Here are the basic tasks you'll need to accomplish when considering how to plan a birthday party for kids, teenagers, and even adults.
- Determine your budget.
This is one of the most important things to do before planning a birthday party. You don't want to spend more money than you have, and you don't want to sacrifice quality in order to save. Talk with your guests and see what kind of events they've already attended. Use this knowledge to set realistic expectations for what your party will cost.
- Choose a theme.
- Pick guests.
- Send invitations.
- Arrange food.
- Acquire decorations.
- Plan activities.
6 to 8 Weeks Before the Party
- birthday party hats
- Sit down with your child, and choose a party theme. Begin brainstorming how to incorporate the theme into the decorations, cake, favors, and other party details.
- Set a date.
- Book a venue
- Order invitations, or use the ones we provide at Kids Fun House purchase supplies for homemade invitations.
- Set a budget.
- Determine a guest list.
- Begin shopping for gifts for the birthday kid.
3 to 5 Weeks Before the Party
- Buy stock invitations from a retail store if you didn't preorder or make them.
- Write and send out the invitations. Include the party’s start and end time, your phone number, directions to the party location, and the party’s theme.
- If the child still naps, set the party time with that in mind. Toddlers, for example, often nap between 1 and 3 p.m., so hold a party for that age group either in the morning or late afternoon.
- Shop for party supplies, such as decorations and items to make the favors. Shopping early gives you time to order items online if you can’t find them locally.
2 Weeks Before the Party
- Make or buy party favors.
- Settle on a menu.
- Order the cake. (Allow more time for this if you'll be ordering from a popular bakery.)
- Decide the activities or games that will be part of the party’s agenda, and buy or make any necessary supplies.
- For those who have a young child, consider asking or hiring someone to watch the child on the morning of the party to give you time to focus on decorating and preparing the final details of the day.
- Arrange to have someone watch your pets during the party if necessary.
3 to 7 Days Before the Party
- Call any invitees who haven’t RSVP’d.
- Write a rough order to do things at the birthday party.
- Confirm the entertainer and venue.
- See whether the child is willing to donate some toys, clothes, or other items they've outgrown to make room for gifts that are about to arrive.
2 Days Before the Party
- Shop for groceries, and do prep work on any menu items that won’t spoil.
- For those serving pizza or similar carryout/delivery food, place your order.
- Wrap birthday gifts.
- Buy any party supplies you still need, such as plates, napkins, cups, dinnerware, toothpicks, matches, or candles.
1 Day Before the Party
- Charge any electronic devices you plan to use at the party.
- Set up whatever won't be disturbed between now and the party time tomorrow. This might include hanging decorations, setting the table, setting up party games, or placing buffet servers that can be filled with food just before the party.
- Make the cake, or confirm the order with the bakery.
The Morning of the Party
- Drop off your child (or pet) with a sitter if you've prearranged this.
- Confirm your food arrangements, including the pickup or delivery time if applicable.
- Finish any other food prep work.
- Pick up balloons or confirm delivery time if using, and the cake, if ordering.
- Complete decorating the party area.
- Set up the games and activities if you haven't yet.
- Put out the party favors.
Just Before the Party Starts
- Pick up your child if they're with a sitter.
- Set out the food and drinks.
- Turn on some music.
- Set out candles and matches for the cake (away from where young children can reach them) to avoid scrambling to find them when everyone’s ready to sing “Happy Birthday.”
- Place your phone or other device you'll be taking pictures and videos with in an easily accessible spot.
- Take some photos of the party scene and cake in case things get too busy once the guests arrive.
After the Party
- If at a venue make sure to take your personal items and either store them or transfer them to your vehicle/vehicles.
- Return any rented equipment.
- Settle any bills with entertainers or venues.
- Write and send thank you cards within two weeks of the party. Consider including a photo of the child enjoying each guest’s gift.