The party has now been and gone (and all the boys appeared to have a good time!), so I will share some details with you. I thought I’d start at the very beginning (a very good place to start, as Maria would say) with how it was all planned.
Even though my son’s birthday is in May, we started thinking about this party months ago – in those quiet-ish days after Christmas. It’s nice for a young boy to have something to look forward to after all the hustle and bustle of the festive season has died down!
We started with the theme. I knew he would want a How to Train Your Dragon 2 party, but I had a couple of other options up my sleeve just in case. I know him pretty well 😉
Once the theme was approved by the birthday boy I started a Pinterest board ‘How to Train Your Dragon party’ and we began gathering ideas. Anything that looked like it might help was added – cake ideas, games suggestions, decorations…even colouring pages and scenes from the movie. This all helps the brain to start ticking over to see what might work, or what we might be able to adapt.
I also started a Word Document where I listed ideas that we had decided on. This included the guest list when that was finalised, colour scheme, decorations, food, and games. A few weeks before the party I started writing lists out on paper as well. You may like to use a phone app so it is always with you, but lists are important however you choose to make them!
Once we had come up with the date of the party and decided on a venue, we created the invitations. You can read about how I did that here. We usually opt for a local park as our party venue. Open space + fresh air = happy children! It does mean you need to be well prepared on the day, but if you forget something then you make do, or do without. Forgot a bottle of soft drink – oh well, there’s plenty of water instead. It’s not the end of the world. Forgot the matches or lighter – that’s a bit more important, but nevertheless ask around to see if someone else has something you can use, or just pretend! And as a last resort, home isn’t too far away.
The weather can be an important issue when holding a party outdoors. We were watching the weather reports very closely a week from the party, and keeping our fingers and toes crossed. We didn’t have a wet weather alternative, but the forecast was for only a very small amount of rain if any. So we took the risk….and we were very lucky that it stayed dry!
Ok, so the guest list was finalised and the invitations emailed out. I set up a folder in my email inbox, and when responses came through I moved the emails to the new folder so they wouldn’t get lost. I also updated my Word document to show who had replied.
On a separate note, when you ask for RSVPs and some people don’t respond, I think it is perfectly acceptable to follow up. A polite ‘Did you get our invitation to xxx’s party? We are just finalising numbers and need to know if zzzz is able to come. We are paying a deposit/printing up t-shirts/engraving names on plaques so need to know by tomorrow, thank you.’ Of course, I just made up those last examples, but if you were holding the party at a venue where you need to pay per guest, then it’s very important to have correct numbers.
A couple of weeks before the party, I started adding things to my weekly shopping list. This saved a last minute budget blow-out, but also meant I could see what was available and adapt our plans to suit.
As you can see, we went with a red and black colour scheme.
A mid-afternoon time slot and an outdoor setting meant that the food for the party needed to be simple and easy. No hot dishes for us! Depending on where and when your party is held will determine your food and drink choices. You may also consider having your party catered, so that will need to be organised well in advance.
Something else we planned well in advance of the party was what to put in the lolly bags. Yes, we included some lollies – it is a party after all – but I like to include something that will last a little longer than a day. So I searched eBay and came up with a set of dragons. I ordered a couple of sets because at that stage the guest list had not even been discussed. Each boy got one 🙂 Here is a similar set:
In the days leading up to the party I added more detail to my lists of what we needed to take. Important things like candles, a knife and lighter for the cake, what order we were going to play the games and what was needed to play those games eg balls, pins and blindfold etc. As far as I am aware, I only forgot one thing – blindfolds for ‘Pin the…’ game. So we made do. In the car was an old jumper which we cut off the sleeves to fashion into a blindfold. The boys thought it was a dirty sock!! I did reassure them that wasn’t the case.
I will be adding more posts about the party over the next few days, so make sure you come back for those.
And here’s what we did for last year’s birthday – an Adventure Time theme 🙂
So there you have it – how I planned and prepared for my son’s 9th birthday party! I’ve probably left out a vital stage or two, so please ask if it seems something is missing. And if you’ve got any great tips for planning a party, please share!
Linking up with:
The Pin Junkie