After a few years of being a parent, you realise that you learn many new skills, as you take on the roles of parent, friend housekeeper, chef, chauffeur, agony aunt, bank and party planner for your children. Every year when their birthdays roll around you think, “I’m going to make this year’s party better than last years”. You reflect on all the past party fails and moments when things didn’t quite go to plan, and you know that this year, you won’t cock anything up!
I’ve been victim to some of these shortcomings. My oldest daughter’s birthday falls close to a bank holiday every year. We’ve made the mistake of having it on a bank holiday and not inviting enough people and we’ve gone the other way and had it the following week to find that every single child invited (plus a few siblings) showed up. We’ve had cakes that didn’t go quite to plan (pretty much all of them – I’m rubbish at baking) and we’ve had pass the parcels so big we had to use carrier bags when we ran out of wrapping paper.
I think the key to a successful party though, is to choose the right venue. If you pick a venue which suits all eventualities, then you’ve covered your back if you suddenly get twice as many guests as expected. I’m currently deciding whether or not to plan a party for my upcoming 30th birthday (yes I said it.. I’m in my last few weeks of being “in my twenties”!). To help make that decision, I’ve been looking at a venue finding service, to help me choose the perfect party location.
The essentials to consider are of course size of the venue – allowing for stragglers, but also not wanting to feel like you can hear your own echo if lots of people don’t show up! Is it easily accessible? Wheelchair or pushchair friendly? Lots of parking? How late are they licensed for loud music? What are the catering options for that venue? And most importantly… Does it have a licensed bar? The most successful children’s party I organised, was one where they had the bar open and I invited all the parents to stay and have a few drinks… It also meant extra hands watching the 60 kids that showed up and cleaning up afterwards!
I actually like to think I’m pretty good at party planning, as part of my degree was in events management and finding the perfect venue is easily the most important thing to consider.
I’d disagree about the bar. I go to a lot of children’s parties, sometimes as a mum and sometimes as an extra pair of hands for my husband, who is a children’s entertainer. We tend to find that when alcohol is involved the parents tend to drink and get gradually louder, making it harder for the children to hear the entertainment.
The best parties I’ve gone to have been where everyone has been supportive and watched not only their own children, but other people’s as well. These also tend to be the parties where adults are offered soft drinks and food. The worst ones have involved smoking and alcohol (parents), and where there is o supervision so older children push in. I tend not to go to adult parties – I’m too tired.
Emma Day says
An interesting comment. I personally only usually have children’s parties in non-smoking venues and they don’t tend to be long enough for anyone to get drunk, but it just means the parents stick around and help. Thank you for your comment.