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How to host a kids birthday party {and still stay sane!}

Fat Mum Slim /

This is a sponsored post for Gumtree.

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I think there’s a rite of passage that parents have to go through {endure, if you will} and that’s to host a kids birthday party. Be it small, or big… most parents will go through it, no doubt. Some will glide through with ease and finesse and others {ahem, me!} will have their moments of frazzle-dom {not a word, but it should be}.

I am going to put it out there, but Lacey’s 5th birthday party was my practice run… for all the parties to come. There won’t be one every year, but I have no doubt that I will probably host another before she moves out of home, and I will master that baby. It will be the party to beat all parties. Seriously though, I learned a lot from the party just hosted, and I am happy to be guinea pig and share my little lessons learned with you. You’re welcome.

Follow the recipe for a perfect party.

I think they should hand this information out to all parents as they leave hospital. It should be in a book of practical things parents should know {with other such things like: Your kid is probably going to eat something pretty much non-edible {dirt, snails, poop} but they’ll be OK}. There’s a recipe for kids parties, which I learned from Autumn on this post. She advised that when inviting kids, invite the number that the birthday girl/boy is turning, plus 2. So Lacey should have had 7. Perfect. We had 15. Seven would have been much more manageable.

Balloons. Always get the balloons.

I’m always amazed at how entertaining helium balloons can be. The kids spent most of the party playing with the balloons. So GET THE BALLOONS! {We found our fab balloon lady through Gumtree}.

Remember what’s important to your child.

I didn’t let Lacey make too many decisions with the party, because it would have led to disappointment. She’d want a REAL rainbow, and a REAL unicorn, and REAL magic. Instead I asked what she wanted to do at her party, and that was dance with her friends. I also asked what colour she wanted everything to be, and that was pink. So I made sure those two things happened, and then planned everything else to suit, keeping in mind things she loves as I did so.

Outsource when you can.

I know budgets vary, but you can outsource {with local business services, and/or help from family and friends} where possible to save stress, time and a mental breakdown. I was lucky enough to be given help with the budget, so while I knew I could make a cake, it would be something I’d agonise over – so I had a local lady {sourced through Gumtree} make the cake for $40. I knew once I’d bought ingredients and calculated the time it would take – it was better to outsource. At other parties I’ve asked my Aunt to make the cake and she thinks it’s such an honour. My priority was having someone entertain the kids for the whole party. I can be out there when I’m with people I know, but being new to the ‘hood I know it would take away much of the stress if that part was outsourced too. You can find affordable services over on Gumtree. I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable they were {look under business services > party/catering}. I was also able to outsource the party food through a local caterer I found on Gumtree {I saved money by just having them drop off the food, so I didn’t have to pay for their time during the party etc}. You can find great caterers that make platters, finger foods and lots more. Depending on what your budget is you could outsource everything and REALLY enjoy the party, or just choose important things to help you out a bit.

Don’t aim for perfection.

I had to remind myself of this a few times, that it didn’t need to be perfect. Lacey wouldn’t notice the details, and the most important thing was that she had fun. I have a theory with any event – that something will go wrong. It’s not a pessimistic view, but just a little bit realistic. So once that one thing breaks or goes awry I breathe a sigh of relief, work around it and move on. Preferably that thing is an easy fix, if not… drink wine.

Write lists. Lots of them.

Your brain is going to be filled with details, so give your brain a break and write lists of things you need to do. I printed out 5 of these babies {printable daily planner} and wrote down everything I needed to do, down to the most boring detail. It just meant it was all out of my head, onto paper… and then I could delegate too.

Have a back-up plan.

Unfortunately on the day our entertainer was delayed, so it meant that we were left without someone to keep the kids happy. A minor freakout later, I enlisted my sister {who just happens to be a big event planner for people like Lady Gaga} and we were on track. I had a pin the horn on the unicorn game in the cupboard that we pulled out, we put on some music and played statues, and then spent some time opening the presents until the fairy arrived.

Have fun.

My advice for anyone getting married is to steal some time away from everyone, grab your new husband and have a moment. It’s the same with a party, take a little time to watch your little person and all the fun they’re having. Talk to the parents, enjoy some cake, and try to relax.

And now for all the details…

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The birthday dress: Witchery
The cake: Manda’s Sweet Treats {via Gumtree}
Cake bunting: $3 printable by Rosie Simons
Party details {decorations, candy, goodie bags, table cloth, cake stand etc}: Sweet Style
Birthday invites: Printable invite by YourInvites
Love heart cocktail sticks: Via ebay
Cake pops: Amazing mudcake with white choc coating by Sweet Az {via Gumtree}
Party food {for kids & platters for adults}: Gobble Catering {via Gumtree}
Balloons: Local service {via Gumtree}

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  • lifewithkaishon

    That looks like a fabulous party. I love your tips : ). Bravo. Happy Birthday to your baby!

  • michelle barrington

    I am sure Lacey had the time of her life. Well done – throwing a party while preggers is not easy – I had contractions the whole way through Raya’s 4th party. Great tips!

  • Lindsay lynheartslife

    It all looks beautiful! Great job and fantastic tips 😀

  • Frog Goose and Bear

    Great party tips! I need to outsource more and work on that perfection thing…
    It all looks gorgeous and I’m sure she had a wonderful day!

  • Amazing! That cake bunting… SO FREAKING COOL!
    Thanks for the tips. I just managed to dodge parties for both Ruby and Cael last month however Ivy has one in November. Maybe I’ll brave it now.
    I think I’m emotionally scarred from a certain1984 Rollerskating party epic failure. Trust me, one should not attempt the chicken dance while on wheels.
    Nice work Mumma!

  • Vikki

    A few weeks back i survived my daughters 5th birthday.
    Famous last words were “it’s only going to be a SMALL party” I also had the same amount of children attend that you did (i still sit here and wonder how that happened)
    When it comes to parties i love it, but COMPLETELY break down and stress over them.
    Everything has to be perfect, the lolly bags have to be a better idea than the last party (everyone goes away ooo’ing and aaaah’ing – making all the sleepness nights and 1am finishing times worth it)
    I too CAN make a cake but don;t need the stress, this years theme was ‘rainbow’
    So ordered a gorgeous 7 tiered rainbow cake (all the colours of the rainbow as you cut in)
    My dear cake lady firstly cringes when she hears from me then always loves the interesting idea’s i come up with.
    I was only expecting a cake in the SHAPE of a rainbow and when this 2 person to carry it creation arrived (thanks to grandparents) i was stunned.
    And yes one thing always goes wrong and it turned out that my 3 year old sneaking into the laundry where cake was hiding and running her finger along the front of the cake would be this years “disaster”
    It was nearly 40 degrees on the day of her party so popped into Big W and bought a troley full of $1.50 squirty water bottles – we had a magician on the day.
    Best party ever
    Biggest breakdown ever
    I have to remember your hints and to be kind to myself come party time!

  • looks so pretty! keira has had a big party every year but the twins turn 5 and it’s only their 2nd big party this year! Last year was the first time I paid for face painting and it was the best money I ever spent. This year the twins will have a magician come and entertain their little friends.
    I always stress but it’s always fun, the kids never eat the fancy stuff I eat just the fairy bread/sausage rolls and party franks and I need a week to recover!!!!
    But it’s so much fun!
    looks like a great party!

  • These are great tips, I’m yet to host a birthday party – I always chicken out and outsource the whole thing. I am thinking though that maybe next year is the year! I’ll be taking on board your suggestion about numbers, she’ll be turning 6 so I think 8 maybe max of 10 would be perfect.

  • workingwomenaustralia

    My heart was in my mouth on the day of the party when the entertainer didn’t turn up. I’m glad your sister was able to help out. It can be stressful enough without worrying about things that you thought were locked in! Glad she had an awesome day xx

    • Thank goodness for extroverted sisters! I’ve had the mums keep saying to me, “That was the best birthday party ever.” And I’m like “Really?” felt so stressful at the time, but everyone had a blast. 🙂

  • Tania McCartney

    LOVE these ideas and I am SO with you on the helium balloons. They’re genius. The party looked absolutely gorgeous – happy unicorn magic birthday, Rainbow Lacey!

  • Sarah SB

    I do this party gig twice a year every year. My Mum was never thrown birthday parties so it’s important to me to do it for my girls & her in a way! It’s exhausting but SO worth it!!

  • So pretty! I have trouble relinquishing control to other people for things like this. I always have a clear idea of what I want and sort of feel like ‘if you want it done right, do it yourself’. I’m sure as the years go on I will probably start to relax a lot more.

    • I usually do too {control freak anyone} but I’m learning slowly that sometimes doing everything can cost me enjoying myself. Little steps, I say. x

  • Oh I would like my next birthday to look exactly like that!!

  • Master Chefette

    Awww that looks absolutely gorgeous! I’m sure she had a brilliant time, the perfect mix of classic kids party at home with the stunning sweets table etc. As an amateur baker, I LOVED that cake too! xx 🙂

  • Gayle Polorotoff

    Oh help me! I’m planning my son’s first birthday and I have 70 family members to invite (mind you, they are all immediate, first cousin, aunt, uncle….) Sigh…..
    I’m outsourcing as much as possible, but it’s the things I can’t control that are stressing me… I can fit them outside, but what if it rains? Ha!
    Stay tuned to see how this one pans out…

  • Ruby

    Lovely party but it does sound like one big add for using gumtree for parties, I’m off to hunt down all those great deals you found on gumtree- a $40 cake ? Bargain !!!!

    • Yes, it’s a sponsored post for Gumtree – so I was asked to use their services. 🙂 Good luck finding a cake. x

  • Tonima Akter

    Very interesting post. My younger sister birthday is near at hand. I will try to make my sister’s birth day like this way. Thanks for sharing.