First, determine the theme of the party. The theme of the party is a precursor to much other decision that must be made throughout the party planning experience and therefore it is essential to choose the right theme. Themes such as children's themes, Mexican adult parties or parties that focus on the glamour of old Hollywood are some of the examples that people choose.
When is the party going to be held?
For children's parties, late morning to early afternoon is recommended, as in the late afternoon children tend to become tired and irritable. For adults, evening parties allow adults to be finished work, find a sitter for children and give the adults a chance to wind down from the day. Birthday parties for teenagers are flexible between the late afternoon and evening, depending on the activities that are going to occur at the party.
Who is hosting the party and where is the party to be hosted at?
Determining the location will either limit, or remove limits from the guest list. Be sure to check with the venue, or with the host to ensure that the party facilities will accommodate the approximated guest list.
The key to party decorations is not price, but creativity. Researching party themes on the internet can yield hundreds of design ideas that can help to transform a room into a themed birthday party. Traditional balloons, streamers and other party decorations are often used to decorate for birthday parties and provide a quick fix to decorating woes.
Guest List and Invitations
Invitations should be sent to guests at least two weeks ahead of time, more if the guest is required to provide a costume or to take part in an extensive theme party. As long as the invitations are sent within two to four weeks of the party, this should be an appropriate timeline.
Catering services are available for large groups, or the cooking can be completed at the party for smaller, more intimate gatherings between friends. Consider the age of the people attending the party and some of the favorite foods of the person celebrating the birthday. This will help to narrow down the menu selection. Often, when hiring a caterer, it is helpful to try samples as well as obtain an estimate for the cost per person to cater the party. At this time, the caterer will have suggestions about the group, food and refreshments that can be served. When meeting with a caterer, ask if options are available for serving at the party. Determine the cost of this service, before any contracts are signed.
Who is going to be in charge of making the cake? Is the cake going to be ordered from a company specializing in cakes? Often, if the cake is being used as a focal point of the party or is being used to convey the theme, it could be hard to design. Birthday cakes completed by professionals can cost up to several hundred dollars and should be ordered at least four weeks in advance of the party.
Most birthday parties have favors for the guests to take home at the end of the celebration. Keep in mind that these favors should tie in with the theme of the party and be something that can create memories of the party for months to come. When choosing favors keep in mind that edible favors are the most popular, followed by favors that are practical and can be used on a regular basis. Plan for at least one favor per person attending the party, and don't leave the person celebrating the birthday out!
How will the guests be entertained throughout the party? Are you going to have a special guest arrive or entertainment in the form of music? Games are a popular way to keep people entertained at a birthday party, they allow the guests to win prizes and keep busy between birthday activities.