We had a lovely low key morning - 15 kids and their parents joined us. Because we have the cubby house, in ground trampoline, playground and a basketball setup around the side of our house we didn't plan any activities (other than a quick easter egg hunt that Tim did). I lay a mat on the ground with some toys for the babies and we got to enjoy everyone's company (and the party) rather than rush around which was amazing.
I have had a number of people message me asking for my best party planning tips, so here are my Top 5. Remembering, what works for us - doesn't work for everyone.
1) Use Pinterest. Start with Pinterest and search the theme that you have chosen. This will get you started. Most of my ideas come from Pinterest and then I just adapt them to what suits our family best. There is some really inspiring stuff out there.
2) Keep it simple. Don't over do it. For Cruz's first birthday party I remember spending hours and hours writing chalk board signs for each platter, putting ribbon around everything and stamping his name on anything I could get my hands on. Now? I let the smaller details slide if I'm short for time. The hours and hours of work are often not noticed by guests. So if you are pushed for time let the smaller details be the ones that have to give.
3) Ask for help. I have never been good at taking this advice but for Hunter's party I had to. I had 10 Thermomix demos to do in 2 weeks and then this week - Easter to plan, my Nanna visiting, Tim's Nan's party, a deck to build (with Tim), a cubby house to paint and 2 decks and a playground to varnish. Time was running very low around here. Thankfully two beautiful friends offered to help and they made 24 cupcakes, macarons and slice between them and it was an absoloute godsend. I'm so grateful for beautiful friends.
4) Finish everything before the party starts so that you can be a guest at your own party too. This tip is probably the most important for me. I plan parties that don't require me to do ANYTHING once guests arrive. For that reason I don't make hot food that needs to come out of the oven. My mother in law made two platters of sandwiches for us and bought them with. This morning when we woke up we put everything into its place on the table (it had been pre rehearsed yesterday) and swept the outdoor area and then we were done (with two hours to spare). The jelly, fruit kebabs and other food was all in the fridge on platters ready to be put straight onto the table 15 minutes before the guests arrived. It is so nice to just enjoy the party with the kids and make memories with them.
5) Don't stress. After 4 years of parties I am finally better at this. Don't sweat the small stuff. Stress ruins a party for you and that is not what parties are about. Today's party was about Hunter and the most important thing was that he had a good time. Everthing looking perfect doesn't matter to Hunter and it certainly doesn't decide whether he has a good party or not, so why should it spoil the day for me? Happy Birthday boy = happy mum. That's my party motto.
Here are a trillion photos - hopefully I have captured a bit of everything before the professional photos arrive. I have a party supply list at the bottom of the page.
Happy first birthday sweet Hunter - you are the apple of my eye and I love you to the moon and back….. and then back again.
Backdrop: Customed made by Style Me Gorgeous
Lanterns: LaternShop Online and the Reject Shop. Baskets underneath were from Kmart, Jakes Candy and for the smaller lanterns cupcake cases were used.
Cake: Joint Effort from I Do Cakes and Szacred Cakes (Cake inspiration from Pinterest here.)
Biscuits: Spoon and Fork
Favour Boxes: Etsy (no longer in stock)
Bubblegum machine: Jakes Candy
Plates/cups/napkins: The Reject Shop
Number One: Spotlight (we painted it yellow)
Cupcakes/Slice/Macarons: Made by some dear friends who were lifesavers!
Giant balloon and net (not pictured) - used as a 'real' hot air balloon: Once Upon a Party