Here is a simple checklist to make sure everything goes well for your son/daughter birthday party:
- List of invited guests. I always find it useful to run a list of invited kids on the excel spreadsheet to tick who responded yes or no, to make sure I get enough goodie bags and keep a track of siblings. Make it clear in your invitation if siblings are welcome or you prefer to limit the number of guests (if your party’s venue has constraints, guests would understand as soon as you put it politely). I always ask in the invitation to confirm if a guest is coming with a little brother or sister so I have plenty of goodie bags and don’t have to run last minute to find a spare chair.
- Invitations. More and more parties invites are sent through www.paperlesspost.com. It is quick to set up and is easy to keep the track of the responses. If you have time to make a paper invitation which is a nice touch, I use templates from https://www.paperlesspost.com/paper (which allows you to upload your child photo and change text), save it as a file and then print them on a nice paper in a local photo shop.
- Theme for the party & decorations: Your child probably will tell you exactly what s/he would love the party to be about. However, in case you need some inspiration here are few ideas by age:
- 1-2 yrs old: jungle animals, pirates, Minnie & Mickey Mouse;
- 3-4 yrs old: as above as well as Peppa Pig, Thomas the Engine, pirates & princesses, pyjama party, cow boys & girls;
- 5-6 yrs old: Disney princesses, Fairies, Hello Kitty, Superheroes, Ninja Turtles, circus (Madagascar 3 circus is our favourite), Despicable Me, Around the Word, racing cars;
- 7-8 yrs old: as above plus James Bond, Mission Impossible, Football, Harry Potter, Monster High, Fashion Show.
Amazon is an obvious place to check decorations as well as specialised online party retailers but if you have time it is worth checking the places like Johns Lewis, Selfridges or Harrods. You can find some nice small details to add to the settings. The list of things to order depends obviously how much you want to spend but I usually order:
- Foil (number for age and a character) and balloon weights;
- latex balloons and ribbons to match,
- plates (main and cake), spoons (cake) & forks (if hot food), cups, napkins, straws;
- table confetti and table clothes;
- scene setters, cut-outs, banners (you can do personalised);
- garlands and hanging decorations;
4. Entertainment: there is a wide range available in London, but here are more general suggestions by age:
- 1-2 yrs old: you easily can keep your guests happy with some toys, music and some soft play. If you want to hire some entertainment, I found that for this age live music with rhymes and some short story-telling is the best;
- 3-4 yrs old: music and rhymes still work well with some simple games and story improvisation; you can try live farm animals show or art/craft activities;
- 5-6 yrs old: games, magician, live animals (predators or farm), sport activities, cooking or cupcake decoration, cinema, t-shirt print making, science party;
- 7-8 yrs old: as above plus make up & dressing up with fashion show, military/spy operation/training, guided tours to stadiums, museums (with some activities afterwards), bus party, laser tags, go karting race.
- Extra touch: bouncy castle, facepainter, balloon makers, photographer. A lot of entertainers will provide basic facepainting and balloon making but there are also specialised people who do amazing job. One of balloon makers we invite to 3 House Club attends special balloon making conferences in the US to get new ideas for the parties (that what we call passion!). Photographer is a must for the 1st party as the event is extra special.
5. Food for kids and adults: We always suggest to go for simple food kids love. Pizza and sandwiches, some fruit and vegetable, apple juice and water are easy and always work. Chips/fish fingers/chicken nuggets instead of pizza and sandwiches is a nice option for winter. I always believe it is nice to offer some food and drinks for adults. We usually go for some tea/coffees with pastries for a morning party, prosecco/wine/beer with some finger food for the afternoon.
6. Cake: The main choice usually is among 3D cake, a flat cake (you can have an edible photo) or cupcakes. Good bakeries can make you a cake from a photo you find on the internet for your theme. We are using few places if you need an advice – let us know (info@3HouseClub.com).
7. Goodie bags. We always go for a nice book (on the party theme), a small toy and one sweet for older children. Lollies or Haribo will do or you can do for a nicer treats thematic based (e.g. check Waitrose or M&S for Frozen or Peppa chocolate lollies).
8. Venue: The venue choice depends on your entertainment, number of guests, parking, public transport access as well as if you want all to be organised for you or your prefer to do it yourself. We obviously believe that our venue at 3 House Club is the best one for local parties : )
You can check some inspirational ideas for table settings and decorations from the parties we run at 3 House Club on our website (www.3HouseClub.com) ot from our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/3HouseClub. Feel free to contact us at info@3HouseClub.com for any suggestions or if you would like to book a party at our venue.