If your child has a birthday coming soon and you’re stressing out about party planning, I’m here to help with these 10 ideas for planning a last minute birthday party.
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Confession: I have been thinking about my son’s 8th birthday party for weeks, and with only 14 days left, I’ve done NOTHING (other than the aforementioned thinking). I love planning birthday parties for my kids, but waiting until the last minute to start planning sucks the fun right out of it. As I thought about my last minute party planning, I figured I might not be alone, so here’s my list of last minute tips for all you other moms with great intentions and very little time!
- Start With Your Budget in Mind. Before you start planning, decide how much you can reasonably spend. Waiting until the last minute often means you’re forced to spend more. Just be clear on what you can actually afford!
- Choose a Theme. I like to keep things coordinated, so this is my first step. It sets the stage for everything else and serves as a guide. The trouble with waiting until the last minute to plan your party means you might have to simplify your theme. It also helps to ask your kids what they want. I’m working on the Secret Agent/Super Spy party my son wants right now.
- Choose a Location. Decide if you’ll party at home or at a local party facility. Just know that booking a facility at the last minute might mean limited availability and higher prices, while partying at home means more cleaning!
- Send an Evite. The quickest way to give your guests a head-up is with an online invite. You can design your own using PicMonkey or use an online invite site like Paperless Post, which lets you track RSVPs, etc. If you prefer to create a paper invitation, send a save-the-date email first to let your guests know to plan for it, then choose a custom invite from Minted or pick up a simple and fun fill-in-the-blank invitation from Target.
- Make a list. Don’t just throw yourself into a frenzy. Take a few minutes to list what you need to do and buy. Having a plan will save you a great deal of the precious time you have available.
- Check Pinterest. Look for quick and easy ideas on your theme. Add to your to-do/to-buy list as needed. Don’t get carried away here–Pinterest can be a total time-waster! Start with my “Let’s Party” Pinterest board for some fun ideas.
- Check Deal Sites. Just because you can’t save time doesn’t mean you can’t save money. Start by installing the RetailMeNot app on your phone and the RetailMeNot Genie extension to your Chrome web browswer. The app will show you deals when you’re out and about and Genie will show you deals as you shop online. You should also check Groupon and any other local deal sites you follow, looking for savings on supplies, gifts and even the party place if you chose to rent a facility.
- Simplify. While waiting until the last minute doesn’t mean your party has to be boring, it does mean you might have to eliminate some things. You’ll reduce your stress by prioritizing and simplifying as needed. For me, that means ordering food instead of trying to prepare it.
- Shop online to save time. I have an Amazon Prime membership so I get free two-day shipping or one day shipping for $3.99. It’s perfect for times like this when I wait until the last minute. I can get everything I need in one sitting from the site and cross that right off my list. If you don’t shop Amazon.com, find another site with quick, reasonable (or free) shipping.
- Shop a super store. If you don’t shop online, shop a super store instead. Don’t go from store to store looking for everything. Instead, shop one place where you can get food, gifts and favors all at once.
And, that’s how I’m pulling it off! Remember to check out how our Secret Agent/Super Spy party went. But, before you go, I’m curious about your last minute birthday party planning ideas. What do you do to make it happen without a hitch?
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Anitra is the founder of The Mama Zone and she’s been sharing useful tips for mom here since 2009.