At HoneyTree we have worked with many party planners producing epic parties for all occasions. Here are our industry tips and tricks to help you plan & enjoy an amazing Birthday Party without the expense of a party planner.
1. Collaborate – Make sure that all involved sit down together to discuss what they all want, preferably over a bottle of wine; both the parents and the birthday girl or boy may have fantastic ideas to make the Birthday Party memorable. It’s very important to sit around the table early on to listen to each other and agree on the fundamentals set out below. When the parents and the party person look forward to it equally, it’s a sort of magic that permeates the whole event.
2. Budget – Cost can spiral out of control if a clear game plan is not organised. Home verses Venue is the main sticking point, there are pros and cons for both but a good way to sort it out is to work out price per head and break it down from there, its lovely to have a party at home, even going the whole hog with the marquee and bunting, but hiring a venue also has its merits since they are usually geared to hosting parties and can sometimes work out cheaper as the whole package is priced up. If you are really brave you could throw caution to the wind and have an al fresco party (crossing all fingers and thumbs and a possible sacrifice to the rain gods!) but as we all know this is always a little stressful here in England.
3. Numbers – Its always hard to narrow down the guest list to fit your budget, there is the options of the plus 1 which allows your invited guests to bring along his/her partner, and of course the obligatory family members who would be devastated if they were not invited. If you are inviting mainly couples, remember you only need half as many invitations as guests on the list.
4. Theme – Well the sky is the limit here, some like a very informal affair while there are other parties become a Hollywood extravaganza, some guests love a dress up while others are a little more low key in their costume decisions. Stick to what you really want here, if the hosts are excited about the theme, chances are that the guests are going to follow suit and get togged up to the nines.
Suggestions that have proven popular (and easy to implement)
Hippy 70’s – think Woodstock, Glastonbury festival – at one party a group of boys turned up in a rented police uniform as riot police!
Turbans and tiaras – who hasn’t got a bit of silk, a kaftan or baggy yoga trousers hanging around?
Film characters – everything from Professor Snape to Lara Croft are easy costumes to dig up from your regular wardrobe, and if you really want to go to town the costume hire or online shops are the place to find your inner Bilbo Baggins
5. To cater or not to cater – its always good to feed your guests something, if only to soak up some of the alcohol that is on offer but again the cursed budget has to be considered, catering oneself is great if there are not too many people but there is then that added pressure of getting the food out and making sure it tastes ok. Most caterers have price lists per head on their sites. If you do decide to go down this route make sure that the caterers provided enough waiting staff for your guests, there is nothing worse than having a room full of guests who are all eating at different times.
6. Music – Do you go for live or DJ, this really does rely very much on your budget, who would’nt want a massive 8 piece band belting out all the favorites, however a DJ is also great providing they have the right sound system, its always good to let the DJ know what gendre of music you like, alternatively if you have a whooping great speaker plug in your i pod with your party play list and get grooving.
7. Booze – Party planners over the past number of years have found that beer and wine is ideal – cocktails at the very outset are also lovely but once the catering starts best not to serve spirits. Some like to have an open bar after the food while others have a keg of beer on tap for those who still have a bit of a thirst.
8. Set the scene – Invitations and rsvp deadlines (naturally, we believe these really do set the scene)
Now you have the theme, numbers, catering, music, end time, you can send out the invites. We have an extensive guide to the considerations and options here and also have our epic bespoke design studio team ready to create the ultimate invitation for your event.
9. Early morning catering – Kedgeree, bacon rolls, veg and vegan options (soaks up the booze and keeps the energy levels up).
10. The clear up brunch – When hosting at home, those camping, staying or returning the next day for a catch up can be commandeered into a clean up party, especially when using a marquee as your venue. Clear instructions and tasks combined with bin bags, bins and disposable gloves can instigate a quick and much appreciated clear up so that the rest of the day is spent in a lovely space without too many signs of the recent event.
11. Thank you cards – As the hosts and party person you will find that people will enjoy bringing gifts, once you have collated and clearly marked ‘which present is from whom’ you can enjoy dropping a line to the thoughtful guests and probably comment on an aspect that involved them during the party. You can choose the same design, artwork or theme to really tie in the event.
No doubt you will also be the recipient of many thank you cards providing anecdotes and insights into the event. It is these that can be stored in an old shoe box, draw etc and provide years of pleasure looking through them and for your children later down the line!