As you are planning your next party, here are some helpful tips and ideas to keep in mind!
NUMBER ONE: The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your guests will be. Same with your kid(s). If you are relaxed and having fun at the party, they will feel at ease to do the same. (And if I am planning it for you, sit back & let me do the work! Your job is to enjoy the party and entertain your adult guests. The rest is up to me!)
Plan ahead: The more time you give yourself to plan, the more relaxed you will be the day of the party. Make a checklist and give yourself a reasonable time line for each thing you need to get done. Don't be afraid to delegate. Hire a party planner or give the husband, relatives or kids their own lists. Kids LOVE to be involved. Have them help make the decorations, decorate the room, make cookies, make gift tags, choose the colors or take home gifts, etc. My daughter and I had lots of fun in the dead of winter painting sea shells for her upcoming mermaid party!
Setting the stage: Pillows, throws, picture frames, books, home decor, stuffed animals, toys...these can all be used to help set the stage. Any fun color coordinating items should be pulled out and placed in party areas. Pull them out early for inspiration. Sometimes you already have a lot of great items at home. Anything you have in the house that goes with the theme can be worked into the decor. For example, your daughter's vanity, dolls, barbies, or princess costumes could be brought out for play at a princess party. Bring out any unique instruments - especially the bongos - for a safari party. Use for either decoration or play! A pretty leopard chair or throw would look great in the room you are using for that safari party!
Reading material: For spa parties I like to set out any girl magazines or catalogs. Girls Life, American Girl, Nat'l Geographic Kids, and Highlights are all great examples. Setting them in a basket or on a table beside the pedicure station is a fun touch...just like the real thing! You could also add any books you think would be fun for them to read. Cars and trucks for a boys party. Jungle or animal related books for a jungle theme. Do a book reading for them or ask them to act out their favorite character in the book.
Music: Background music can really help set the stage, too. For spa parties, I like to start with tranquil music like you’d hear in a spa or salon. Or for a fun twist, have a pop playlist all ready with her favorite songs! Have fun and be creative with music! Pick up The Little Mermaid soundtrack for a mermaid party, jungle music for a safari party, Old MacDonald for a farm party, etc. You can also find some sweet personalized CD’s (like a Disney princess tea party CD) online or special kiosks at the mall. I surprised my daughter with one of these at her fairy princess tea party and she was delighted to hear her name being sung by her favorite princesses!
Candy: Sweets are a big hit, and of course, can look beautiful on a table or buffet. It can even work as a centerpiece! Consider large colorful lollipops in a planter filled with jelly beans. Candy in clear ribbon wrapped vases or jars. M&M's in different party shades in a martini glass or clear jar or container are super cute. Be creative! An idea I got from a super creative mom recently: fill a large glass container with gumballs or candy, then add pom pom sticks, party sticks, or wands. Makes a great centerpiece!
Carry The Theme To Your Table: Color coordinate your juice/punch, fruit, jello, veggies, snacks, colored popcorn, and make special shaped cookies and sandwiches. Any of these things (even in small quantities) can make a big statement and add to the look of your buffet table. I like to use cookie cutters for my sandwiches. A few favorites are flip flops, flowers and butterflies. Great for princess/fairy, spa and tea parties. Animals are great for safari parties & I use my heart and star cutters often, too.
Paper goods: Color coordinated paper goods add a real polish to your party. They carry the theme and add that finishing touch. Consider buffet cards, water bottle labels, party signs, food picks, napkin holders, and/or name cards. There are many great places to find them online. I sell my own creations on Etsy, if you want to take a peek! www.etsy.com/shop/prettimini
Unique party gifts and gift bags: How about a color coordinated lunch bag as both a take home and the gift bag? Or try a beach bucket for a mermaid or under the sea theme. Also cute for spa parties to fill a pail with bath products. A red pail or crafts and toys is super sweet for a fire truck theme! Or how about a pot filled with seeds, and garden goodies for a garden or nature party? The possibilities are endless! I also think filling the bags with a few special items (craft items, small books, home made baked goods, or theme related items) is much nicer than a bag of candy or little plastic toys that soon break or get lost).
Wrap it up! Wrapping your child's gift in a color coordinated paper is also a nice touch. Cow paper for a farm party. All pink for a princess party. Zebra for a safari theme...you get the idea. For a mermaid party, pick up a some aqua printed paper and tie with net or embellish with mermaids and sea creatures. I had so much fun doing this for my daughter’s mermaid party.
Sparkle: Glitter adds a nice effect. I love sprinkling it here and there...on tables and centerpieces. Confetti is fun, too, and is nice for boys parties.
Hand made: Consider a special keepsake for your child's party like a personalized banner or hand made items that make your party stand out from the crowd. Hand made cookies with a thank you label can be a nice alternative to more expensive items.
Hope these tips are helpful to you! If you live in Pa or NJ and need help with your next party, feel free to contact me!