Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day, your daughter’s birthday, or your parent’s 50th anniversary – planning for some kind of party is probably in your future. To help you organize and prepare, we asked professional party planner Jamila Watson of Parties on Purpose for her advice on how to host a memorable soiree. Her tips:
1. Set a budget.
According to Watson, “It’s always smart to set your budget before you start planning. Knowing your budget will help you decide what items to include in your party.” Keep in mind that purchasing decorations, crafts, activities, place settings, food, cake, and favors usually total more than originally expected. Doing a little research beforehand will help you stick to your budget.
2. Pick a theme.
“Choosing the theme of the party is one of my favorite aspects of the planning process,” says Watson. “The theme is the message or story and your party’s activities, decorations and food should be consistent throughout.”
For a child’s party, sit down with them and discuss their likes and interests. Almost any interest can be turned into a party theme with a little creativity. Also, think about the guests that will be invited. For example, if your daughter is inviting both boys and girls to her “My Little Pony” party, make sure you plan activities that appeal to both genders.
3. Plan activities and games.
Make a detailed schedule for your party that outlines the activities your guests will be doing the entire time. This will help with the flow and timing of the event. In addition, states Watson, “Always OVERPLAN. If you’ve planned three games for the party, have one or two more in your back pocket. When guests are having fun they go through the activities fast.”
4. Create a guest list.
What’s the “rule” for how many guests to invite to a child’s birthday party? According to Watson, “your child’s age plus one.” If your child is turning six, for example, invite up to seven guests for a manageable event.
5. Get help from friends, family or professionals.
For large parties, enlist family members, close friends or teens to help with set-up, serving, or overseeing the planned activities. “Before the party starts, have a quick five-minute meeting to go over what each person is in charge of,” advises Watson. “This will help to ensure that the party runs smoothly.” But for those who would rather sit back and relax, let the professionals do all the work. “We would be more than happy to help you plan an amazing and memorable event,” states Watson.
Jamila Watson started Parties on Purpose in 2010 after her glitter tattoo stand attracted a large following at her daughter’s annual school carnival. Using creativity, energy and ingenuity, she creates parties that bring smiles and laughter with the “purpose” of encouraging acts of kindness, compassion and giving. Find out more at www.partiesonpurpose.com.