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 ❤️
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