I don’t know about you but planning any birthday has always been stressful for me – whether it’s mine or someone else’s. It’s silly I know, I work in Marketing – planning events is part of my job… but perhaps this is the reason why I get stressed – I am a control freak and just want everything to be perfect. It’s in my nature.
Now we have Sophia, the stress just reached to silly levels as every Mum wants their children to feel special on their birthdays. I would be sending out invites, thinking of the present months before, booking a venue, organising a cake, buying decorations, thinking how I’m going to do food – oh and it’s all got to have a theme. I decided to try a few things this year, on her second birthday, to make it stress-free but still have a nice touch and to ensure Sophia enjoyed herself (along with me). Here is what we did, and hopefully it will help you with party planning….
INVITATIONS – I’m a big fan of digital invites
Usually I would want to go for something unique, but this year, I just wanted ease. I bought a downloadable invitation from Etsy, with a really easy theme of jungle animals. The file allowed you to change the information yourself, and then you can do what you like with them. I sent some invitations out to those I had addresses for or sent a digital image on WhatsApp. Easy peasy.
LOCATION – Somewhere where they take it off your hands
Two is a really difficult age to throw a party for as they’re not babies anymore but also not quite old enough for some things, so I was considering having a party at home at first…then I knew that would be a bit crazy, plus, we would be praying for nice weather in October so people could go in the garden. Not a chance!
Anyway, a new soft-play opened in Warrington town centre recently – The Crazy Club at Superbowl UK, and when we went in one weekend I noticed they did parties. I was impressed with the area as it was new and clean – plus quite quiet – not a lot of people knew about it yet. There was a good baby and toddler area, plus an area for the big kids. It seemed perfect – plus they would take care of all the food! It seemed very stress-free – having them to take care of the entire party except for the bits I chose to, there was no real schedule on the day as it was just soft play and food – sounds like a relaxed party to me!
DECORATIONS – Don’t go mad and go for an easy theme
Having such an easy theme helped with decorations, I bought most from Amazon and it probably took me an hour to order it all for next day delivery. I didn’t go overboard with the party bags too and limited the amount of things I put in there. I ordered:
- Jungle themed balloons
- Jungle banner
- Jungle party bags
- Animal masks
- Animal puzzles
- Animal stickers
- Cupcake holders
Decorating on the day was easy as we didn’t get much – the room we hired had bunting up in there so I left it as that with a few other animal balloons, a big 2 balloon and one banner.
CAKE – Leave it to someone you trust
I ordered a cake from someone I used last year, Lauren – she’s so easy to deal with and I literally just sent her a screenshot of my Pinterest board and the invitations so she could match the cake to that. I trusted her completely and saw the cake design the day before the party – and I was absolutely thrilled with the results. Lauren also purchased the cake topper too so that was out of my hands, she got it from Etsy.
I also ordered 24 cupcakes from Sainsbury’s Bakery to put inside the party bags – only £14 for all them and I bought some animal edible cake toppers to pop on-top of them. We wanted to save the cake for Sophia’s actual birthday, and this was easy as there was no cake cutting and messy distribution on the party day.
PRESENTS – They honestly don’t need much…
We definitely learnt from Sophia’s first birthday to not go so mad with presents. Kids really are more than happy with a few toys – and they still end up playing with the cardboard box they come in! We decided to get:
- A play teepee – as we wanted to make her room more suitable for her age (separate blog to follow)
- The Leapfrog Ice Cream Cart – Sophia always played with this at her friend’s house so I finally caved and bought it
- Autumn Clothes – mainly from H&M
- Bath toys
And that was it from us. We had other things on our list that we asked grandparents and aunties to get her, including the Baby Annabell ‘Sophia’ doll and accessories, Little Tikes Car, and some lovely surprises such as books and this gorgeous personalised baking kit from Not on the High Street:
My mum refurbished the cot I used as a child too, which was the most thoughtful gift of all.
ORGANISATION – Ask people to help, and plan ahead.
We had a busy weekend on the weekend of her birthday party, so I put in my diary when I would be doing certain jobs, and there wasn’t much to do this year. Just things like pick up cakes, fill party bags, make decorations (such as the banner), ensure the venue is aware of numbers… Usually people leave me to it when doing these sort of things but this time, I decided to ask for help, which made a massive difference.
The party was a huge success for the kids – everyone loves a bit of soft play so I found the kids were entertained and the adults could chill and supervise with a coffee. We was looked after by a member of staff at the party venue, so I just asked him to do anything I required on the day. I was so relaxed – I put my attention into ensuring Sophia had a great day, and she really did. We both had the biggest nap after the party – we were all partied out.
I’m just so glad we did not go crazy with an extravagant party and countless presents this year – it really can get out of control if you let it and I’m sure this pressure will get worse as Sophia gets older. Birthdays and events are much more enjoyable when they’re about the people you are with. If there’s anything to make your life easier when party planning, you must do it – us parents do so much day-to-day anyway!
Anyhoo, I hope that was useful if you find yourself in the same situation as me. Please subscribe or pop a comment below to let me know it’s not just me that is like this when party planning ha!