In this Pinterest-obsessed world we now live in, there’s more pressure than ever to throw over-the-top, outrageously expensive and elaborate celebrations of all kinds. Growing up, however, before the age of Pinterest I vividly remember my mother throwing the most magical parties. There was the Wizard of Oz theme party, complete with rainbow drinks with Twizzlers straws, a fashion show themed party where she set up a runway in my living room and had my sister be the announcer while my friends and I all modeled our party dresses and dress up clothes. She videotaped the whole ordeal and then handed out awards to each of us. The Halloween party was one of my favorites with pumpkin races: a game where the kids swept mini pumpkins down the driveway to the finish line using “witch’s brooms.” Yes, if there is one thing my Mom knew how to do, it was throw a magical party.
So what makes her parties so magical and how can you easily recreate magic of your own? It’s simple! Just follow these 10 easy steps:
It’s important to brainstorm more than a week beforehand. I’d suggest thinking about your party the month before. Nothing is more stressful that feeling pressured to come up with a spectacular birthday party in just 7 days.
- Pick a theme.
I use the term “theme” here loosely. While it could be something as specific as a favorite Disney character or favorite TV show, a theme could also be as broad as a color scheme. Whatever you choose, it’s important to stick within the limits of the theme. This can be hard with all those drool-worthy Pinterest ideas, but trying to bring too many ideas together can bring a chaotic feel to a birthday party instead of a magical vibe.
After you decide on your theme, it’s time to brainstorm again! This is where Pinterest comes in. Using the visual search engine, create a board for your future party. There you’ll be pinning all your favorite ideas, everything from invites & cakes to party decorations and games. Go crazy! It’s okay to pin something that could be tweaked to fit your specific theme. For example, if you save “pin the horn on the unicorn” for a tropical party knowing you’ll switch it to “pin the beak on the flamingo.”
- Narrow it down.
After you’ve pinned to your hearts content, narrow it down. You can’t do it all, regardless of what the internet and bloggers try to get you to believe. You just can’t! So pick your favorites.
- Plan your time.
Once you’ve narrowed down exactly what decor you need, what games or activities you’ll do and other specifics, it’s time to think about your timeline. I had some DIY’s in my party planning so I tried my best to manage my expectations about what exactly I could get done.
- Send out invites.
Once you’ve got a solid plan, it’s time to send out those invites! I skipped the formal invitations and just created a Facebook event. Other options are using a service like Minted, Shutterfly, or Etsy for more customizable invites. Or, if you’re crafty and enjoy card-making like my sister, a DIY option might be for you. I’d say aim to give 2 weeks notice for your guests.
- Shop & create!
Now it’s the fun part…. time to go shopping! Start purchasing supplies, favors, decor and anything else you might need off of your list.
- Create or order your cake.
Don’t leave the cake till the last minute. Make sure you order your cake with enough time to spare. And it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan. If you plan on baking your cake bake it at least a day or two before. That way if something goes wrong there’s time to do it again, or pick up a premade cake from the grocery store. Because, if your luck is anything like mine, your oven will break the day you go to bake 24 cupcakes and 4 layers of cake…. uh, yeah, that really happened. Luckily, my Dad’s oven worked just fine.
- Set up the day before.
Set up as much decor as you can the day/night before the party. Prepare any food items you can as well. You’ll feel much less stressed out knowing everything is ready for the big day.
- Make sure those cameras are charged.
Charge those cameras the night before so you can be sure to capture the look of amazement on your child’s face as they take in the magic that is their birthday party!