2. Thank you notes. Ideally buy them at the same time as the invitations if you want them to match, you will always need them and it will save a job after the party.
3. Cake. Buy, make or put in an order. Don’t forget the candles. If you are making your own and aren’t a very confident baker then try these birthday cake kits from Craft and Crumb which have everything weighed out and all the decorations organised (photo credit for the gorgeous Princess castle cake pictured).
1. Balloons. 2 or 3 colours to coordinate with your theme looks best, think about how you will attach them to walls and whether you will need twine or whether it is worth filling them with helium.
If you use a helium canister you will need weights and twine – check the balloons are labelled ‘helium safe’ when you buy them and buy at least 12” size balloons as smaller ones have a tendency to ‘pop’ when filled with helium. Helium canisters available from larger supermarkets and Argos.
2. Pom Poms. These are a great way to dress up a party, do note that most online ship from China and the wait might be some time so order well in advance. They do take some time to ‘fluff’ so allow a whole evening in front of the TV to prepare them, you don’t want to be doing this the morning of the party or as the guests arrive.
3. Bunting. All Humble Hostess kits come with personalised bunting and various other personalised handmade decorations so you’re ready to go with all your decorations organised.
1. Table Cloths. Buy more than you think you might need as it’s hard to tell the size of tables in a venue that you aren’t familiar with. You may also need one for a present table or for a table of drinks for parents. You can always use one on the floor for a colouring areas for younger children.
2. Kids’ cups. You might want to price up the convenience of using paper cups (and the likelihood of lots of spills) against using ready-made cartons of drink or mini sports cap water bottles (Sainsburys sells packs of 6x 300ml kids sports cap still water for £1 and the Humble Hostess Ultimate party pack contains themed water bottle wraps which fit them perfectly). Does the venue easily lend itself to making up squash and do you want to bother taking jugs etc.
3. Adults’ cups. Price up the cost and convenience of cups and ready-made bottles or cans.
4. Straws - do note that most online ship from China and the wait might be 3-6 weeks so order well in advance.
5. Plates. Paper plates typically come in 23cm or 18cm versions. You will most likely need the larger size for the party food and the smaller size for cake (alternatively order extra napkins for cake).
6. Napkins. Allow 2 per person. Include any adults present and allow extra if you will serve cake on napkins rather than plates or will wrap cake in napkins for party bags.
7. Serving plates – large platters for sandwiches, sausages, crisps etc. Flat plates are better for children than using bowls as they might not be sitting high enough to see into bowls.
8. Jugs for drinks.
9. Bowls. Some food might need bowls, e.g. popcorn. Small ‘treat tubs’ might be useful for this.
10. Party hats.
11. Cutlery. Even if you have finger food you might need tea spoons (e.g. for spooning dips onto plates) or knives for cutting up food for smaller children. Don’t forget a knife to cut the cake.
1. Prizes (small ones for winners of various games, larger one for pass the parcel, mini ones to layer in pass the parcel).
2. Any equipment needed (crayons, sticky tape etc.).
3. Face paints.
4. Temporary tattoos.
I suggest keeping it as simple as possible especially if you have to transport the food. You might want to use paper food boxes and make up a box for each child in advance for ease of transportation. This is a great tip if you have any children at the party with food allergies as you can easily tailor the contents as needed. They can also double as decorations as shown in the photo.
- Sandwiches (bread, butter, fillings) You could buy a sandwich cutter to match your theme.
- Carrot sticks
- Houmous/ dips
- Mini sausages/ sausage rolls
- Cut fruit
- Drinks (squash/ juice cartons/ bottled water)
- Drinks for adults
- Nibbles or biscuits for adults
See my previous blog post for alternative ideas for party favours if you aren’t keen on traditional party bag filler items.
1. Bags. Add a few extras in case you end up with a few who didn’t rsvp or who bring siblings (it always happens!)
2. Labels. Add a personalised tag to the bag to thank your guest for coming.
3. Items to fill the bag
- Kitchen roll
- Cake knife
- Wet wipes
- Bin bags
- First aid kit
- Blu tac/ tape
- Any extra napkins/ plates/ spare prizes etc.
- Cold drink ready in the fridge for you afterwards.