Using Birthday Decorations to Transform Your Next Summer Birthday

birthday decorations

Birthday decorations are a great way to set the theme and the tone of your birthday party. While a birthday party doesn’t necessarily require you to have birthday decorations, it can definitely improve the entire mood of the room if you do have birthday party decorations. Here are just a few of the ways you can use decorations to really enhance your next summer birthday.

Pick Decorative Napkins

Do napkins count a decorations? Of course they do! The right napkins are a great way to decorate a buffet table or to help spice up a set table for a meal. Whether you want generic “happy birthday ”napkins or napkins that shout the guest of honor’s age,  there are plenty of different options you can choose from, in a variety of different styles that match your theme or décor. Decorative napkins are a great way to add a lot of punch to a table that might otherwise go undecorated. Fast, inexpensive, and easy—the ultimate way to transform your summer birthday.

Pick Up a Table Decorating Kit

Maybe decorating for a party isn’t your strong suit. Maybe you don’t have time to actually go out and find decorations for the party. If you’re planning a summer birthday party and you need birthday decoration, a table decorating kit is a great way to get everything you need to decorate your tables. You can use these kits to mix up just about any room of your home or venue, quickly and easily. If you’ve never decorated for a birthday party before or decorating isn’t in your skill set, these kits make it extremely easy.

Grab Some More Table Decorations

Especially if you are throwing your party in a rented venue or a restaurant, where you might not have permission to hang anything on the wall, picking up a plethora of table decorations is a great way to transform the space into a real party zone. Items like festive cupcake stands and colorful paper products are both a great way to turn your space into a full-decorated, beautiful space that will be ideal for celebrating your guest of honor.

Wall Decorations by the Bushel

If you are holding your birthday party in a space where you can hang wall decorations, you have a lot more freedom to really create that “birthday” ambiance. Banners that proclaim “Happy Birthday” are just the start. Sign in sheets that match your color scheme, wall hangings that declare “Happy Birthday” and hanging paper lanterns are all great ways to liven up your space. Even if you are going to be decorating the tables, getting plenty of decorations for the walls is always a good idea. This will help to make sure your space feels fully decorated, and not like you ran in a few minutes before and threw some birthday decorations out on the tables.

Decorations for the Guest of Honor

Not all of the decorations should just be the for the walls and tables (though most of them should be). A birthday hat or a tiara is a great way to decorate not just the space, but the person who is actually having a birthday. You don’t have to stop there, either. A birthday sash is sure to draw attention to the birthday girl or boy. If a tiara isn’t really your guest of honor’s speed, you can always pick up a happy birthday crown that allows you to add whatever the most appropriate number is to the front of that crown.

There are also a number of racier options, like a “dial-a-shot” pendant that will make ordering drinks a little more fun, or a diamond shot glass necklace, so the wearer is never without a shot glass on his or her birthday.

Decorate the Food

No matter what kind of food you’re going to be serving, it should be on-theme and on-color-scheme. If you are going to be making cupcakes, make sure the cupcake liners match the other decorations you’ve chosen. We make this really easy by providing cupcake liners in a variety of colors, patterns, and shades, that mesh well with the other decorations that we offer. We have liners that will work well for both male and female birthdays, as well as those that are neutral and can be used for either.

Don’t Forget the Balloons

While, ideally, you can get helium-filled balloons to help fill a space and make it look completely decorated, even balloons that are simply blown up and scattered around the floor still make great birthday decorations. Balloons are a simple way to add more color and fun to a space, for a very low cost.

Personalized Touches

The key to really transforming a space for a summer birthday is picking a theme and color scheme that the birthday boy or girl is really going to love. If they like silly, fun decorations that make them laugh, that should be the theme of your party. If they prefer classic, more modern birthday decorations, opt for those. As with anything, it is really the details that transform a bland party into a great one. Cupcake liners, birthday hats, and table decorations can all help you turn a space into the perfect birthday party venue.

For more birthday party decorations or to help you pick a theme and color scheme, check out all of the birthday decorations Parties 2 Order has to offer.

5 Super-Expensive Celebrity Summer Parties

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Credit: Tom Meinelt-Jason Winslow/Splash News Online

It’s no secret that celebrities often drop major coin on their parties. While you may not have that kind of cash to invest in a party, it’s always fun to see what kind of parties you can throw when you have an essentially limitless budget. If you’re looking for some extreme summer parties or party ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five examples of super expensive celebrity summer parties for you to ponder.

1. Suri Cruise Turns Two for $100,000

If your parents were anything like mine, even spending $100 was a big deal when it came to birthday parties. If you are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, both of whom have been big movie stars for decades, dropping a hundred thousand dollars on a birthday party for your daughter doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal. Want a break down of where that money went? Here it is:

The event as catered by Wolfgang Puck himself, for the meager sum of $45,000. The flowers came in at around $17,000—which is likely more than most couples spend on their entire wedding, instead of just on flowers for a two-year-old’s birthday party. We can’t be sure what makes a cake worth $5,000, but that’s how much Suri’s cake was worth.

2. Kim Kardashian Has a Birthday for over $1 million

It’s impossible to estimate exactly how much her new husband, Kanye West, spent on this party for his wife. It is estimated that he spent a million just on presents for her – what she could need that she doesn’t already have that would cost a million dollars, no one seems to know. There was a Chanel dress, a cat, a diamond bracelet, and a trip to Italy in there somewhere. If that wasn’t enough, he also had a custom Prada bag made for the. I guess when you’re a rap and hip hop mogul married to one of the biggest reality television stars in the world, you don’t really have to hold back when it comes to summer parties.

3. The Beckham’s Kids Get a $187,000 Play House

As a present for their middle child’s, the UK power couple had a play house built on the ground of their home. And that cost was just for the house, not even for the ensuing party, where The Wanted made an appearance. Yes, for the price of an actual house, they had a play house built just for one of their children. This is in addition to the play castle that is built elsewhere on their estate.

The party that came along with the house was another $125,000. Compared to the sums that they’ve spent on other parties for their other children, it might seem like a small fee to pay. Even for parties that their children will never remember, like their first and second birthdays, the family has paid well over a hundred thousand dollars in order to make the day special.

4. Blue Ivy’s First Birthday for $200,000

That might not sound like a huge sum compared to what some people are spending on birthday parties and play houses, but this is a first birthday party for a baby. Kids don’t remember their first birthday parties, no matter how much their parents spend on them. That didn’t stop Beyoncé and Jay-Z from spending more than $200,000 on their little girl’s bash. And they can afford it, right? Both of them are legends, so they might as well make their parties legendary.

In order to rack up this sum, the pair rented out the Jungle Island botanical park in Miami and filled it with their friends and family, along with several thousand dollars with of presents and catering.

5. Paris Hilton Turned 21 for $75,000 per guest

$75,000 might not sound like a super expensive celebrity party, until you realize that the Hiltons had to pay that sum for every guest that participated in Paris’s party. And this party didn’t just span the city, it spanned the entire globe, with a series of in cities like Los Angeles, New York, London, Tokyo, and then back around to Vegas. Even if you only brought along a few of her closest friends, it’s easy to start racking up that tab. It’s rumored that more than $2 million was spend just on this one summer party.

If you want to be fabulous, you have to pay, and it’s not like the Hiltons don’t have the cash to make it happen. The entire party few from destination to destination by private jet and indulged in all of the most exclusive and first-class amenities at every stop along the way. It’s been a while since Paris turned twenty-one, so she’s surely topped this party and its price point, but this is still one of the most expensive celebrity parties on record.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have great summer parties or to get great summer party supplies. Do take cues from these celebrities partiers, however—there are some things that you should splurge on, like great food and music. If you’ve got a tight budget, focus your money just on one area of the party, instead of trying to spread it thinly across all areas.

If you don’t have a celebrity’s budget, take a look through our party supply store to help you find beautiful, affordable party supplies for every occasion.

How to Use Floral Paper Products to Transform Your Party

floral paper products

When I was a child, inexpensive paper products were barely more substantial than a piece of paper and when stacked up next to a barbecue or party spread, they looked “not so classy”. Today, there are far more brands and colors to choose from, and there are a range of paper products that are made to actually hold more than a few potato chips before they collapse in your hand.

While most fancy parties still demand “real” plates and cutlery, there are choices today, especially floral paper products, that put the flimsy white paper products of our childhoods to shame.

Here’s how you can use floral paper products to transform your next party.

Set the Table

There is something particularly classic and alluring about floral paper products, especially today. Florals are very trendy right now, and while they may remind someone of that old couch moldering away in their grandparents’ house, there are quite a few varieties that look fresh and modern. Floral paper products are a great way to both make your table look great and save yourself time during setup and cleanup, as well as money.

Set your table with paper plates and cups—just make sure to use something heavy to hold them down if you’re setting a table outside as even the sturdiest of plates can be flipped up and blown away by a strong breeze. Plastic cutlery in a heavy utensil holder is a great way to hold down your plates and keep the entire place setting looking festive and beautiful.

Stack the Buffet Table

When it comes to decorating a buffet table, most people are at a loss. What can you put on a buffet table that doesn’t just look silly or that clashes with or will get in the way of the food? Floral paper products are an excellent alternative to other decorations, and because they’re functional, they actually do double duty. This is the perfect way to dress up a buffet table for a spring or summer garden party, and all you have to do is take the paper plates out of their wrapping and set them on the table.

If you have matching cups and napkins, stacking these all together can really pull together a buffet table and make it look like it’s really a part of your party. Just like when setting a table outside, if you’re stacking your plates, cups, and napkins on a table that’s outside, you might want to find a way to hold them down. A clean, decorative stone or a set of paper weights can be very useful in this regard.

Use Them as Decorations

If you are looking for a decorating idea that a little out of the box, hold on to your hats. Why not use floral paper products as decorations for your next party. A simple piece of tape on the back of a plate and you can stick it to just about anything. If you get both small and large plates, or plates of different shapes, you can create a unique design on a wall.

This is a great way to cover up a wall you might not be in love with, and to add fast, fun color to any space. It might sound a little silly, but after you get a few plates stuck to the wall, you can transform the space and you’ll love the slightly retro, slightly quirky look of the room once you’ve finished with the plates.

Make Cleanup a Breeze

One of the main reasons party planners choose paper products over china is because of how much simpler cleanup is. If you can just sweep all of your paper plates into the compost bin, it’s so much easier than having to wash every single plate that someone has used during the party. Even a small dinner party can create a lot of dishes if you’re using china. Using floral paper products gives you the same level of sophistication in your table setting, without all of the hassle.

Many people avoid using paper because they believe it is more environmentally friendly to use china. The truth is that either way, whether you have to wash all of the dishes or just throw them away, you’re going to be using resources. If you dispose of your paper products the right way, you can actually prevent wasting water by washing all of those dishes and can also prevent all of those plates, cups, and napkins from just entering a landfill and rotting away. Whether you compost them yourself or simply put them in the paper recycling fin, you’ll find clean up much easier than if you have to wash a hundred dishes.

Goes Perfectly with Any Meal

Watermelon was the biggest enemy of paper products when I was a child—pieces of that watery melon would soak right through a flimsy plate and it would be in shreds in no time (and the dog would get more than his fair share of watermelon as it tumbled off of the plates).

One of the benefits of buying high-quality paper products like the ones in our store is being able to use them to transform just about any party, no matter what kind of food you want to serve, up to and including the dreaded watermelon. With a variety of different plates, cups, and napkins to choose from, it’s easy to find products that will work perfectly for your needs.

Check out our online store for a wide selection of floral paper products.

Kid’s Birthday Decoration Trends for 2015

kids-birthday-party-trends

When we were kids, a birthday party was a sheet cake from the grocery store and maybe a piñata if your parents were feeling festive. Today, kids’ parties and the birthday decorations that accompany them are far more sophisticated, with lots of parents going all out to create a memorable day for their child. Just because you want to create a memorable day doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time or money planning—it just means you need some great decorations and a theme that the kids will love. Here are some of the best kid’s birthday decoration trends for this year.

Pennants

Pennants have been all the rage this year, both with lettering and without. Sometimes also called “bunting,” these triangles on a string are extremely versatile. Whether you buy a premade set from our store or you make your own, you can use pennants to decorate for just about anything, depending on which color and style you choose. Our family has a crate paper set that we have been using over and over to decorate the house for various birthday parties. However, a pennant banner that has just about any shape, size, or color can be used either as a main birthday party decoration or as an additional wall decoration to accent the other birthday decorations you’ve used.

Cupcake Papers

If cupcake papers don’t sound like a “trend,” then you haven’t seen some of the new and crazy papers in our store. With cupcakes making a comeback, especially for kids’ birthday parties as they are less hassle to make and decorate and far easier for a child to eat with their hands without becoming completely covered in frosting, cupcake papers are now becoming part of the party décor.

While you can find cupcake papers that match the theme of your party, if you have one, it’s also possible just to find fantastic papers in a range of patterns and styles that will spice up any set of cupcakes. You don’t have to turn every cupcake into Olaf from Frozen or one of the many other favorite characters that are making the party rounds this year. All you need are some great papers and a great cupcake recipe. Cupcakes can play triple duty—if you let the kids decorate the cupcakes themselves, they are an activity as well as a snack, and if you line the cupcakes up on a table in their cute papers, they are also a decoration!

Themed Cakes

Again, when I was a kid, the cake came from the Smith’s down the road and you were lucky if it even had your name on it. Maybe your parents sprung for dinosaur-themed decoration that came along with a few plastic dinosaurs. Today, cakes are part of the decoration. If you’re skilled with knife and frosting, you can probably make a theme-matching cake easily. If not, and you still want to incorporate this trend into your kid’s party, it might be best to go to a professional.

For example, a music-themed party could have a cake that’s shaped and decorated like a drum or a record. For the kid who loves nothing more than fairies and elves, you can transform a cake into a tree stump complete with little doors and creeping ivy. The possibilities are endless and a theme cake can be the focal point of your decorations—and all you had to do was call a bakery.

All Grown Up

More and more, little kids are asking for parties that have a more adult theme, complete with virgin cocktails and fancy food. This means that the decorations are also grown up, using more sophisticated colors and styles. For example, every little girl loves having a princess-themed birthday party, but the crowns don’t have to be plastic and everything doesn’t have to be hot pink. Choosing a subtler shade and more sophisticated princess-themed accents can create a party that is just as memorable and more appropriate for the little girl who is six going on sixteen.

Other examples include themes that would generally be relegated to teenager parties, like American Idol or camping, all of which can be aptly adapted for younger children. These are favorites of the rising generation, who seem to be growing up even faster than the generation before them. Picking birthday decorations that are little more mature, in muted colors, is a great way to make your party venue match the more mature theme you’ve chosen for the party.

Paper Rounds

We have a huge variety of hanging “paper rounds” in our shop, ranging from round Chinese lanterns to tissue paper fluffs. Because these are available in a huge variety of colors, they are the ultimate birthday decoration for any kid’s party, and they are super on-trend right now. Hanging decorations are making a comeback in a big way this year, and a variety of these hanging balls in various colors can be a great accent to any party and any theme. Choose red and blue for a superhero party or pink and white for a princess party, and any other color in between.

The best aspects of this trend? The decorations are reusable and inexpensive. They are cheap enough that you can get lots of hanging decorations in many different colors, and are durable enough to go into your party closet and come out months later, ready to party again!

Why You Should Always Keep Birthday Decorations on Hand

birthday-party-decorations

If you’re like most people, you only go out and buy party supplies when you actually have a party to decorate for. You might have a few left over rolls of streamers or a banner stored in your cupboard, but if you have to throw a last minute party, that probably isn’t going to be enough supplies to really deck the space out. Here are a few reasons why you should always keep birthday decorations on hand — and which decorations specifically to keep in your stash.

Unexpected Birthdays

It’s impossible to remember everyone’s birthday. If someone’s birthday sneaks up on you, you want to have the decorations on hand so you can throw them a great party, without having to rush and find decorations, on top of a cake and food. When you have a few banners, some streamers, fun paper products, and maybe even an interesting table cloth in your closet, it becomes very easy to throw together a party.

At that point, it’s up to you whether you want to act like this was your plan all along, or whether you want them to know that you didn’t realize it was their birthday. Either way, they’ll be sure to appreciate the time and thought that went into throwing them a party, even if it is last-minute.

Expected Birthdays

These are the birthdays you have written on the calendar and have been planning for months. Still, even if you have plenty of notice, having a closet full of birthday decorations makes your party planning duties much less stressful. Instead of having to add an additional task onto your list, you know that all decorations are covered, from “Happy Birthday!” banners to candles for the cake. Now you can focus your energy on trying to find the right baker for the cake and what kind of food to make your guests. Taking some of the stress out of party planning is always a good thing!

Creative Present Wrapping

If you find something that you want to give to a friend, relative, or coworker, you could just present it to them in a plastic bag. Or, you could raid your birthday party decorations supply and actually wrap that gift. While you might not have wrapping paper in your stash, you’re sure to have tissue paper or cellophane, or something else that will make a perfect wrapping material for a spontaneous gift.

Additionally, if you want to give a gift to a friend who is retiring, moving away, or a new neighbor how has moved into the neighborhood, having a fully-stocked party supply closet can make that quick and easy. You’ll be able to give beautifully wrapped gifts without having to actually put that much time or effort into finding wrapping paper or gift bags. They’ll just be sitting in your closet, just as they always have been.

What Birthday Decorations Should I Stock Up?

If you want to become a party prepper, there are a few items that are going to be essential to your birthday decoration stash. Here are just a few of the things to keep on hand:

1. STREAMERS

Streamers are a great accessory and they can make any room look festive in just a matter of seconds. You’ll want a variety of colors, to coordinate both with holidays and with potential party themes. The primary colors, plus a roll of green are usually a good place to start. Luckily, streamers are also extremely inexpensive and they can be used for anything from room decoration to present wrapping, even a makeshift piñata blindfold (or even to help you make your own piñata, if you are especially crafty).

2. PLATES, CUPS, AND NAPKINS

Nothing will be more valuable than having a stash of plastic plates, cups, and napkins. Whether you have an instant party when friends stop by unexpectedly and you don’t want to dirty every dish in the house, or you’re asked to bring cups or plates to your next office function, you’ll always have some on hand.

3. Banners

A banner that says “Happy Birthday,” is a great place to start. These can be purchased or made, depending on what look you want to achieve. A few banners with more generic phrases like “Congratulations!” or “Well Done!” can also be part of your store, as these can be used to decorate a space for everything from a graduation party to a promotion to a baby shower.

4. BALLOONS

Like streamers, there are few things in the world that can make a room feel more festive than balloons. Even if you don’t have any helium, just a variety of balloons on the floor or even taped to the walls can add color and dimension to a room. Plus, they serve a wide variety of other purposes, including being useful for a range of crafts or making water balloons in the summer. When the desire to have a water balloon fight strikes, you’ll always have some on hand.

5. Craft paper

If you’ve put up your streamers and blown up your balloons and still think the space looks a bit sparse, you can make just about any other decoration you want out of craft paper. Whether you stick with the standard brown (which will give wrapped presents or banners a folksy, rustic flair), or a packet of multicolored paper, keeping craft paper on hand enables you to make just about anything your current party stash lacks.

Follow these tips and you’ll become a master party prepper in no time! Check out our party supply store for a huge selection of birthday decorations.

Ten Reasons to Throw a Luau Party This Year

luau-party

Summer is on its way and that means right now is the perfect time to start planning a luau party and getting your luau party supplies together. If you’re planning on having any kind of celebration late spring, or early summer, there’s no better way to celebrate than with this theme! Here are ten reasons why everyone should throw a luau party this year.

1. Perfect for any celebration.

Throwing a graduation party? A birthday party for a child or an adult? A luau party is a universally great theme, especially for any party that is going to take place outdoors. Unlike other themes that are only appropriate for birthdays or garden parties or dinner parties, you can have a luau to commemorate any big event—even bridal or baby showers! While most people hold their luau parties during the spring or summer, when they can make use of outdoor space, having an indoor party during the colder months is just as good!

2. Easy to decorate for.

While this might not be the biggest reason to throw a luau party this year, it will be exceptionally easy to decorate for this theme. Every party store has mountains of luau party supplies, from grass skirts to tiki masks, to make it easy to deck out your home, yard, or other venue in true Hawaiian style. Some essential luau party supplies include:

  • Grass skirts
  • Tiki masks
  • Grass table liners
  • Green or brown table cloths
  • Leis
  • An assortment of flowers like lilies
  • Pink, orange, and red streamers
  • Island-print banners

3. Creating a menu is simple and fast.

Making food for your party will be just as fast and easy as decorating, especially because most of the food can be made in a slow cooker or in the oven, on a low, slow roast, without too much attention or prodding from the host or hostess. Slow-roasted pork, for example, for sandwiches, or to eat with rice, is always a good choice, and all you have to do is throw it in the crockpot or oven for a few hours, the day of.

4. Snacks are healthy and quick to make.

What could be a healthier, more delicious snack than grilled pineapple? It’s so simple to make, and once you’ve grilled it and cut it up, grownups and kids alike will love it. Cut fruit makes the ideal snack food for a luau party and it can be purchased, pre-cut, from just about any grocery store if you do not want to spend your entire day slicing melon. Just run out and grab a few different varieties of pre-cut fruits, including melons, pineapples, strawberries, and any other fruit that you enjoy, and empty the containers out onto platters right before the party. This really simplifies your job and compared to the chips and candy laid out at most parties, this is a healthy, delicious alternative.

5. The theme comes with its own activities.

If you’re short on ideas for activities to do during your party, a luau party is the perfect theme to choose. First of all, you can always spend a few hours having a limbo competition. While this game did originate in Trinidad, it has become a mainstay of the luau party and can be fun for all ages, especially if you don’t let things become too competitive. While a bamboo rod is traditional (for some reason), any long pole will do the trick.

6. Dance the night away!

If you finish your limbo competition or have to abandon it because some guests are getting too competitive, you can always finish off the night with some hula. Throw on some traditional music and just get dancing! It doesn’t have to be good dancing or perfect hula form.

7.You can entertain the kids

You can entertain the kids with some movies or television shows. If the kids are starting to wind down but the parents want to keep on partying, choosing a luau theme gives you plenty of entertainment options. There are at least two episodes of Scooby-Doo where the gang unmasks a villain in Hawaii, and Blue Hawaii with Elvis himself is a musical comedy that the kids might be able to get into. There’s also Paradise Hawaiian Style if they seem to enjoy the first Elvis flick. The huge variety of Hawaii-themed movies that involve a luau makes it easy to plop them down in front of something.

8. Clean up is easy.

Let’s face it, the grass skirts and leis are going to be wrecked by the end of the night. That usually means you can just open up a few garbage bags and sweep everything left over right into the bag. Just put aside the luau party supplies you want to save for next year and your venue (whether it’s your home, a friend’s home, or a rented space) will be extremely easy to clean.

9. It’ll be fun for all ages.

It can be difficult to come up with a theme that is as appropriate for adults as it is for children, and where all parties will have fun. Even if you are not inviting “all ages” to your party, this is a theme that is as great for a child’s birthday party as it is for a casual backyard barbecue for just the adults.

10. It’s inexpensive.

The luau party supplies and food, compared to other parties, will be extremely inexpensive. This theme doesn’t call for anything fancy or off-the-wall. Just inexpensive decorations and a menu that requires inexpensive ingredients and easy preparation.

Check out our online party supply store for all your luau party decorations.

Party Planning Checklist 101

party-planning-checklist

Has your best friend just gotten engaged? Did your wife get a big promotion at work? Is your oldest child about to graduate from high school? All of these are the perfect time to celebrate, but if you’re a party planning novice, there’s nothing worse than being saddled with a party that you just don’t know how to plan. From party decorations to the right amount of food, how do you know you’re on the right track?

Here’s a cheat sheet to help you make sure you’ve got enough food, the right decorations, enough seating, the perfect music, and more!

Music

What kind of music you pick is going to rely entirely on the theme of your party. For a graduate, a good mix of popular music, feature the graduate’s favorite band or bands, is always a good option. For a dinner party, however, you probably want something softer and calmer.

Unless there is some reason you want to hire a band, making a playlist and loading it onto a fully-charged mp3 player is usually the best way to make sure you’ve got the music you want and enough of it to last the duration of the party—this is important: YMCA is fun to listen to once, and it can even get some laughs if it comes on a second time, but by the third time around, no one will be amused.

Food

Food, again, relies largely on what kind of party you are throwing and when you are throwing it. If you throw it at dinner time, even if it isn’t a dinner party, most people will expect a substantial amount of food. A party in the afternoon or a cocktail party, on the other hand, will not generate the expectation of a full meal, and most people will eat before or after.

If you want to make the food really easy, you can always have your party catered, but making enough food for a child’s birthday party, for example, is usually as easy as buying a variety of frozen foods and heating them up in the oven before the party starts.

Decorations

Decorations are what set the mood. Of course, some parties do not need very much décor, and others need a lot. Halloween parties, for example, require at least a few spooky decorations, while candlelight might be all the ambiance a sophisticated dinner party needs. It’s always better to have too many party decorations than not enough, so don’t be afraid to go a little crazy with banners and balloons.

If you just don’t have the time or the budget to hit the party supply store, you could always make your own decorations out of construction paper, glue, tape, and markers, for a truly handcrafted feel. Don’t try to take on too much DIY, however, unless you are really a master, as trying to get everything perfect can actually take much longer and be far more expensive than just buying decorations from your party supply store.

Invites

Sending out proper invites is a lost art. While paper invites are no longer the only way to politely invite someone to a get together, simply “putting the word out there” about your party is not enough to actually get people to show up. Most of the time, you are going to want a way for your guests to RSVP. Unless you are hosting a raging house party (which, in that case, not much planning is necessary, it just kind of happens, if you believe what you see in movies), you’ll want to know how many of your invited guests actually plan on coming so you know how much food and drink you need to have around the house.

If all of your guests are on social media, a social media invite might be appropriate, as might be an email with a calendar item attached, so it’s easy for your guests to RSVP and then add your party to their calendars. If you’re having trouble nailing down your RSVPs, a phone call or an additional email might be necessary.

Get Some Help

Depending on how large the party is going to be and how many hands you might have on desk, you might consider finding a responsible teenager that you can hire to help you set up before and clean up after the party. Additionally, they might be willing to clear away empty plates and take out the trash when it gets full, for a few bucks an hour and some free food.

Seating

Finding enough seating is probably going to be the biggest problem for someone throwing a party for the first time. How do you even find extra chairs? One option is to rent chairs, tables, tablecloths, etc., while another is just to ask around and see who might have some seating to spare. You could even ask some of your guests to bring a few chairs by the day before the party, so you can be sure to have enough for everyone.

Details

Getting the details right is one of the keys to throwing a great party. Here are some general tips to help get the details right:

  • A closet or designated coat space if the weather is still cold enough that your guests might be wearing coats
  • Make cleaning up easy on yourself by clearing out your dishwasher, so all dirty dishes can go right in
  • Pick up any clutter and hide it away in an unused room to help your house look neat and tidy
  • Deep clean your house about a week before the party, so you only have to do maintenance throughout the week
  • Don’t forget about presentation; serving dishes for food can make all the difference

20 Great Ideas for an Awesome Spring Birthday Party

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If you, one of your friends, or one of your children has a spring birthday, there are only so many “flower” themed parties you can throw before you just have to throw something else. Here are twenty different ideas for spring birthday parties:

1. Throw a painting party.

Especially if your birthday is early enough in the spring that it is not quite warm enough to have the party outside, having a fun party indoors is a great alternative. For both kids and adults, a painting party, with canvases, different kinds of paint, and maybe a few cute subjects like stuffed animals or bowls of fruit makes for a fun indoor spring party.

2. Spring-color themed.

Not every party has to be “superhero” or “sports” themed. Just picking a color or color scheme and getting all the decorations and food to match that scheme can really pull a party together.

3. Ponies!

If you are throwing a party for a little girl (or a little cowboy), nothing is better than a pony-themed party. Best done outdoors (especially if you are actually going to rent a pony), this party with lots of bite-sized food and maybe even an obstacle course like the ones dressage riders complete will be fun for all ages.

4. Sunshine everywhere.

After a long and dreary winter, what’s better than the spring sun? How about a sun-themed birthday party? If you have warm enough or sunny enough weather to hold this party outdoors, that’s just a bonus! Yellow food, yellow decorations, and lots of fun in the sun are in store.

5. Garden party.

Not just a party in the garden, but a party that is actually garden themed! Flowers will be the perfect party decorations, but if you add in a few other touches like toadstool seats, place cards made of leaves, and little garden gnome decorations, what could be better?

6. A party for hungry caterpillars.

We’re all familiar with the book, how about a party centered around the very hungry caterpillar himself? Spring is all about transformation and that’s what this book is about, too. Lots of different snacks to choose from, as well as caterpillar decorations will truly make this party special.

7. Springtime in Paris.

Can you think of anything more romantic than springtime in Paris? Pink decorations, paired with the Eifel tower make easy party décor for this theme.

8. Camp out!

Even if you don’t actually want to go camping, warm spring days are a great time to throw a camping-themed party. Roast marshmallows over a fire pit (or grill), chow down on hotdogs and hamburgers, and tell spooky stories!

9. Bug party.

This party is especially great if you have a kid who is obsessed with bugs (which is an obsession than many mothers and fathers will never understand). Whether he or she prefers praying mantises or butterflies, cookies decorated to look like their favorite bug, and a few simple party decorations make this party work.

10. Rainbow party.

If your have a birthday that takes place during the “April showers” part of the year, a rainbow party might be the perfect way to celebrate. Multicolored food and decorations are easy to find or make!

11. Enchanted April.

If your little guy or gal loves all things magical, a spring birthday party is a great time to celebrate that. From unicorns, to their favorite prince or princess movie, to magical treats, this will be a snap to pull together.

12. Baby animals.

Springtime means lots of brand new baby animals! If your friend or child loves all things cute, throwing a party that features their favorite wild babies will surely be a huge hit!

13. Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Even if the birthday isn’t on Cinco de Mayo, you can still add a little fiesta flair to your springtime celebrations, especially if you love Mexican food. Look for decorations in red, white, and green (the colors of the Mexican flag), and decorate with paper flowers and sombreros. Don’t forget the piñata!

14. We all scream for ice cream.

Spring is probably the first time in a couple months that it’s been warm enough to want ice cream. There’s nothing wrong with throwing a whole party around ice cream, especially if it’s the birthday boy or girl’s favorite dessert.

15. A barnyard bash.

Fresh fruit and barnyard animal-themed cookies make it easy to plan food for this party. All you need for decorations is some hay and a few gingham table cloths.

16. Ladybugs everywhere!

If your child is delighted every time he or she sees one of these lucky bugs, throwing a party with a ladybug theme is perfect for you. Black, red, and white decorations are easy to find, and you can even send the guests on a ladybug hunt once the cake is cut and eaten.

17. Down the rabbit hole with Alice.

It was a beautiful spring day when Alice when down the rabbit hole. Watching your favorite Alice in Wonderland rendition and cookies that say “Eat Me” and drinks labeled with “Drink Me” make this party easy!

18. Cabbage patch party.

Cabbage patch dolls have been a classic for generations. Not only do they make great presents (and party favors), hosting this party outside keeps the house clean and provides plenty of fun for the kids.

19. Scavenger hunt!

This theme makes use of the warmer weather and the energy that birthday cake is sure to generate. Around the yard, park, or neighborhood, this party is sure to delight!

20. Planting party.

A tulip bulb will make a great party favor for your guests or you can spend your party potting plants or even learning how to arrange an herb, salsa, or fresh vegetables garden. If you have a green thumb and love spending time in your garden, this party is for you!

The Guide to Simple and Inexpensive Birthday Parties

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An inexpensive party doesn’t mean a cheap or boring party. Whether you’re planning a party for your son’s fifth birthday or a sweet sixteen for your daughter, here are some tips to help you throw a great, simplified birthday party that doesn’t feel cheap.

Step One: Cut the guest list.

Do you really need to invite every student in your son’s kindergarten class? Yes, there’s something to be said for including everyone, but not if that includes the class bully or even just the kids that you son doesn’t know very well. If you are trying to be more frugal this year, there’s nothing wrong with only inviting your son’s close circle of friends. Birthday party invitations from other kids do not automatically create an obligation. Cutting your guest list is the quickest and easiest way to simplify your party, so just do it!

Step Two: Commit to the cooking.

Ordering a cake and premade snacks from a bakery or caterer is going to put a serious dent in your wallet. Especially for a child’s birthday party (where none of the children willy really care about the quality of the cake—it’s cake, they’ll love it), make the cake yourself. Boxed cake mixes only cost a few dollars. If you want something more natural or your child or one of the guests has a food allergy or intolerance, making the cake from scratch is a great option. Either way, the kids won’t care if it wasn’t professionally made. They’ll only care that it’s sweet! In that same vein, commit to making a few snacks from scratch or just setting out some bowls of chips, dips, and candy. It will be much cheaper and probably much easier than trying to coordinate with a caterer.

Step Three: Don’t plan on goodie bags.

Instead of buying cheap little toys to stick in goodie bags for your child to give away as party favors at the end of the night, turn one of the activities into a craft that the children can then take home. My parents once planned me a Harry Potter-themed party—instead of party favors, they bought a bunch of cheap plastic wine goblets and let us go to town with glue and sequins and little stones and glitter paint to make our own pumpkin juice goblets. Not only was this more fun than just getting a goodie bag at the end of the night, some of my childhood friends still have their goblets from that party.

Step Four: Mix store-bought decorations with handmade decorations.

Buying birthday decorations from a party supply store is easy, but if you’re trying to decorate your entire house and want banners and balloons for every room, it can also get expensive. On top of the decorations you get from your favorite party supply store, make a few extra decorations. You don’t have to be crafty or creative to come up with something great. A simple fabric pennant, a happy birthday banner, or cut outs from the internet related to the party’s theme make easy, quick decorations.

Step Five: Send electronic invites.

Especially if your child is a teenager and most of her friends have devices, there’s no reason to buy and send out paper invitations, when a Facebook event or email is much more likely to be seen and remembered. Sure, etiquette dictates you send out a paper invite, but unless your mother is Emily Post, no one will ever know.

Step Six: Don’t invite the mothers or friends who will complain.

If you think one of your guests is going to spend the entire party complaining that there aren’t goodie bags or that there was only cake and ice cream, not a pizza and a hundred snacks, don’t invite that person. This was already covered in step one, but now that you’re further through the party planning process, really start to think about who is going to enjoy this party. The last thing you want are mothers or kids looking down their nose at you or your child because you decided to cut back on the extravagance this year. Young children are not going to remember their birthday parties and even older children are far more likely to remember who came and how much fun they had (or didn’t have, if someone is making the party less fun) than the decorations, what they ate, or the theme of the day.

Step Seven: Focus on activities, rather than on “stuff.”

While you can’t stop your child from wanting gifts or his friends from bringing gifts, you can decenter the party around gifts by making it more about a fun experience, rather than just getting something. Another of my most memorable birthday parties was pirate-themed (I’d seen Pirates of the Caribbean about a hundred times that year). My parents drew up a map of our neighborhood, burned the edges to make it look old, and then set us all off on a treasure hunt. When we got to the end, there was a treasure chest (a cardboard box), filled with chocolate coins for my friends and a stuffed monkey for me. I only remember what the present was because finding it was so much fun. Picking the right party theme can mean being able to cut down on presents and favors, which can cut down on the cost of throwing a party overall. Throwing an inexpensive party doesn’t mean it can’t be a quality party. Following these tips can mean a much more special and memorable day for your kid!

How to Avoid Common Party Planning Mistakes

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Whether it’s a baby shower for your best friend or a birthday party for your oldest child, if you’re planning a party, there are just some mistakes you don’t want to make. If this is the first party you’ve ever planned or the fiftieth, here’s how to avoid some of the most common party planning mistakes, to make sure your bash goes off without a hitch.

To make a guest list or not to make a guest list? That is the question.

Making a guest list, especially for something like a child’s birthday party, might not seem like a big deal. For a dinner party with your friends, it might also seem inconsequential. However, a guest list is really the foundation of your party. It will dictate how much food you have to buy, how many chairs you needs to scrounge up, what activities you plan, and even what kind of food you serve. Knowing exactly who will be coming (and who’s not coming), is essential.

Making a guest list can also prevent you from forgetting someone you really want to invite. Making the list far beforehand and then sitting on it for a few days before you send out invitations will ensure that you remember to add anyone who you originally left off. Depending on what kind of party you are planning, it’s always a good idea to get a few extra invitations to have on hand, just in case you remember someone while you’re actually stuffing and addressing your invites.

Haven’t chosen a theme? Here’s why you should.

Without a theme, your party could swirl into a full-blown identity crisis. That might sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is that if you don’t have a theme, even just a general theme, finding the right decorations, nailing down a menu, and coming up with games or activities (if applicable) can become nearly impossible.

Keep in mind that a theme doesn’t have to be anything as defined as “superheroes” or “Quentin Tarantino characters” in order to be functional. A color is a great place to start. If you’re throwing an anniversary party, there are usually traditional themes that go along with each year of a relationship. Picking a theme for a child’s birthday party is usually as easy as asking him what his favorite animal or television show is. A theme makes it easier to plan your party and even a general theme can help your guests know what to where and what to expect once they arrive.

When should I send out my invitations?

One of the biggest mistakes party planners—even veteran party planners—make is sending out the invitations too late or too early. Unless you make your party a Facebook event, so it shows up and reminds your guests every time they log into social media, sending out an invite too early could mean that people forget they have plans on that day or evening and make other plans instead. Additionally, sending out your invites too late could mean that most of your guests already have other plans, or may not leave them enough time to find a babysitter.

Three to four weeks is about the right amount of time, unless your party is on a holiday, which, in that case, you want your bid for your guests’ time to be the first one in. If you can send out an electronic calendar invite, along with a paper or emailed invitation, you have a much lower chance of someone forgetting or making other plans on top of your plans.

Do I need my guests to RSVP?

This is another one of the biggest mistakes that novice party planners mistake. Unless you personally call to invite every single guest to your party and get a verbal yes or no on the spot, not asking for an RSVP makes it nearly impossible to know how many guests are going to be attending your party.

For a child’s birthday party, not having the exact number might not be a huge deal (you’ll probably have too much cake and snacks anyway), but for something more structured like a dinner or cocktail party, knowing who is coming and if they’re bringing someone will dictate how much alcohol you need to buy or how much food you need to make.

Do your invitations have enough information?

You know you’re going to be serving dinner at your party, but do your guests know that? You don’t necessarily have to include every detail of what will (or will not) be served, but at least giving your guests a general idea of what kind of food (just appetizers, a full meal, or just desserts), will be served ensures they come with the right appetite in mind.

If your guests show up expecting dinner, they’ll be cranky and hungry, despite all of your hard work. If they don’t expect dinner and eat beforehand, only to be presented with a three course meal, they’ll be equally confused. Dress, what kind of food, and time frame are all essential information.

How do I pick the right venue?

Picking a venue can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of party planning. You don’t want a space that is too big, as too much room doesn’t foster mingling or dancing. A space too small and the party will get overheated and claustrophobic very quickly. This is another reason why being a little demanding about RSVPs is a good thing—you’ll know how many people you need to plan for, both when picking a venue and thinking about how much seating you need in that space.