PARTY PLANNING 101: IT’S ALL ABOUT TIME MANAGEMENT

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Big H learning how to make tissue paper pompoms.

We are having our party for Middle A on Saturday and she is turning 6!  Can’t believe it.  Where has the time gone?  Theme is Shopkins because A) she still loves those darn things and B) Big H had a Shopkins party before and I had amazing props that I wanted to reuse.

As I’m still getting over a cold, I recruited Big H to help make tissue paper pompoms.  I started them a few days ago so I wouldn’t feel stressed or rushed at the last minute.

As party planning goes, I think I’ve got the hang of it.  For me, it’s thinking ahead.  I’m great working under pressure, but I feel way better knowing I’m done ahead of time (it’s like with report cards…done a week before due date, I feel chill…watching people stress makes me stress too.  The worst was when the printer ran out of ink!).

Here’s my tried and true method for planning a successful event:

  1. Look for important days on the calendar (e.g. birthday, Christmas, Easter, etc.)  Two months before the day, create an invitation.  I find that two months is a good amount of time because people usually haven’t booked that far ahead.  It gives them about a month to RSVP.  For the latest girls’ birthday parties, the girls come up with the guest list which usually includes classmates.  They are better at narrowing down their list.  They used to include everyone under the sun, but now that parties are usually at home, they know that we can’t have 50-person parties.  It’s usually half that and it’s perfect. We include their cousin and god-siblings.  We’ve also been making birthday invitations by hand which is fun for them and is more personal for the guests.
  2. Come up with a theme.  For me, it’s easier to have a theme than not.  Characters, designs, colours, all help bring the aesthetics together and I have a focus.  I’m not good with a mishmash of stuff for a party.  Maybe it’s my scrapbooking eye, but when it’s just a bunch of random stuff, it feels disorganized and incohesive.  To continue, order a nut-free cake to go with said theme.
  3. Give a RSVP date that is reasonable for the parents to decide, but also enough time for you to get the numbers to order food and to make loot bags.  However, sometimes the RSVP date isn’t immediate enough and I’ve had to send friendly reminder notes to school.  For me, I get an invitation and I answer within the week.  My kid is either coming or not.  I’m not waiting around for something better, and if that’s why you aren’t answering our invite, then please just answer no.  (I wouldn’t want you there anyway.)
  4. A couple of weeks before the party, start buying or making decorations.  I made the birthday banner, photo frames, and tissue paper pompoms.  HTD made the annual birthday sign that goes on the cake table.  He created a colourful “Middle A’s 6th Birthday” one using Shopkins characters with his mad Photoshop skills.  The night before I will put everything on the wall as well as decorate the main table.  If I do that any earlier, we simply won’t have any kitchen table to eat at.  In the kitchen, we are putting up Shopkins posters and my husband has to get out the ladder to hang the pompoms.  If the weather is good, part of the party will be outdoors in the backyard.  (Keeping fingers crossed for a beautiful Saturday!)
  5. About a week before the party, buy lootbag items. In the beginning, we used to do a lot of nonsense like stickers, pencils, little toys, and whatever went with the theme.  A couple of years later, I started to do more snacks because food is more practical.  Last year, we did bubble wands with tags that read, “Thanks for popping by!”   I’ve done books because I’m always pushing early literacy.  🙂 The girls are now great at making lootbags so it’s not as big a chore as it used to be.
  6. The day before the party, I clean the house.  The morning of, I vacuum again (you’d be surprised how many crumbs Baby C can drop in a meal).  The food is picked up, laid out, or ordered.  Cake is picked up and guests start to arrive.  The parents who drop-off fill out a form (though the invitation also mentioned to email me regarding allergies) with emergency numbers and allergies.  It’s such a teacher move, but they love it.  Some parents come back early to chat and for cake.  Otherwise, the two hours fly by quickly with games and food.

Check in next week to see how the party went.  🙂

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