they are pink it was easy to match the decorations to the theme.

When you pick a theme, you want to make sure you can cater to that theme, or at least the colour palette in your decorations. Also grab inspiration from other parties you have been to during the year.

Some easy ways to decide on a theme:

  • The popular choice: like us, what is your little one interested, or infatuated in
  • Trendy: what is the going trend that a lot of the party suppliers could cater for
  • Instagram worth: I love getting inspiration from Pinterest or Instagram for the perfect party idea, and just how well it can be pulled together
  • What has been done: if you’re lucky to have all the other birthday parties before yours – see what you like best from this years’ parties.

Entertainment

You will want to think about booking entertainment early to ensure they are available for the date. I haven’t been to many parties where I have thought – wow that entertainer was great.

The idea of getting entertainers is so they kids have lots to do and you can chat amongst yourselves, but that isn’t the reality. I have found that all parents tend to stand around and watch as well, why wouldn’t you though, it is super cute to watch the little ones interact.

The best party entertainment we have been to would have been one from my Mothers’ group, she hired Einsteinz music, not sure if they do parties but my friend knew them well. They were amazing, got all the kids involved, I would highly recommend them.

For our party, we ended up turning our backyard into a little play/ obstacle course, which the kids just loved and ran around from one activity to another, we put out blankets and chairs for parents, it was a nice little picnic vibe.

We had a jumping castle from Kmart (only $49 and could fit 3 kids at a time), Isla loves it, we blow it up each weekend so getting a lot of ongoing use. We also had a little slide, a little plastic pool we put sand in for a sandpit and a ballpit.

Backyard Party

Invitations
In a digital age there are so many ways to invite via facebook, or email, but I do still enjoy receiving a printed invitation, it’s the only time you can really do something special and personal these days.

Custom made Invitations - @kikigracedesigns
Such an amazing mumma can create all your items: milestone boards, welcome signs, invitations and even a time capsule to match your theme.

Do it yourself invitations – Zazzle is always a good place to print your designs, or choose from their range of templates all printed and delivered. They usually have discounts on invitations every couple of weeks, so sign up to their newsletter for all the latest deals.

Decorations

This is the fun part, now that you have your theme and entertainers booked, let’s get creative.

Pintrest and instagram is my main inspiration, I love seeing what other mums have put together. I have listed below some of the amazing companies I have come across that make it all so easy:

For all your decoration needs in a box, I would highly recommend @ohmyparty
They have set boxes you can choose from that include invitations and all decorations. I found this the easiest way rather than running around to party shops looking for what I wanted. They even customised to our Flamingo theme with the additions. We had a milestone poster made up, and the pack came with everything: themed cups, straws, napkins, handmade letter I for display, lolly bags and balloons. 

Balloon garlands - @bloonco.au
they are super easy to put together, and so many colour schemes to fit in with your theme, can do it the night before or the morning of the party.

For an easy how to guide on balloon garlands, check out this site: How to DIY a Balloon Garland

Airlie.rose party

 Image from @Airlie.Rose

Cake toppers - @decor.by.lala and @Rubyrabbit

@Rubyrabbit is also a great online party supply shop that have so many themes as well. I ended up getting Isla’s cake topper and tablecloth from here, they were so perfect.

Flower crown - @harlow_london
These are so gorgeous, @airlie.rose had an amazing flower crown for her first birthday, it just topped of her cute little outfit. 

Party favours:

I stole a great idea from one of my close friend, instead of giving away lolly bags at the end, especially at this age where parents might not be 100% on board with a bag of lollies, we went to Kmart and bought about 50 Flamingo soft toys for a giveaway (only $5 each which we would have spent on a little bag anyway). Then we had bowls of lollies and empty bags on the table that parents could stock up on if they wanted and take home.

Kmart flamingos

The flamingos were a huge hit, after the party I had so many pictures and messages of the kids, a few tantrums because they couldn’t find their flamingo, and any spare we were able to take back with tags still on. I had cute little thankyou tags from @ohmyparty that I tied around their necks.

Isla is still so much in love with her flamingo that it featured in our family portraits this year. And she remembers it’s from her birthday as she sings happy birthday to it.

Birthday gift ideas:

For the big day, I had no idea what I could get Isla, as her daddy spoils her rotten every day and it’s so close to Christmas she had everything. So we went with a custom made hamper from the so talented Joy from @queen_of_creations. She custom makes a hamper to any budget. It was amazing to see her face light up when she opened the hamper. It was a great surprise for me too as I left it all up to Joy to build it with our theme in mind.

Joy was amazing, she asked some key questions about Isla and what she likes. I mean Isla was turning two, so it was mainly what I wanted rather than her, but she got it spot on for her personality. Of course it was flamingo inspired, with a lot of girly and sparkly gifts. The morning I brought it into the room to sing happy birthday, all she could say was “wow”. It was perfect. I will be creating one each year for her, and once again I didn’t need to think too hard about it.

Final tips – helping hands

Having family help for me was a must, it’s impossible to entertain, take the photos and hand out food and drinks, I always put someone on photos with instructions of what I want them to snap just so nothing is missed.

My amazing friend baked and decorated the birthday cake, I just showed her a few images from pintrest and she nailed it, the cake was amazing.

The only downside was walking into the kitchen afterwards, not having the energy to even look at it, I just walked straight out, asked my niece if she wanted to earn some pocket money – and viola the kitchen was transformed, she has a job every year.

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There are so many amazing small businesses out there that have amazing products to make your little ones parties special. We would love for you to share any other amazing businesses you have come across, and we will build a directory list.

feel free to drop us a line if you enjoyed this blog.


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