Want to throw an amazing birthday party, but short on time? No problem. We compiled the best advice for busy parents on how to throw an easy, amazing birthday party for your special girl or boy. Get all the tips you need, from planning the event to choosing the perfect decorations, food, and party activities.
1. Shut down your computer: Brainstorm with your children and you’ll have great ideas in no time.
2. Make a checklist and create a schedule for a smooth soirée.
3. Shopping can be quick: Make a list of everything you’ll need from beginning to end and then a list by store.
4. After sending the snail mail invitation (if you’re doing snail mail at all), send an email reminder—you’ll get a response quicker than by making individual phone calls.
5. Don’t write out each invitation by hand: Buy an invitation kit and print invites yourself. Or, for older children, create a private Facebook event page or send an evite; click send and you’re done!
6. Get your head count early: Send out invitations six to eight weeks in advance.
7. Give the professional photographer—or someone you designate to help with photo taking—a list of the people and key moments you want captured.
8. Don’t rush last minute: Choose a venue close to home and ask if you can arrive early to set up; or—even better—have the venue do the setup themselves.
9. Ask the parents to stay and help out.
10. Have a stress-free start: Ask a sibling or parent to
greet guests, make them feel welcome, and show them the first activity.
11. Assign your spouse, partner, or a grandparent to completely handle decorations, games, or cleanup.
12. No need to worry about getting the perfect shot: Get a professional photograph taken of the birthday child beforehand, and display it at the party.
13. Instead of blowing up balloons yourself, have them delivered to the venue.
14. Don’t stress out about finding every party item with the licensed character: Choose one item and coordinate the rest with items of the same color.
15. Play a simple trivia game such as Who Knows the Birthday Kid?
16. Pack a cooler of refreshments, head to your local park or ball field, and play flag football or baseball.
17. Utilize your own talents or hobbies for the activities: Teach children how to paint, cook, or dance.
18. Ask around: Get quick recommendations for great entertainers from friends and family.
19. For a sleepover party, buy mini pillows for the girls to throw at each other and also bring home as favors.
20. Pick up vegetable and fruit platters—no slicing, no fuss!
21. Ask parents to bring a special dish and make it a potluck.
22. Set up a pasta or chili bar, or have kids make their own sandwiches or mini pizzas.
23. Don’t spend the night before baking: Have children decorate individual mini cakes as you decorate the main cake.
24. Buy individualized cups of ice cream—they’re convenient and make cleanup a breeze.
25. Enlist the help of a pro: Purchase a designer cake or pick up a ready-made one and use colored gels and icings to decorate it.
Goodie Bags and Favors
26. For spa parties, gather cosmetic samples at store makeup counters, which double as favors.
27. Don’t spend time stuffing goodie bags: Pass out small cellophane bags and have guests collect candy from the piñata to take home.
After the Party
28. Don’t rush: Collect all cards and gifts at your venue and open at home.
29. Address, stamp, and have your child sign thank-you notes ahead of time. Then, make a list of the gifts as they’re opened and write a personalized note later. Or create a thank-you note template or fill-in-the-blank. Change the name and the gift, then sign it and it’s done!
30. Save the snail mail thank-you notes for family, and send quick emails to friends.
Birthday Party Stores and Resources
Birthday Ideas and Inspiration