You have scanned Pinterest for birthday party ideas and have pinned all the pretty things all over your inboards. Now what? Whether you are a majorly crafty DIY-er or you just want a pretty party for the memory books (and are willing to spend a little extra to get there), you are the kind of mama who wants to make your little person’s special day extra special by doing a little more than the party chain store character theme pack. [Disclaimer: there is NOTHING wrong with keeping a kids’ birthday party sweet and simple. I am not here to judge and am a firm believer that you should only do a big, fancy party if you actually enjoy the process and results of planning one!]
I planned my daughter’s first birthday party last year (seen in these pictures here) all on my own and crafted late into the night for several months in advance to make my vision a reality. (Ok, sometimes my sister came over to help and I paid her in wine.) Anyway, all the hard work paid off because I a.) got to blog about my DIY projects as I went along (also see here and here) and b.) got the party published on the Inspired By This blog. The pins from my personal blog and Pinterest for her party have been re-pinned hundreds of times, not including the images that were posted and pinned through the ITB website. [To see more images and all the vendors I used for this party, click on over to my blog post of her party here.]
So, if you are ready for some of that Pinterest-worthy fun, here are four steps to take your kiddo’s birthday party to the next level.
Step One: Start a Pinboard
This may seem pretty obvious, but it bears repeating. Pinterest is an awesome tool to keep all of your online inspiration in one place. Once you have narrowed down your theme or at least a color palette, start a fresh board and stick to that theme on your board. Keep in mind if your end goal is to eventually have your party published, you need to keep your overall vision unique and not try to copy a picture of a party you find on Pinterest exactly. So this means when you are pinning, look for images that inspire your theme rather than trying to mimic something that has already been done. Focus on elements of the images you pull, such as color, party favors, cakes, food, and/or decorations. Write yourself little notes in the picture description as you pin so you remember later when you go back why you pinned it.
Step Two: Decide on a Budget
A beautiful party can get really expensive, really fast. A good way to keep the spending under control is to do a lot of DIY crafting yourself. However, you do have to spend some time deciding the value of your time. Remember that a lot of the more unique party vendors do make these things for a living, so they can get supplies at wholesale prices where you will be at Michael’s paying full retail prices. So it is possible that you could end up spending just as much on crafting supplies, plus you still have to make stuff! Just something to keep in mind as you are planning out your project strategy.
On the flip side, if you have a larger budget, go ahead and search out those unique party vendors and make sure you order well in advance of when you need it. If it is a handmade item, it will take longer to make and ship it to you, so you have to factor in that additional time. See my list of Favorite Unique Party Resources at the bottom of this post for ideas on where to shop.
Step Three: Start Planning Well in Advance
I’m talking at least 2-3 months or more. That may seem excessive, but whether you are DIY crafting or ordering, you need the time to make sure everything is in line and ready to go for the big day. Nothing is more stressful than trying to track down a package at the last-minute. Also, make yourself a checklist of all the things that need to be done so you can manage your projects. Anything non-food related (decorations, birthday outfit, favors) can be done in advance.
Step Four: Do NOT Try to Do it All Yourself
I am a control freak who is 100% guilty of trying to do it all myself, so I am telling you from experience: outsource and delegate. Do you have a crafty sister or friend who will help or even take on some projects for you? Will your husband or partner be in charge of the food? Can your mother-in-law help you bake or pick up the cake? Who can help you watch your kid(s)? Most of the help you will need will be day-of, but you should still plan out your help in advance.
Other than ‘free’ help of friends and family, consider hiring some help. Even on a budget, hiring out certain aspects of the party can be worth its weight in gold. Areas that are worth spending money on are partial catering that can be picked up or delivered and is easy to clean up after. Ordering a beautiful cake makes a big impact on the overall Pinterest-worty aspect of the party (after all, that is the centerpiece of your kid’s birthday party!). You might also consider a professional party planner. For a small fee, a planner can use her existing contacts to help you find everything you might never think of from vintage furniture rentals to food vendors and more, making your life easier.
And finally, if you really want your party to be Pinterest-worthy, Hire. A. Professional. Photographer. Even if you don’t care as much about getting your party published, hiring a photographer can be invaluable. You and your family of helpers will be so busy running around, you will hardly snap a single shot. After all your hard work putting the party together, the event should be documented! The pictures you get later will be some you can treasure for a lifetime.
Favorite Unique Party Resources
Eco-friendly Disposable Tableware: Sutsy Party
Local Party Planner: Mindy Alyse Celebrations
Final Disclaimer: Neither the author nor Scottsdale Moms Blog was compensated in anyway for the promotion of these businesses. All opinions expressed here are the author’s own. All images contained within this post are copyright B.Hansen Photography and are being used here with express permission.