Don’t panic! Here’s how to throw the perfect party for your little one without the hassle
As a parent, your child’s birthday is a chance to gather friends and family for a fun party.
But with special requests and requirements coming from all angles – the little one wants a big cake and some who have been invited have special diets – organising a party can be stressful and cause some parents to feel overwhelmed by the nitty gritty details that come with the preparations.
“A lot of parents unfortunately do too much to please others and forget that the party is about their child and to make them and their friends happy,” says Sophie Gamble, owner of Special Occasions Party Planning and Events.
To avoid the hassle and make sure you throw a memorable bash, here are some of Sophie’s top tips.
Failing to plan early and thoroughly is a common mistake shared by most parents.
“They think that a date and inviting people is the planning and forget how many things are actually involved for the big day,” observes Sophie.
The planning period may vary depending on the size and requirements of the party.
For a simple home gathering, four to two months of preparation may be enough, whereas a bigger party may require more time, especially if you need to secure your spot at a venue, organise catering and arrange entertainment.
“It’s best to set the date early, especially in the UAE as we get so busy with appointments and events,” Sophie explains. “So if you want to make sure all your invitees can make it to the party, then invite them early.”
Cover all the bases
Parties can become expensive so set a budget so you don’t end up spending more than you can afford. Allot a bit of wiggle room as unexpected expenses are likely to crop up.
When thinking of a theme, parents can let their children choose – if they’re old enough to do so. Having their say will make them feel involved and the party will reflect more of their personality and interests.
“Again it’s all about what the child likes – what do they like to watch, play, and listen to?
“If the child is too young to say what they like, parents should know what they like to do. For example, if your one-year-old loves playing with cars, then that’s a party theme right there.”
The party can be hosted at home or in public venues such as restaurants, hotel function rooms and children’s recreational centres. Some venues worth checking out include Adventure HQ, Orange Wheels, Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Yas Waterworld and Bounce.
Public parks such as Umm Al Emarat Park and Khalifa Park are great during the cooler months, and are more affordable, but online booking is required.
And don’t forget about the food! We all know the usual favourites like pizza, French fries, ice cream and cakes, but catering companies and specialised restaurants may be able to offer more unique and healthier options.
Always remember to check with the venue about any restrictions on bringing in food from outside.
Keep your options open
Some parents opt to hire a party planner to help them with the preparation, while others may prefer to do everything themselves in order to save money.
“Doing it yourself will of course cost a little less as all you need to purchase are the items you want directly from the stores,” Sophie says.
“But there are also disadvantages like going to multiple places to get everything you need – decorations from one place, cake, entertainment and party favours from different suppliers – then put it all together yourself on the day.”
She continues: “There are quite a few party supply stores available nowadays. If you know what you need, and have time, then you can head off to the store and purchase supplies.
“Alternatively, you can contact a party planning company that can bring everything you need to the party and set up as required, as they are the experts.”
Sophie, however, reminds parents not to pressure themselves to the point of losing sight of what the occasion is really all about.
“Even a simple celebration can be special. You can just have balloons, a happy birthday banner, party hats and candles for the cake and everyone will have fun – that’s what it’s all about.”
Need to know
- Special Occasions Party Planning 050 343 5203, specialoccasions.ae
- Adventure HQ 02 565 0996, adventurehq.ae/party-packages
- Orange Wheels 02 667 4411, orangewheels.com
- Al Forsan International Sports Resort 02 556 8555, alforsan.com
- Yas Waterworld yaswaterworld.com
- Bounce 04 321 1400, bounce.ae
- Umm Al Emarat Park 02 666 9559, ummalemaratpark.ae
- Party Centre Al Wahda and Al Raha Malls mypartycentre.com
- Party Souq partysouq.com
- Party Camel partycamel.com
- Habibi.ae habibi.ae/party-supplies
- Mister Balloon misterballoonuae.com