A Definitive Directory for all your party needs, The Source is the UK’s first ever curated events directory. I’ve teamed up with co-owners and creators of The Source- The Definitive Directory, Talya Zysblat and Aron Schlagman, to talk children’s parties in particular.
Parents to four children each, Talya and Aron have first hand experience of the dilemmas and dramas little birthdays can bring. Speaking as a mother myself, making that choice between small or significant can often be the first decision of many.
Talya says: “A party for a one year old is lovely- but not one that the kids themselves will have fond memories of, outside of the photos they may see many years later. Afternoon tea for the family might well be more appropriate”. Aron however, explains, “I work with clients who see the first birthday party as a right of passage, and in some cases the amount spent on these occasions easily falls in to ‘wedding spends’. I worked with a client recently who took over a hotel ballroom for an event that included bouncy castles, magicians, bubbleologists and personalised going home bags that had been made and flown in from overseas”.
Here a few top tips to mark your mini’s big day in true The Source style…
It sounds a little dry, but it’s the most important consideration for any event. There is no need to spend in the hundreds first time around on decor, design and musical entertainment – and no need either for a two hour full on party extravaganza. Talya says “kids love the wonder of colour and are just discovering their senses. Balloons, bunting and bubbles are always great additions, no matter the age”.
Inviting the world
There are some very popular little children out there, but not everyone from the music and movement class need be invited. Thankfully seating plans wont be an issue – but with it being unlikely that you have 20 highchairs lying around, managing numbers can be a challenge. Aron says, “Parties at this age are as much about the adults as they are the kids. Keep the party short and sweet, keep the numbers manageable and don’t get pulled in to feeling that you HAVE to have everyone there”.
- A quick trip to a local party store or a search through Ebay will highlight plenty of Thomas/ Peppa / Chuggington / General party wear. Be aware that themed parties and buying everything Disney will push up the spend.
- Children’s birthdays are a real chance to bring out your DIY skills. Some of the best parties we put together involved a role of white paper, some coloured pencils and a CD of nursery rhymes.
- Social media, which is so prevalent in our lives, can really help to create memories for very little cost with a special Instagram or Facebook page to celebrate the event. It’s a lovely memory from which parents can then download specific shots they may want as a memory of the day.
- Summer parties hopefully mean a sunny afternoon in the garden – but even then and certainly in the winter, just have a think about where all the buggies are going to go and muddy shoes in the house. There will be plenty of years ahead for “Jack the entertainer” and there is no better entertainer for a young child than their own parent!
The early years do throw up the odd dietary need and as this isn’t a full on catered affair, there is no shame in asking parents to bring along their own baby’s favourite food (depending of course on the time the party is). Endless options can mean over catering – but show me a child that didn’t love a smiley face cut sandwich and a carton of juice (water available of course!). Aron says: “the last party I organised for a client, we had 250 guests and consideration had to be given to what the adults and older kids would eat. Keeping with the child friendly style, we went with pizza, fish and chips and an ice cream parlour style dessert station. For larger parties and where there is a lot going on, parents tend to spend time running about after their kids – and so food has to be simple to pick up and eat with minimal sauce and mess”.
No matter the age, the cake is always a key feature for a party. “I recently created a cake for an older child’s party in the shape of his favourite guitar. The family loved it so much that they didn’t want to eat it and so have had it framed and kept as an art piece on his wall”. Talya, a cake lover says, “ I have always made sure my kids have a beautiful cake – numbers, animals, letters – nothing overly complicated – and usually they aren’t the ones who have eaten it – but a party wouldn’t be a party without the showstopper cake!”
Thank yous and goodie bags
Depending on the style of party, a nice little something for the mums and dads that have taken the time to make the journey to the party is a really nice touch. Talya says, “Recently I created a going home bag just for parents, something for them that they could enjoy after putting the little one to bed. I love the idea of taking the time to remember the effort that parents make when shuttling their kids from A to B and back again….something that only gets harder as the parties become more frequent as the kids get older.”