Kids Birthday Party

Planning a child’s birthday party might not seem like a big deal, but you should think of it as a project. And all projects need a plan!

We’ve learned from venues that it’s best to start planning two to four months in advance of the party if you need to lock down a specific date or location. Popular venues are often booked months in advance, and your child may have friends with birthdays around the same date. Getting your invites out first makes a difference.

Our January 2018 survey of 300 parents across the United States showed that the average birthday party for a child between 1-12 years old has 15 guests. Cost varies by region, but a party typically costs somewhere between $250-$500. If you’re holding the party away from home, more of that money will go toward a venue. If you’re holding it at home, more of it will be spent on decorations.

Here are some things to think about as you plan:

2-4 months in advance

  • Talk to your child about the themes and activities that interest them this year
  • Research venues, and reserve well in advance
  • If you’re in the San Jose, California, area, check out our directory. (More cities are coming in 2018.)
  • If your location will be outdoors, have a backup plan in case of bad weather
  • Send out “hold the date” notes if needed

1-2 months in advance

  • Lock down your theme. Pinterest and Instagram are great sources for ideas.
  • Send invitations, along with venue waivers if required.
  • Be sure to ask about any dietary restrictions or special needs your guests may have.
  • Book an entertainer, if desired
  • Book a photographer, if desired

2-4 weeks in advance

  • Buy decorations, party favors, and any non-perishable food items
  • Buy paper plates, utensils, cups, candles, etc.
  • Plan games and activities, and purchase prizes if needed
  • Plan your menu, and place any necessary orders for food
  • Order a cake, or decide what you’ll be making at home

1 week in advance

  • Make sure you’ve collected any required waivers for your venue
  • Contact invited guests who did not RSVP
  • Prepare a playlist for background music

3 days in advance

  • Reconfirm with the venue, and make sure you know what time you should arrive
  • Reconfirm with the entertainers — very important, because no-shows are a little too common

1 day in advance

  • Make sure you’ve collected any required waivers for your venue
  • Bake and decorate the cake, if made it at home
  • Buy mylar balloons (they last 3-5 days, and tend to shrink when cold)

Day of the party

  • Pick up and prepare the cake
  • Pick and prepare food
  • Set up the space
  • Take lots of photos
  • Have fun!

After the party

  • Post photos to social media sites
  • Send thank you cards
  • Leave a good review for your venue, if merited (they really appreciate it)