The New York Institute of Art and Design is an online event planning school and because we are, we like to provide free tips for event planners. Enjoy!
Generally speaking, an event planner should learn the basics about planning any type of event before getting into the specifics of each. At NYIAD, our event planning course starts with what all events have in common before going on to break down the differences between corporate events, fundraisers, birthday parties, anniversaries, etc.
But planning a child’s birthday party does come with its own unique set of challenges. Here are 13 tips for the first time party planner:
- Boy or girl? Who’s having the birthday? A boy’s party will look very different from a girl’s. This first bit of knowledge is essential for the rest of your planning.
- Be age appropriate. The birthday boy or girl wants to feel like they’re getting older. There’s nothing worse than planning a theme or entertainment under their age level.
- Nail down your theme. A good theme makes the planning process easier, because it answers many of the questions that will come up about what to buy and how to prepare.
- Know the size. Get the invitations out early and nail down as best you can the size of the attendee list. Larger parties will present their own challenges that you need to prepare for in advance.
- Keep a tight schedule. Have a detailed itinerary and keep the party moving. Kids have short attention spans and you need to be ready to shuffle them from one activity to the next.
- Provide entertainment. Music, clowns, games, etc. Kids can keep themselves entertained but you need to have things for them to do or interact with.
- Plan for supervision. You are not going to be in charge of all the kids. You need parents to be there to help you care for them during the party.
- Who are your helpers? In addition to supervision, you’ll need help from people to prepare and serve food, and take care of other activities throughout the party. Know who they are in advance and make sure they’re up to the task.
- Feed them. Birthday cake or cupcakes are necessary. But depending on the time of day and length of the party, more food is probably good to have.
- Contain the party. Depending on the location of the party, you might need a perimeter to keep all the kids together. This is especially important for outdoor parties. Kids tend to roam free.
- Prepare for meltdowns. It happens at almost every party. Someone is going to get hurt or upset. Have a game plan ready for when one of your guests needs a little extra attention.
- Cater to the star. It’s all about the birthday boy or girl. If they’re having fun, you’re doing your job. Keep the attention on them and you’ll win the day.
- Goody bags. Nobody wants to leave empty-handed. The goody bag is an essential part of child’s birthday parties. Prepare accordingly.