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DIY Party Planning (tips & tricks)

So Christmas and New Year’s all behind us and we all had some time to relax and wind down. Leaving the crazy hectic me behind in 2016, I thought I’d put together a post on how to throw a fun (themed) kids party without panicking or getting overwhelmed. Key to any good children’s party is to start early. Because whether you enjoy organising your little ones special day or you dread the list of things to do… time is your friend. If you choose to organise everything yourself and go all DIY you’ll definitely need time. But even if you find someone else to do all the heavy lifting for you, it pays to find them sooner rather then later. The last thing you want is to be stressed on the day or worried you might have forgotten something.

So here is a list of everything you’ll need to do to organise a great party:

1. Select a date and a time for the party:

Make sure no-one else picked the same date for their party or school event. If you want to keep costs down it’s a good idea to pick a time either before lunch or between lunch and dinner. If you organise your party around lunch or dinner time people will expected their kids to get some sort of meal. And food does drive up your overall cost.


2. Make up the guest list:

A shorter guest list will make the party more intimate. You’ll be more likely to be able to follow some sort of schedule of planned activities with fewer kids running around. A shorter guest list also equals a smaller bill. But if your child insists on inviting his entire class there are plenty of ways to keep it manageable and make it memorable. Read on…


3. Decide upon a theme:

A theme works really well for kids’ parties. It makes lots of decisions easier (what decorations to pick, what games to play) but it’s also lots of fun and often more memorable then a party without a theme. Many people think themes only work well for younger kids but even for older kids a well selected theme can make the party stand out. (Think ice cream themed summer party for girls or science party for boys)


4. Make up and send out invites:

It’s always a good idea to send invitations out early. Especially if you plan on having the party at a time that people are usually busy (like Halloween, Christmas, ┬áCommunion month). But if you send out the invites too early you risk people losing the invitations and forgetting about the party all together. Three weeks before your selected date is generally a good time to send out the invites. But consider sending them out 4-5 weeks before hand during a party season.


5. Make up a shopping list:

This will really help you stay on track. Put everything you can do straight away at the top of your list. Then add things to do a week before the party. Finally write down everything that needs to be done the day before or on the day of the party at the bottom of the list.


6. Pick a venue:

Once you have a venue picked out that is accessible and weather sensible you can start planning what types of activities to organise for the party. You can do lots of different games and activities in a bigger space like a community centre but it might be harder to fill the space with decorations so that it looks inviting and festive. Smaller spaces can look great but can also feel very cramped and hectic if you’re not careful in selecting your entertainment. Having said that, you don’t need a massive garden or ballroom for a sitting room to have a successful party. You just need to use your space well.

7. Decide on what activities and entertainment you’ll have and divide the available space. Make sure you have enough space for each activity. You don’t want to have a face painter with no room for their paints or for the queue of kids.

8. If you’ve decided to get an entertainer in (like face painters, balloon modellers, clowns or magicians) book them now. The longer before the date you make the call the higher the chances that your entertainer of choice is still available.

9. Buy decorations to fill up the unused space. Make sure not to buy any helium filled balloons until the day before the party as they might not last.

10. Buy anything you might need for the activities. Party bags or favours, prizes, a pi├▒ata, dress up clothes and whatever else you can think of.

11. Start shopping for any food or drinks you need. Make sure not to get anything that can go off until the day before. If you’re getting someone else to make the cake it’s a good idea to give them at least a week to do so. Iced cakes keep really well so if you get it a week in advance it’s one more thing not to worry about closer to the day.

12. Prepare anything and everything you can the day before. Snacks that can be made a day in advance leave room for other things on the day. Party bags can often be made up in advance as well. Put together everything you might need per activity too. And make sure to leave everything where little hands can’t get at it.

If you follow all of the above tips I’m sure your party will be a big success. Do you have anything to add to the list? Please comment or send me a message to let me know and I’ll try to include it. If you have a party coming up but are feeling a little overwhelmed don’t hesitate to get in touch. I love to brainstorm with you or lighten the load by taking the job off your hands!

For themed party ideas from decorations to games and snack ideas check out our boards on Pinterest.

Picture Link to DF Ireland Pinterest Board


Did you follow any of the tips or used our Pinterest boards for your kids’ party? We love hearing from you and are always happy to see any pictures of your little ones special day!



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