When it comes to hosting your child’s birthday, a little preparation goes a long way. Here’s how to avoid being up to your elbows in icing sugar at the 11th hour.
Always plan the party around when the kids will be at their freshest. “Morning teatime is great as they’re not too exhausted from the day yet,” advises event stylist and founder of The Festive Co, Alexis Teasdale. And don’t be shy to state an end time on the invitation. For the record, two hours is the magic number. Words: Eliza Ashe Photography: Lindy Goodwin
Party time, excellent!
Always plan the party around when the kids will be at their freshest. “Morning teatime is great as they’re not too exhausted from the day yet,” advises Teasdale. And don’t be shy to state an end time on the invitation. For the record, two hours is the magic number. Speaking of invitations, Teasdale suggests sending invites at least one month in advance and if it’s a particularly busy time of the year (read: Christmas or school holidays), it’s worth sending a save the date.
Like a Girl Scout, always be prepared
Although it’s important to be flexible, it’s worth having a rough game plan on how you imagine the event will run. “I like to have several ‘stations’ set up, like craft activities and a snack table that the kids can dive into as soon as they enter,” explains Teasdale. Then once all the guests have arrived, it’s time to roll out the group games or an entertainer. “That could be anything from pass the parcel to a treasure hunt followed by the birthday cake,” she adds.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
When it comes to saving time (and your sanity), it pays to skimp on the smaller items like tableware and decorations and spend your money where it really matters: on food and entertainment. “Basics activities like crayons, stickers and pass the parcel never go out of style,” says Teasdale. As for party favours, a little treat is always welcome, but not essential. “A fresh tub of play dough, a packet of chalk, lucky dip tubs, or a pair of cheap and colourful sunglasses are ideal.”
“When selecting an entertainer always ask for recommendations from other parents and look for someone who can multitask. I recently had a face painter who doubled as a balloon twister – more bang (not literally the balloons didn’t burst) for my buck,” says Teasdale.
Food for thought
If outsourcing catering is out of the question, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends to pitch in. “Jazz up regular fruit skewers by using cookie cutters to press shapes, tubs of salt-free popcorn are fun, as is anything the kids can do themselves like decorating mini pizzas,” suggests Teasdale.
Keep it personal
While Pinterest and Instagram provide an endless stream of styling ideas for parents, it’s important the event reflects your little one’s personality. If your child is stuck for a theme, Teasdale says she’s seeing a return to simple, retro themes like old-fashioned sports days, ponies, cars and even basic colours.
Alexis’s top tips for a stress-free party
1. Work with your space. If it’s small don’t pack in too many people, or look at a local park so there’s room to run around. 2. Speaking of outside, have a back up plan for wet weather. 3. Outsource where possible. It can all become overwhelming at the final hour. 4. If you’re making a complicated cake, don’t attempt it for the first time the night before. 5. Send a friendly reminder the day before. With so many parties and commitments every weekend, a little reminder note with the details will be welcomed by parents. 6. No one likes to miss out on birthday cake, so always schedule the cake for three quarters of the way into the party in case some guests have to leave early.
Shop The Look
1. Lark Tissue Paper Balls, from $3.95 each. 2. Lark Gold Glitter Crown (Pack of 8), $19.95. 3. Lark Catch Cup Game, $9.95. 4. Papier D’Amour Yummy Doughnut Bunting, $20. 5. Papier D’Amour Comic Cake Toppers (set of 6), $10. 6. Hello Naomi Yo Gabba Gabba Decorated Cookies, from $6 each. 7. Hello Naomi Birthday Cake, $POA. 8. The Party Cupboard Paper cups, $7 (pack of 12). 9. The Party Cupboard hats (pack of 8), $5. 10. Leo and Bella Cake Candle Cactus Set (set of 5), $16.95. 11. Leo and Bella Drinks Caddy, $35. 12. Leo and Bella Piñata, $49.90.