I’m the last of the big party planners, creatives or makers, so I don’t always “get” party books. Yes, I’m inspired by them, but sometimes they seem to make the planning and “work” even more intimidating than they are.
Party Time is a bit different – it has 12 themes (fboys, girls and unisex), and there are some doable and practical ideas, whether you do just some of each theme, or all of it. There’s a CD with printable templates and decor elements, plus recipes.
I asked author and party planner Lizelle de Kock for some more tips and insights into planning. It’s worth having a look at her divine party site and online store Organizit
How long have you been doing parties?
Since my first born, 9 years, but have been running the party business for 3 years.
Why did you put together your book?
My aim is to help mothers who would like to create parties themselves. I receive so many mails from mothers who would like to know where I get my ideas and the items I use in each party. Party time is a great source of inspiration for any mother and I reveal exactly how I did everything in each party. The parties in the book are all parties that I have actually executed.
What is the best advice you can give parents for planning great parties, with minimal stress?
Work from my party planning timeline (attached) which shows you exactly what you need to do when. This way you do not have to worry about what you still need to do and then later forget what you didn’t do! I have listed everything needed for a great party.
What are your tips for keeping parties simple?
Remember WHY you are having the party. Most kids don’t need a lot of fancy things to feel special. They just need attention especially on their birthday. Keep to the basics e.g. good food/snacks, lots of entertainment and there has to be a cake! If there is a cake, lots of yummy eats and things to keep the kids busy (craft ideas or even just a jumping castle), they are going to have a ball.
How does one create a great party on a budget?
1. The less guests you invite, the more you will be able to do for them. The more you invite, the more you have to spend on preparing for each and every child. The rule of thumb is to invite double the child’s age e.g. if your child is 5, invite 10 friends.
2. Start planning at least 6 months in advance. This way you can purchase items every month instead of all at once.
3. Look around in your house to see what you can use as decor elements. Most of the time you already have a lot you can use which you might not have noticed earlier.
4. Once you have set your theme, start saving empty bottles, etc. that you can use to display the treats in.
5. Purchase printables (templates in the theme) that you can use for the party table on line that you can print yourself. Most on ine stores allow you to personalise the printables (visit www.organizit.co.za).
Do parents “have” to have party packs for the kids, and at what stage does this end?
I am a big fan of party packs. Most of the time the kids are so distracted with everything going on at the party and playing with their friends that they don’t eat half of what there is to eat or they eat cake, etc, but do not have enough space for more (in their tummies that is). I find that most kids enjoy a party pack to take home. When they are between 1 and 6, sweets are fine. When they are older I would suggest a party favour to remember the party by e.g. personalised hand cream for a pamper party
What healthier party snacks can you recommend?
I would suggest to tie it in with the theme of the party, but here are just a few:
- Triangular sandwiches
- Mini scones with biltong shavings
- Grapes on a skewer
- Chocolate dipped strawberries
- Yogurt pretzels
Are there any party trends at the moment?
Yes. Dessert buffets/party tables.
You focus on setting up one table on which you display the party eats and treats. The kids can then help themselves and fill empty bags/boxes with leftovers to take home. This saves so much money as you do not have to prepare for example 20 individual settings. You create one statement table according to the theme which has a huge impact and serves as the “station” for all the eats.
Also, character themes like Minnie Mouse, etc. are out. Instead, focus on creative themes created by yourself e.g. Milk & Cookies, Polkadots & Bows, anything that you know your child loves.
Party Time is published by Random House Struik and is available from around R130. For more info on stockists, click here.