5 Common mistakes made when planning a party (and how to avoid them)
5 Common mistakes made when planning a party (and how to avoid them) by Natalie Faulkner from Strawberry Fundaes Parties
Parties are so much fun right!?
But planning them can be super stressful. Especially if you have never thrown a party before!
There is so much pressure these days to throw the perfect party. The pressure is often put on us by ourselves of course, but the list of things to prepare can get quite long.
The decorations, the food , the venue, who to invite etc. People often forget the most simple things to cross check and it can be to the detriment of their special event.
I must confess… I have seen some major party stuff ups over my time that could have easily been avoided. Here are my top tips and words of wisdom to hopefully save you from stress!
Common mistake #1
Planning an outdoor party with no back up plan
As a party entertainer, this is the most common party mistake I see!
Parties in the park, at the beach, at beautiful farms, are all a fab idea. The kids/ guests can all be in the fresh air, running around, not messing up your house.
But if the weather looks like it might be going to turn bad (I highly recommend looking at the weekly forecast before hand) its good to have a back up plan.
Your back up location could either be back at your house, a friends garage or home if they have the space and are willing, or perhaps you could set up a marquee for shelter, use the local church or YMCA/community hall or even sporting club. Have that back up plan sussed out well before the party, so that if the week of the party comes and it looks like rain, you will be less stressed.
Note – Some parks actually have huge rotundas you can reserve through local council which means you can still host your party in the park, rain, hail or shine!
Common mistake #2
Planning a party on a national holiday or event without realising
There is nothing quite as sad as seeing a little girl or boy devastated only 3 kids turning up to their party because it wasn’t realised that the party day fell on Easter/ Mother's Day/ Father's Day. (I have seen it! It sucks!)
Before you set the exact date of the party, consult with your calendar to ensure that chosen date does not fall on holiday weekends and school breaks. Celebrating two occasions can be fun sometimes, but when those days are meant to be spent in a tight-knit family circle, it is silly to expect your childs school friends to want to attend a big bash party on a date they might want to be with their family.
Common mistake #3
Over Catering Food
This is easy to do. As a mum myself, I never want anyone to go hungry at a party I host, so often we over cater. And then we have too much waste and realise we spent too much money.
This is why we need to ensure we collect RSVP’s to have a clear estimate on how many guests are attending.
And remember kids don’t eat a whole lot in the time frame they are at a party. A good party time frame is about 2 hour maximum for little ones and they get so over whelmed and distracted with playing or being entertained that they often only pick at the food.
Pick just a few food options and make them easy to eat. Or create little ‘snack packs’ to encourage kids to sit down and each their own individual portions ( this is great for less mess too! )
Here are my go to easy food examples –
Fruit platter, crackers and cheese slices or sticks, mini sandwiches, fairy bread, jelly cups. Other options that are stress free include sushi platter, sausages in bread, home made or ordered in pizzas, cherios in sauce. And have jugs or bottles of water and maybe fruit juice (of course there are a million others but I will share that in my next blog)
Common mistake #4
Planning a party time during nap time
I see this one many times over for little ones parties!
If your child has a nap at midday, don’t force a party time then because it suits your mum/ grandma/ uncle/ cousin. Or if you do, expect to have one cranky child!
Everyone's nap times are different, but your child is the one being celebrated so try your best to accomodate. Even if it means attempting to pop them down earlier than usual.
With little ones I find the wheels really start to fall off and everyone is losing their minds if the party is too late in the day. Think about what is going to suit your little party animal the best.
Common mistake #5
Failing to have any activities for kids
Obviously, my job as a children’s entertainer is for me to bring the activities, but not everyone has the budget to hire an entertainer, so here are my quick and easy options to keep the kids busy at your next party.
Colouring in sheets, pencils and stickers- This is super easy and can be laid out on a picnic rug or on the table for them to do as they choose.
Craft station – Only if you are brave enough to leave the glue unsupervised! hahahaha! But depending on your time and the age of the kids, a craft activity is always fun
Hoola Hoops – These are a great option to have out to play with! and only cosy about $3 each from Kmart.
Outdoor toys – Kids love playing with other peoples toys! Its a novelty! Pop them outside and let them go for gold!
Dancing – Just play fun music!
Party games – If you want to play host yourself plan 3 – 4 party games with prizes! There are loads to choose from. ( feel free to ask me too if you need tips)
There are also loads of other activities like treasure hunts, water play and sand play, cupcake decorating, fake tattoos, nail painting and more!
For more tips and tricks on parties and parenting, make sure you check out Nat's instagram pages @nattyfaulks and @strawberryfundaesparties