This was a special birthday for my little girl because it was the first party that she had with her friends from school. Yes, she is in Reception this year and she feels like a big girl although for me she will always be my little baby!
This year I found it very difficult to choose how to celebrate her birthday because there are 21 kids in her class and it seems like a common custom to invite the whole class. This means the kids get to know each other better outside of school and therefore the parents too. We knew that our budget was going to be higher than the budget we had last year for her birthday party because she only invited 9 friends from nursery.
We had more than double the number of children attending. We, therefore, needed a venue that allowed us more space for all these kids plus their parents, although they don’t all stay for the whole party as many drops off/collect their children, just a little bit at the beginning and then they come just before the party ends. Let’s be honest, it is a great opportunity for parents to have some spare time and enjoy what they can without their crazy kids so, understandably the number of parents staying for the whole party has reduced as the children have become more used to being at parties with their school friends. This obviously affects the budget and it can also be difficult to guess who might stay and who might not.
Being one of the youngest in her class, she was one of the last to celebrate her birthday (May). This, fortunately, enabled us to spy on other kid’s parties and then get the best ideas from each and put it all together. We decided to plan the party from scratch which means that we needed to organise every single detail, which was different to the party we organised for her last year as it was an all inclusive birthday package at a nearby soft play centre.
Anyway, I thought I’d do a list of all the party arrangement hoping that it could be helpful for someone out there:
For us, this was our priority. A few of the other parents from her school had chosen the same venue and we thought that it was lovely, big, bright and airy with high ceilings. This venue was a large Community Hall which had a capacity of up to 150 people.
Tables and chairs, a tea urn and sound system were included in the hire fee. The audio/visual equipment and a portable stage were available on request for a small charge.
All of this for £32.50 per hour plus a deposit which was refunded 2 days after the party. For London, this is really good value.
We called the venue and booked the room for 3 hours on the date we wanted. The actual party was for 2 hrs, but we needed to allow half an hour at the beginning to set up the room and half an hour at the end to tidy up and clear the room. After booking the venue, we were able to prepare the invitations.
Nowadays party invitations no longer seem to be in paper anymore. We have modern parents, therefore the invitations were sent as digital cards which can also track responses. The best approach is to send the invitations one month before the party allowing parents plenty of time to organise themselves. The website we used for the invitations was Paperless Post who also have an iPhone application. It is also free to use unless you want to add some fancy opening options for the card but it is very affordable. They look very nice and you can add a photo of the birthday girl/boy.
I thought this was going to take us a lot of time to choose but luckily we found a really good website: Children’s Party London. The company name is Aeiou Kids Club.
The Party Package we chose was ‘The Classic + Marvellous Magic’ which involved activities filled with fun and laughter, some games, music, dancing, face painting and balloon modelling followed by a marvellous magic show. It was one guy who came and did everything. We were very pleased with the service and the entertainer. He was amazing, captivating and entertaining the kids really well. I can highly recommend the company. You need to pay 50% upon booking and the balance at the end of the party.
This was a struggle because the venue was big and had such a high ceiling that we were wondering how to decorate such a big space. After looking for some inspiration we ended up buying all the decoration from Party Pieces with an all vintage and pink theme. We bought:
- Pink table cover
- Pink napkins
- Pink plastic serving trays
- Metallic pink party balloons
- Clear party balloons
- Pink paper party cups
- Pink & mixed colour paper birthday party bunting
- Pink hearts confetti
- Pink polka paper plates
- Pink chevron paper straws
- Rainbow hanging swirl decoration
- Butterfly hanging party decoration
- Pink honeycomb paper ball
- Bright pink decorative party fans
- Bright pink decorative mini party fans
- Pink polka personalised party banner (name and age)
- Light pink pom poms
- Dark pink pom poms
- Sparkle candle no 5
- Pink ribbon
- White ribbon
- Party bags for girls
- Party bags for boys
You can obviously shop around for all of these things looking for the best prices, but it was really convenient to have everything from one place.
The party was in the afternoon from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. We chose this time so we didn’t need to worry about having to seat every kid at the table to have a meal. From previous parties, I feel that this can be a waste of food and money with some kids hardly eating their food. Our solution for this was to have an afternoon tea which is actually something very common for children’s parties in my country. The parties are in the afternoon and they put a long table for kids to help themselves with lots of yummy sandwiches, yummy sweets and of course a super beautiful cake of various layers. This is always a hit with the kids.
I’m very bad in the kitchen and not the sort of mum that will prepare all the food myself. It would’ve been too much effort. I wanted something yummy but affordable. Doing a little bit of research we found out that Sainsbury’s do a very nice Party Food selection that you need to order with a few days of anticipation. That was perfect for what we wanted but we couldn’t believe that we were getting all our food from them. It was a risk but we found it all to be very nice. I can definitely recommend them and the price was very reasonable (when perhaps comparing with custom party caterers). We ordered the following:
- 24 fish sandwich platter (salmon & cucumber, prawn mayonnaise, tuna & sweetcorn)
- 24 wraps platter (chicken & bacon caesar, BBQ pulled pork, southern fried chicken, falafel & houmous)
- 16 sub rolls platter (tuna crunch, ploughman’s, ham & egg, chicken & bacon ranch)
- 24 vegetarian sandwich platter for the kids (egg mayonnaise, cheese & pickle, cheese & onion)
- crudités & dips platter (carrot batons, cucumber, mange tout, baby corn, celery, red & yellow pepper with pots of hummus and salsa)
- fruit platter (melon, strawberries, pineapple, mango and seedless grapes with a creme fraiche dip)
- Teatime cakes platter (carrot cake slices, mini choc chip muffins, caramel shortcakes and mini chocolate brownies)
We also got fruit shoot drinks and water for the kids. We then offered for the adults a Peruvian drink: Chilcano which has Pisco (I’ll do another post about preparing this and a proper Pisco Sour 😉).
6. THE CAKE
We fancied doing something different this time, so we had a fantastic cupcake tower. The kids love cupcakes so why not make a tower of them! We also gave one cupcake together with a party bag to each child.
These cupcakes were so delicious. And they look amazing! The cupcakes were done by my super talented sister in law who is very good. If you want her details, please drop me an email and I will put you in contact with her.
We also bought 2 pots with small plants from Sainsbury’s and some flowers, serving platters and plastic cups from Asda.
Well, this is everything we got for Bella’s birthday party. It was a big effort but it was all worth it as you don’t turn 5 years old every day!! She had such great fun and enjoyed every minute of it. To see her face so happy was priceless! And the best part is that she got so many presents. I got as excited as her! So funny. What a wonderful day we all had!
I hope that you like my post and that this information was useful. If it helps just one person I would be so happy 😃
What about you? How have you celebrated your kid’s birthday party this year? Tell us and give us more ideas for another party.
Thanks for stopping by,
Love you all ❤️
Linking up with:
Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby says
Sounds like a very well organized birthday party! I have not tried organizing big parties for my kids here in UK although I have tried it back home in Phils. for my son’s first bday and my daughter’s 2nd bday. It was easier there as I have just booked it in hotel which includes kiddie party package so less hassle. I bet you’ll have a fab and fun party! Very informative post! #KCACOLS
Paranoid Working Parent says
Reading this as part of #KCACOLS and I must say I really enjoyed it! I must check out the paperless invites as this sounds so much easier. My daughter starts reception in September and is an August baby so I’ll have plenty of time to check out what other parents do. 🙂 Happy Sunday!
Looks like a great party! Given me some ideas for my daughters 5th birthday, fortunately not until Jan next year. I’ve just posted on the stresses of hosting my sons 3rd birthday, it was great but so much work! Thanks for hosting. #KCACOLS
Wow, what an absolutely beautiful birthday party. I love the pink theme and the community hall looks like a great location. I am glad you and Bella had a fantastic day. Loads of love Pen xx #KCACOLS
Oh that looks lovely. Happy birthday Bella! I’m so apprehensive about the first school birthday party, fortunately I have time to prepare yet xx #KCACOLS
becca farrelly says
Wow what an amazing party! We are just planning Mia’s birthday as she is 3 on 1st May and we haven’t done a party for her before! Its extremely daunting but as she is one of the youngest, we have been to a couple of other parties and got a feel for how its done!! Shes having 5 little girls from Preschool and I think it will be enough so I cant imagine when she goes to school and we will probably have to invite the whole class!
I love the digital invitations idea, I will definitely look into that for next year and we too have ordered party decorations from Party Pieces so its lovely to see your room beautifully decorated with similar items! 🙂
Emma Jones says
Looks fab & the is brilliant room hire cost. We don’t have a custom of whole classes at my children’s school luckily & I’ve generally opted for soft play centres & this year as my daughter is older we did pottery painting which was quite chilled out even though there were 8 children. #kcacols lifeinthemumslane
Nicole @ The Professional Mom Project says
Such a beautiful party! We just hosted my son’s 5th birthday party as well and it was huge! We invited his whole class plus our friends’ children. It was lots of fun but I’m relieved that it’s finished for this year. #KCACOLS
Sara Skillington says
That looks extremely well organised, Franca. Love the cupcake tower idea. Such lovely photos too! We have had a few story themed birthday parties such as the Hungry Caterpillar. I am thinking of planting seeds with the children next time 🙂 #KCACOLS
Jade Lloyd says
Goodness this is beautiful, my little boy just celebrated his fifth and I found it so difficult to plan now he is in school! He has 35 in his class so we decided as he wanted a soft play party this year, with party bags and lots of extras he could pick ten and next year we would be much more organised, do everything ourselves, invite everyone and hire out a venue and do it in the way you did (the tips are super helpful!) as on the day sadly with my LO some children pulled out and you still have to pay per person, then my little boy decided he missed other children… It is hard to know what to do! Your little one is gorgeous and she looks like she had an amazing time!!!x #KCACOLS
Mommy's Little Princesses says
Looks like Bella had a fantastic party. I just love how pretty it all looked. Gorgeous pictures hon.xx
Mommy's Little Princesses says
Agent spitback says
Gorgeous Party! I am so bad at food too that I rather cater than prepare myself. I have never made a birthday cake for a party ever! I think it’s always a better idea to have the party at a separate venue where you don’t have to worry about cleaning up your house before and after too much. Looks like she had a fab party! #KCACOLS
It looks like Bella had a fabulous birthday party! What a lucky girl! Thanks for hosting #KCACOLS
I’m just getting into this now. Both my boys are autistic and don’t like parties but my little girl is three and she is tryely up for it all. Years of no birthday parties allowed will come out at once and you’ve some great tips and ideas here. Thanks x #KCACOLS
Mommy Muddling says
What a fabulous party!!! Looks like you outdid yourself, Franca. The birthday planning process can be extensive and exhausting if you don’t have it well-planned. Love your description and how you laid everything out for us. Here’s to many happy birthdays for your little ones to come! #KCACOLS
The Pramshed says
This looks like a great party Franca, and Happy Birthday Bella! I can imagine that this was organised with military precision especially getting it all set-up 30 minutes before the party started. The online invitations look fab, I had no idea that these existed but I can see that these are so much more useful and easier to track responses than paper invites, all less costly too. I love the look of the venue, London can be tricky for venues, with choice and budget to balance. Your post has got me thinking about our little one’s 1st year birthday party to plan for August! Claire x
Mum in Brum says
Wow Franca this looks AMAZING! I can only imagine how much time this took to plan, but it all looks so worth it! I love the idea of paperless invites, I haven’t heard of them before. I hope Bella had a fab day! xx #KCACOLS
That looks like a perfect party for a very lovely little girl, and some fab tips in there Franca! I’m doing the boys (Hayden & Ellis) a joint party this year, I haven’t done one since Ellis turned one so I can’t blooming wait! I love to plan! I will keep some of these things in mind though for sure! #KCACOLS xx
Looks like such a fun party! It seems to be the same in my son’s reception class, a lot of the other children have had the whole class to their party. We’re keeping it very small for my son this year, with just a few friends at our house, but next year I think we’ll have to go all out for him! x #KCACOLS
Aw Franca, this is beautiful! Wish I could throw a girlie party just once! Dont think my boys would approve though!!
Lovely pics and lovely post! Thanks for hosting #KCACOLS
The Speed Bump says
Lovely post and looks like a lovely party too! I am nervous and excited in equal measures for doing full-class parties when SB goes to school! #KCACOLS
Alice Nipper and Tyke says
That is a really gorgeous party – I love reading about all the lovely things people plan for their children’s parties. I have to say though, I dread the idea of having to invite all of the children in my son’s class to a party! I hope that this is not the norm when he starts school in September! It looks pretty pricey, and 30 kids in my house would be a bit of a busman’s holiday for me, as I’m a primary school teacher!
Looking forward to hearing about Bella’s 6th birthday party, which must be just on the horizon now…
tracey bowden says
What an amazing party it looks lovely. I hate planning parties and I told Olivia this year was her last (10) We held this one at her gymnastics club and all the kids had an amazing time! #kcacols
lizzie ( firstooth ) says
Oh my goodness what a gorgeous girly party! You certainly had plenty of kids there too I bet your daughter loved every moment. Thanks for all the tips I will have to check out those invitations, you seem to love planning things I’m exactly the same. I like having everything organised and planning every detail. Thanks for hosting as always x
Fabulous entertainment and venue choice! Looks lovely.
We’d love to help you out with decorations and finding an entertainer next time on our platform for parents! http://www.mylittleparty.uk