Playing it Safe

All parents want the best for their kids, so planning a birthday party creates that added pressure to ensure the food is good. Catering for a kid’s party can become stressful as you need to consider your little guests and their dietary requirements.  Many parents would normally opt for fast foods which offer kid friendly options such as the Happy Meal by McDonalds or the kid’s meals that KFC and other fast food restaurants offer. We’d encourage you to be a bit bold and experiment with other options when you think of the food. We’ve put together five ideas to remember when catering for the little ones.

Food Options

Look: There is nothing wrong with ordering fast food for a kid’s party. It’s quick, easy and convenient. However, the food is an important aspect of any party and we’d suggest you get creative and mix it up by looking for different, even healthier options. For example, you could try fresh mini fruit tartlets or fruit kebabs from Marks & Spencer, a Tesco luncheon platter and some red velvet cupcakes from Fair Pan Bakery. Add some fresh homemade smoothies, kid friendly drinks and you’re ready to go!  The options are limitless – you can go wild with inspiration. We can assure you that if done right, you’ll have a smashing party!

Finger Food

Kids can really be fussy eaters! But, there are creative ways to ensure kids eat tasty and healthy food, full of flavour and nutrients. Serving finger food provides a lot of benefits in this regard and is the preferred serving option. The potions are more manageable for the little ones, they don’t need to sit down while eating and ordering finger food can be more cost effective too. You can try some yummy foods like spinach calzones, cauliflower nuggets, fruit kebabs or even mini meatballs. That way the food is tasty and it’s a great way to sneak in fruits and veggies. There are many caterers that create stunning, kid friendly platters, such as the caterers listed on Planary!

Portion Control

This may be a topic that is not spoken about often enough, but portion control is crucial to maintaining healthy growth and development. You may ask: What is portion control? “Portion control is understanding how much a serving size of food is and how much calories or how much food energy a serving contains.” It’s imperative that kids eat according to the size and internal hunger to aid proper development. Here’s some guidelines for appropriate portion sizes for kids.

Visual Appeal

Fact: Food that looks good, tastes good. A study which was led by Professor Charles Spence proved that the visual presentation of food effectively makes the food taste better too. So, it’s very important to cater to your audience in this respect. Food that they find appealing will most likely be enjoyed more.  If you’ve got the skills to create visually appealing food, then go ahead. However, if you’re not talented in that department then we’d suggest you hire a professional caterer. Professional caterers can customise your platters to suit your party requirements without all the added pressure of doing it yourself.

What About the Parents?

Kid’s parties are also a great opportunity to have a get together for the parents so we’d suggest you prepare something nice for the adults too. For example, you could serve a meat platter or have a barbecue for the parents. Many forget that some parents accompany their kids to parties and that the kiddie’s menu may not sustain hungry mums and dads. Mix up the menu to cater to everyone that will be there.

Plan for All

A kid’s party doesn’t have to be a sugar-filled, dull, and carb fest celebration. It can be a fun-filled, elegant and stress-free gathering. Make sure to get the head-count of all attending beforehand, in order to plan the event ahead of time. Remember to keep the food fun, playful and interesting as well as appropriate for the target audience – the kids. With these tips, we’re confident that you’ll be able to find a good caterer for you little one’s next birthday party.



Birthday Party Cake Trends 2017

Here’s the deal: Birthday cakes are possibly ranked as the most important aspect of any party. A lot of attention is paid to the cake as it is one of the most photographed elements of the party. It’s that one thing that your guests will most likely remember. The fantastic thing about the cake is that it can be decorated in so many ways – it’s truly an art form! You can keep your cake simple and elegant, or over the top and imaginative.  Getting started can be overwhelming, that’s why we’ve put together a couple of kid’s party cake trends for 2017, with the hope that you’ll find inspiration to bake your own cake or even find a great bakery that can create you a masterpiece. Let’s get started:

The Tiered Cake Trend

This tiered cake trend is gaining popularity in all types of parties. Made popular with wedding cakes, seeing stacked cakes at birthday parties is now a common trend. Tiered cakes can be difficult to make as there’s a lot of technique involved in making sure it does not topple over – one of the key factors to consider is to ensure that each tier is stabilised by using cake boards and dowels. If you’re not the DIY type, then using a professional service like Tier By Tier will get you a custom crafted cake of your dreams! We’ve included below some helpful tips when stacking your cake (if you decide to do in at home).


The Over the Top or “OTT” Trend

This is crazy: Indulging in all things sweet comes to mind when looking this trend. Throw the thought of “less is more” out the window and go with the “more is more” approach. In this case, you can just stack any type of sweets or treats to your cake such as doughnuts, chocolate bars, sweets, cookies, and macarons. Basically, any sweet dessert you can think of. Try creating this masterpiece by looking at cool patterns and designs before you start to stack. If you’re not that brave and would prefer some professional help, you can contact The Family Cake Company which bakes awesome cakes whereby you can customise your own over the top party cake!

The Birthday Cake Buffet Trend

This trend is a great way to go all out for your kid’s next birthday party – making sure that the cake is the centre of attention and the layout is a true work of art when filling up the table. Get your birthday cake buffet on point by including macarons, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, marshmallows and other sweets & treats. Over-achievers will go for a Pinterest worthy look so the challenge is on, do your best! If you’re not that over-ambitious, Sweetie Factory can assist you with all the sweets & treats you need.


The Dripping or Drizzle Trend

The dripping trend, also known as the drizzle trend, has really burst onto the scene over the past couple of years. Essentially, this trend is all about cakes covered with buttercream or frosting, dripping with delicious ingredients such as chocolate, caramel or creamy coloured ganache over the top and down the sides to give it that drippy look. It also enhances the texture and taste of the cake which is hard to resist. Let’s face it, this trend is here to stay. We’ve included a fantastic recipe on how to make a “DIY Drippy Chocolate Cake.”


The Novelty Trend

This trend has been around for a while and remains very popular among the little ones and parents alike.  Novelty cakes are designed to represent and celebrate a special occasion. There are your classic designs such as a gingerbread house or a Superhero character for boys, to Barbie and fairy-themed cakes for girls.  Today, parents and bakers are taking it one step further with elaborate and creative designs. We’d encourage you to really come up with fun ideas when creating novelty cakes for your kids. Marks & Spencer have a great range of novelty birthday cakes for all occasions. Here are some ideas for novelty cakes – we’ve also included a couple of recipes from Lakeland.


Many Cake Choices

To wrap it up, there are many types of birthday cakes to choose from. From the classic novelty to the OTT and extravagant. Be bold and try out a combination of these ideas for added inspiration. Just remember that your cake should be the centrepiece of the catering, the star of the show.

Planary is listed full of great cake options, all available in the comfort of your own home. It’s the simple way to search for local vendors and book your order via the online marketplace. For more information, check out our website here.


Party Entertainment

Here’s the deal: you’ve arranged the cake, the decorations and catering for your child’s upcoming birthday party. At the last minute, you remember that you forgot to arrange the entertainment. You think…  “Okay, my Nan is quite funny. She could entertain our little guests for the afternoon.” Your next thought… “Her stories or old wives’ tales might not be age appropriate or entertaining at all. Would Uncle Olly perhaps be willing to dress up as a clown? How would he be entertaining? What activities would he be able to do with the little ones?”

You start to freak out as the entertainment for the party is not finalized and D-day is fast approaching. Don’t fret, we’ve put together some classic children’s party entertainment ideas for you to find some inspiration. Here goes:

Puppet Shows

Puppet Shows are a fun and interactive way to entertain your guests with a range of varied short stories that often encourages participation from the audience. It also stimulates the imagination. Want to know the best part? There are quite a few options available as entertainers often can travel to accommodate you. Being seasoned professionals, entertainers such as Mr Brown’s Pig, Kid Glove Puppets and Punch & Judy have all the tools and skills to enchant your audience and keep them entertained for periods on end.


Magic Tricks

Having a magician perform magic tricks is a popular entertainment idea. Some famous artists such as David Copperfield and David Blaine have built successful careers in the Art of Magic and Illusion. From the disappearing acts, to the simple card tricks, there is a range of acts that will delight your guests. What to know the best bit? There’s plenty of entertainers that perform kid-friendly magic tricks. We’ve listed a few below:


Clowns and Face Painting

Face painting is another fun activity that kids enjoy. Many entertainers such as clowns are multi-skilled and offer a range of entertainment packages for parties. Minnie The Clown Parties, based in London, offer such packages. One thing to remember when renting a service which includes a clown – confirm if any of the little ones have any clown phobias so that they are not traumatized by the entertainment.

Should you decide to have a face painting session, it would be best to enquire with your entertainer whether the face painting kits are included in the service. As an alternative, you’re also able to purchase the kits yourself.


Treasure Hunts

Treasure hunts are a great way to enable exploration and discovery. It will also get all your little guests active while trying to find their treasure. With different areas to explore and locations across the UK, booking with a vendor such as Treasure Trails is a fantastic option that will get the kids active and involved. They also have the added convenience of being able to host kids treasure parties too. What’s great is that you can choose between exciting themes like murder mystery, treasure hunts and a spy trail which will bring out your inner Sherlock Holmes.


Arts and Crafts

Another great activity to keep the little ones entertained is Arts and Crafts. This will keep them busy for hours. It also has developmental benefits such as working on Bilateral and Fine Motor Coordination for better childhood development. Many entertainers can assist with facilitating this activity for you or alternatively, you could also purchase kits from places such as Hobby Craft, Homecrafts and Art & Craft Factory. With tons of supplies, stationary and materials to choose from, you can go wild with your imagination.


Balloon Modelling

Balloon Modelling is a fun and artistic way to entertain your guests. With cools designs such as dogs and cats, to the more challenging such as butterflies, hats and rabbits, there will be smiles and happiness throughout the performance. Fun At Kids Party offers balloon modelling and a range of other party entertainment for kids from ages three to 13. With locations in London, Kent, Essex and Suffolk, to name a few, they’ll go the extra mile to ensure that the party is filled with fun and exciting activities.


Entertainment Options

There are many entertainment activities available that will help keep your little guests active, engaged and stimulated. We encourage you to be bold and try out one or even a combination of ideas at your child’s next birthday party.

Planary is listed full of great entertainment options, all available in the comfort of your own home. It’s the simple way to search for local entertainers, confirm their availability and place your booking via the online marketplace. For more information, check out our website here.



Looking back at our childhood, many of us will have happy memories of our birthday parties. A child’s birthday celebration is a major milestone in life! It’s a time to bring friends and family together and mark another year passing by.

Because these events are so special, it’s important to make them memorable. One of the biggest factors that make or break a child’s party, is the venue. The party venue is probably the most important part of the event – where you create these life time memories will be remembered forever.

We’ve put together some of our favourite venue types for children’s parties and why these locations are such a hit among the little ones!

Party with Animals at the Zoo

There’s so much to do at the Zoo. The Chester Zoo has a venue hire option which is fantastic. What a great opportunity to provide your guests an unforgettable birthday experience! There’s so much fun, entertaining and educational activates to do at the Zoo. Want to know the best part? All the kids will be engaged in fun and educational activities.

Underwater Party

If terrestrial animals are not your thing, how about aquatic animals? The Sea Life Aquarium in Manchester is your answer. Book your venue at the aquarium – the kids will be entertained with a host of activities such as Jurassic Ranger, a Sea trek, Turtle and even Shark Feeding Experiences. There is so much to do at the aquarium!


Classic Venue

Getting back to a classic children’s party venue, PlayKidds is a great party service based in Swinton, Manchester.  It provides all the essentials when planning your kids dream birthday party. It has just about everything you could want such as a three-tier play structure, electric go karts and even Zorbs. This piece of heaven is dedicated to offering a fun and vibrant experience in a safe environment.

Cartoon Inspiration

You may be wondering: This is not a ground-breaking idea, true, but cartoon themed parties remain a favourite among parents and kids alike. There are tons of cartoon characters to choose from like the many characters from Disney and DreamWorks. We’ve gone with a favourite from DreamWorks – Shrek. Unfortunately, Shrek’s Adventure! London is not based in Manchester, however it is definitely worth the mention. This fun and authentic kid’s programme is managed by Merlin Events London and is conveniently located in the heart of London, better yet, you an all your guests will be transported to a magical kingdom far far away! It gets better: you’re also minutes away from Big Ben and the Westminster and Waterloo stations!


Fancy a Spot of Footy?

How about a kids party at Goals, Manchester? With various clubs to choose from and fantastic entertainment for the kids, your guests will be entertained for hours. Choose between a Championship Party and the deluxe Premiership Party, there are options to suit your budget.


Roof Terrance at King Street Townhouse

Anyone up for rooftop party? King Street Townhouse is a chic and stylish haven set in the Northern Quarter of Manchester where guests can relax or have a great time in a warm and cosy atmosphere [perhaps the parents will enjoy this more than the kids]. With various options and rooms available for hire, our choice would be the flexible South Terrace on the sixth floor. It offers a relaxing space by day or stunning urban backdrop by night with Italian renaissance style architecture dating back to the late 1800’s. We guarantee you that the South Terrace has stunning panoramic views of Manchester. When booking, just remember to take the weather into consideration as the UK weather patterns are notoriously unpredictable.


We’re saving the best for last: Oddfellows On The Park has everything you need to host a memorable birthday party.  Located in the fabulous Bruntwood Park, this spacious facility which can cater to weddings, business, family and leisure events, is a great choice for those who’d like to enjoy the countryside in style.


In Closing

Kids parties, and their expectations, are constantly evolving. What was acceptable in the past, may not necessarily ring true for today, as your imagination is now the only barrier between creating an unimaginative or memorable party. We encourage you to think out of the box when planning your children’s next birthday party, think smart, and plan accordingly.

For constant birthday party inspiration and ideas, subscribe to the Planary blog as we’ll keep it up to date with the relevant and memorable ideas and suggestions.  It’s the UK’s first end-to-end party and event marketplace!

The Planary marketplace is listed full of fantastic venues, from the classic to the quirky and unique party venues. It’s a simple way to search for local venues, confirm availability and place your booking via the online marketplace tool. For more information, check out our website here.


The right venue can really make or break a party. Imagine trying to cram 30 children into your living room, hyped up with birthday excitement, fizzy pop and cake. Luckily for all of us, there’s a recent rise in quirky new ideas for venues to hold children’s parties – from science shenanigans to princess parties, if you can think of it, chances are you can find someone providing it.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the perfect venue for your party. Today we’re going to share with you some of the main considerations to booking a suitable space for your event and also a few of the quirkiest, unusual venues we discovered in London.


The first factor to consider when booking a venue is availability. And we don’t just mean booking the venue. While an escape room may seem like the perfect venue for a fun frolic, if you have to ferry a minibus full of children down the motorway to get there and back, it may not be quite so ideal. So, it’s key to find somewhere local and fitting to your child’s chosen theme.

Booking the venue is also a major consideration. Imagine finding the exact dinosaur adventure your stegosaurus-loving son has been searching for or the perfect pirate ship party for your daughter, only to find it’s completely booked up on the dates you need. We recommend booking your event space three months prior to the event. So once you have settled on your preferred date and theme, it’s time to get searching!

The Planary marketplace is full to the brim of approved venues, from the unusual to the classic party venues. It’s the easy way to search local venues and their availability all in one place and by booking via the marketplace you have a clear record of all communications between you and the venue at your fingertips.

Seasonal Considerations

Children have broad and active imaginations, so while you may shiver at the idea of a beach party in November it may be their birthday wish. Of course, it’s impossible to magic up sunny weather in November or snow in August – we Brits can barely predict the weather, let alone control it!

However, there are things you can do. If your August-born child fancies a snow extravaganza for their birthday bash then consider indoor snow venues that provide skiing or snowboarding. Or perhaps an icy-themed garden party with snowflake-shaped cookies, Wintery games and magical entertainment. All it takes is a little bit of imagination and planning.

While the UK weather is slightly too unpredictable to allow for outdoor pools for most of us, you can easily rent out your local swimming baths, most will have fun inflatables or games equipment to allow for wonderful waterside times. For younger children, you could always set up a paddling pool in your garden and have tropical-themed supplies, colourful mocktails and parrot piñata will be the perfect accompaniment.

If you’re looking for a more active pool party then the London Aquatics Centre will set up an inflatable assault course for your children to try and tackle. Their Birthday Party package also includes a private room for your party after the pool session.

It’s a good idea to have a chat with your child to see what sort of theme appeals to them, to ensure you deliver the best birthday blowout you can. If you’re stuck for ideas, subscribe to the Planary Blog, for helpful tips and inspiration. Children love being involved with picking party themes, so sitting down to research for ideas is not only helpful but a fun activity to do together.

Hamleys in London hold special sleepover parties and let’s face it getting locked in a toyshop overnight is probably at the top of every kid’s wishlist. Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to explore the magical and wonderful world of toys, without any interruptions? This package from London’s premier toyshop offers exclusive, private use of the Hamleys store overnight as well as being bursting with extras such as an entertainer, VIP store tour, a late night feast, cake and a luxury goody bag for every child to take home.


It’s important to make sure your chosen venue is suitable for your choice of event. Your child may request a movie night at home with popcorn, star-spangled party games and a list of family-friendly flicks as long as your arm – but would you really want your child’s entire class staying overnight in your living room? Some events are more suited to having just a few close friends attending, while a big birthday blowout in a hired hall may look empty with just your kid’s closest chums.

We recommend making a guest list with your child when you discuss the theme so you don’t run the risk of hosting a class of hungry, excited children in your tiny apartment living room at the last minute! You should also check that your chosen venue can cater for your chosen guests, this way you avoid unexpected surprises on the day when your local pizza parlour can’t seat all 30 of your child’s classmates together.

Planary offer a free of charge guest list feature on their website where you can collect the names and contact details of your guests and allow them to RSVP quickly and with no paper. So it’s handy and better for the environment – and your postie!

If you already have a theme in mind, consider choosing venues with pre-built themes. Why not take wildlife-loving children and a few of their closest chums to the Rainforest Café? The jungle-themed venue will serve up cakes, treat and entertainment for your little one, all while you’re surrounded by the sounds of tropical showers, cascading waterfalls and periodic thunderstorms and of course the chance to spot prowling rainforest creatures.

Want a space-themed party to encourage your child and her friends to discover the wonder of space and science? Consider the Science Museum, another venue with a great pre-built theme. Targeted at 7-14 year olds, their Wonderlab birthday party experience allows children to witness awe-inspiring experiments, race on their giant friction slide, see clouds form in front of their eyes and so much more.

So consider the entertainment you would like when booking a venue. Make sure there is ample space for any games, craft activities or entertainers that you have booked as well as offering a seating area for when children get tired or overexcited.

Spun Candy is an example of a great venue with built-in entertaiment. Creative kids with a sweet tooth will love their candy workshop parties. They can get hands-on with the sweet stuff, designing, mixing and making their own confectionary creations under the watchful eye of an experienced craftsperson. A bespoke buffet can also be created for your event – although your children may be more interested in snacking on the goodies they make!

Pirates are another party staple and if you fancy some watery activities to boost your Pirate-themed bash, then how about choosing a venue that does just that. The Pirate Castle offers kayaking, canoeing or canal boating sessions alongside their hall hire.

It’s also important to check with your chosen venue about any decorations you might like to display, or any props your entertainers might use. If, for example, you book a magician who needs a bubble machine for their act then it’s important to check that the venue allows this or you maybe have a moody magician and disappointed children on the day of the party.

Accessibility & Safety

As every parent knows, children can be as slippery as ninjas sometimes – so it’s important to ensure that your venue is child-friendly. While a softplay zone or trampoline park may be used to catering to children, your local cinema or village hall may not be. So it’s important that you ensure you are choosing a safe place to hold your event.

For slightly older, active children, balancing safety and fun at a party is always a top consideration for us parents. Consider a venue provider like Bunker 51 in London, who is experienced in hosting exhilirating laser tag parties in their themed nuclear bunker arena. You can book 1 or 2 hours of laser tag adventures followed up by a hearty army-style meal in the Officers’ Mess. This military-themed party is sure to go with a bang, adding coordinated balloons, banners and table decoration and a cake to the mix, all topped off with a goody bag for children to take home.


You can ease any worries you have by using the Planary marketplace to book one of our listed venues. We have a collection of child-friendly, approved venue providers who understand how important health and safety is to protect our loved ones. Not only that, but you can communicate with the venue directly through the website to address any concerns you may have – backed by Planary’s quality assurance. 

While it’s easy to get swept up in all of the birthday excitement, it’s also important to make sure your venue covers some of the basics – is there enough parking and toilet facilities? Is the venue easy to find, or will I need to add some signposts and balloons?

What about a party venue that comes to you? Children’s party buses can be hired for your event, from buses filled with softplay areas, to ones that will drive to your house and host games and food onboard a classic red bus. An example that brings together the jungle theme and a mobile venue is The Jungle’s Party Bus.They will pull up right up to your destination of choice and offer children the chance to climb around in a completely framed, padded and netted soft play environment in their purpose-built buses. They are a safe and fun way to party and are ideal for children with special needs to join in the fun and celebrations.


While in an ideal world we would spare no expense on our beloved child’s party, sometimes reality doesn’t quite allow for that. Whether you want a low-cost luau or a flamboyant fiesta, it’s good to set a budget and stick to it. Make sure you have clear information about venue costs and deposits.

The Pottery Café is ideal for a low-budget bash with a fun twist. Children love getting messy, let them unleash their creative side at a Pottery Café birthday party. The café will create a bespoke event for you depending on the age of your guests, allowing them all to create and keep a memento of the day and have lots of fun while making it! The package also includes a finger buffet of sandwiches, crisps and juice keeping small tummies full so they are free to create carefree.

Some venues may charge extra fees for use of facilities and furniture, while others may have cleaning charges attached. It’s good to have a clear view on how much cash you’ll be handing over for the event so that it doesn’t spiral out of control and you end up blowing your budget on just the venue.

Closing Thoughts

Children’s parties are evolving rapidly. While a few years ago a few sausage rolls and pass the parcel would appease most children, times are changing and the only limit on your event is your imagination.

If you’re finding it hard to pin down a theme, then why not choose an unusual venue, and pick through their pre-built themes? The Floating Showroom is a quirky boat venue that can show up on various canals around London. Variety is the theme here, as they can host a range of nautical and nice events for your party. As expected from a boat venue there are pirate and mermaid-themed bashes, but they also add more unusual origami and sewing events. All events include themed snacks, cakes and cupcakes and a pot of tea or coffee. So whether you fancy a sewing workshop, pirate shanties and games or mermaid stories and undersea fancy dress, this could be the perfect venue for you.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our event round-up and tips on making sure you pick the perfect place for your party in London.

If you’re stuck for inspiration, subscribe to the Planary blog as we will be keeping it stuffed with suggestions and inspiration for birthday bonanzas. Or if you already have your theme then why not check out our marketplace? It’s a one-stop party shop packed full of cake-makers, venues, party supplies and entertainers. We can help take the stress out of searching!


It’s coming around to that special time of year again, your child’s birthday. Does the thought fill you with excitement or dread at the inevitable upcoming party planning? Well, worry not, we’re here to help you banish any festive fears and become an event expert as we share some tips on how to plan a birthday party.

One of the best things about planning a birthday party for your child is that the date never moves. You know the day your nearest and dearest were born on, and that will never change, so it gives you plenty of time to make the necessary preparations to make sure you avoid the dreaded unhappy birthday.

Planning is a key feature in making sure you’re a party pro and not a party pooper. Who knew that planning a birthday party could be so complicated? In fact, throwing the perfect children’s party is such a minefield there are even Wikihow articles on how to do it. As every flustered parent can tell you – children can sometimes be harder to please than royalty.

Birthday Party Timeline

A birthday planning timeline is one of the most important tools in birthday planning. When you look at the party as a whole it may seem overwhelming, but breaking the event down into small manageable chunks will help you stay organised and calm.

A well-planned timeline can also act as a kid’s party planning checklist, allowing you to take the time to make sure each step is fulfilled before moving onto the next one.

A timeline can also keep your birthday party on a budget, by ensuring you allow enough time to book the perfect vendors for your event. You don’t run the risk of having to make do and pay extortionate fees later down the line for last-minute additions.

Planary offer a free and easy to use, ready-made CHECKLIST that will allow you to customise based on your chosen event date. Conveniently track and manage your progress against key party planning milestones – for example when to book venues, entertainers, cakes, catering and party supplies –  to prevent last-minute stress.

Three months before the party

Discuss a theme with your child
One of the first steps you should take when planning a party for a child is to ask them what sort of theme they would like. Whether it’s a dinosaur dance, a princess party or some space shenanigans – your child knows best of all what they want, and asking them will help you to narrow down your choices and also avoid unnecessary tears and tantrums.

Subscribe to our newsletter for inspiration and the latest party ideas, to make your child’s day a day to remember (until the next year of course)!

Set a date
While your child’s actual birthday would be the ideal date to throw a party, sometimes this is just inconvenient or impossible. School days, seasonal holidays and weather can all play a part in making your decision. Weekends are the ideal time for a birthday party, but this means that they have a high demand – so if you’re planning on securing a weekend date it’s best to book well in advance to make sure you secure your space.

It’s also worth consulting with important guests, such as best friends and grandparents to make sure everyone can make your desired date. Sometimes it’s worth making a compromise on the date – you want to make sure your kid’s closest chum can make the event.

Book the event space and entertainment
When it comes to booking a venue and entertainment – the earlier the better. Popular acts and spaces can get booked up quickly, so if your child has their heart set on a bouncy birthday party at your local trampoline park or settling down to watch Elsa the Ice Queen add some snowy sparkle then it’s key that you secure your booking in good time. It can be time-consuming sourcing for venues and entertainers that are local to you but it’s a practical consideration for party guests who do not want to travel too far especially when they have small children. Here is where we come in!

Planary’s marketplace takes the hard work out of searching for quality VENUES and ENTERTAINERS, who are available on your chosen dates, LOCAL to you and backed by customer reviews.

Set a budget
When it comes to pleasing your child, we all know parents would do anything in their power. When you’re planning a party, adding on little extras here and there can quickly mount up meaning you blow your budget in no time flat. So whether you’re looking to throw a kids’ birthday party on a budget or go all out with a birthday extravaganza – a budget planner will be your best friend.

Write a guest list
It’s time to decide whether you will just be inviting your child’s closest friends and family or if you will be bringing the whole class along for the fun. This could depend on your child’s personality but also the type of event you want to hold. Just a few friends would be great for a cinema trip or a computer game competition but if you want to fill a venue and make the most of your entertainment then the more, the merrier!
Use Planary’s GUESTLIST tool to conveniently store guests’ contact details and track guest invitations, so you won’t risk uninviting your child’s best friends!

Two months before the party

Order or purchase the invitations

If you’re going for a bespoke invitation design, you should contact the artist of your choice immediately to ensure you have enough time to create the invitations. While having a personalised, individual invitation for your child’s party is an amazing addition, it can be time-consuming and expensive, so you may prefer to order or purchase your invitations. Or, if you’re a crafty sort you may want to ensure you have all the glitter, cardboard and PVA glue you need to make those one of a kind invites.

Shop for party supplies

Now is the time to begin your hunt for the perfect supplies to fit your theme. Are you looking for a tyrannosaurus rex piñata? Or perhaps fairy wings for all of your guests. The wilder and wackier your request, the more time you’ll want to give yourself to prepare. By allowing yourself two months you have the grace to order online anything you can’t pick up locally.

Whether you have a theme in mind or not, it’s a great idea to make a masterlist of what supplies you will need before you start shopping, consider games or craft activities, portable tables for food or presents, balloons, paper plates, decorations and party favours.

Visit Planary’s one-stop marketplace filled with vendors selling a wide range of PARTY SUPPLIES including balloons, venue decorations, tableware, children’s costumes, party games and more.

One Month before the party

Send out the invitations

Sending out invitations for your party with good time for people to RSVP will make sure you maximise the chances of having everyone you want at the party. It will also help you keep your cool if you know how many people you need to cater and care for on the day well in advance.

Once again Planary’s innovative GUESTLIST feature can help you cut out the paperwork, and reduce waiting times for RSVPs. Partygoers on the guestlist will automatically be sent out a save the date reminder, as well as being able to RSVP via the website – meaning you won’t be chasing your postie for paper replies!

Make a schedule of events for the party

While it’s impossible to plan everything that will happen at your event, it’s a good idea to plan out some of the basics, such as when your entertainment will be happening and if/when you are going to feed people. Let’s face it, no-one wants to be met by a group of hungry children because you threw a party over lunchtime and forgot to cater it! So preparation will be your saviour and keep any hunger hooliganism at a minimum.

Order the cake

Having a baking ace in the family will buy you a few more weeks. However, if you’re having a cake specially made from a bakery, now is the time to get your order in.

Planary’s marketplace is bursting with bakeries who can help you create the perfect cake or cupcakes for your child’s big day. You can search our approved suppliers to find a local baker to you who can prepare and customise delicious sweet treats to suit your party theme.

Three weeks before the party

Plan the menu

If you are having your party at a venue that doesn’t provide food, it’s time to do some planning. Will you order in pizza? Or perhaps have simple food like finger sandwiches and sausage rolls. Children are usually easy to please with simple foods, so it’s best to stick to food that can be picked up and eaten easily. Once you have your menu planned you can begin shopping for any food that needs to be prepared in advance.

Looking for an approved and local caterer? Check Planary’s marketplace, it’s stuffed to the seams with culinary crafters who can supply freshly-cooked children’s food platters for your party and save you a trip to the supermarket!

Organise any help you may need

Whether this just means roping in relatives to help take some of the pressure from the day for you or whether you would like to hire a babysitter or childminder to help with children herding on the day.

One to two weeks before the party

Chase up RSVP stragglers

Make sure there are no surprises on the day by chasing up anyone who is still to RSVP. Extra people turning up on the day may be disappointed if you have booked an event for a certain number of people, or you may end up paying for a space that is never used.

Want to avoid awkward conversations over the school gates? Have no worries, Planary’s innovative guestlist feature will send out save the date reminders initially, and then will send helpful reminders to anyone who hasn’t yet sent an RSVP.

Confirm the venue and/or entertainment

To avoid any last minute headaches or panics, give anyone involved in your party a call to confirm. It will only take a few minutes and will eliminate hours of future stress.
Even better? By using the Planary marketplace to book your entertainers and venue you can cut out communication worries, every message you have sent to approved marketplace vendors will be viewable from your Planary account, meaning you won’t have any last minute worries that your balloon artist will bail or your clown won’t communicate.
Check your supplies

If you have ordered online, has everything arrived? Is there anything you forgot to pick up or arrange? Consult your masterlist again and deal with anything that is missing. Your family will thank you for catching that you ordered 100 balloons and forgot the balloon pump, or you ordered 100 paper plates but no cups!

Three days before the party

Make sure any camera or recording equipment is working and charged

What could be worse than putting all of this planning into your child’s birthday party and then finding out last minute that your camera battery is as flat as a pancake! Make sure you check and charge anything that needs it so that you don’t miss one second of precious time.

Prepare goody bags

Make sure you have a good supply of party bags for your guests, stuffed full of sweets, toys and games. We recommend not adding noisy toys if you want to avoid the wrath of your fellow parents at the school gates!

Looking for quirky and individual party favours to make a splash? Planary marketplace vendors sell a wide range of pocket money toys and mini confectionery packs, just perfect for sprucing up your party goody bags.

One or two days before the party

Prep any food that won’t spoil

Save yourself last minute hassle by preparing and storing any foods that won’t spoil ahead of time. If you are planning on ordering food in, such as pizza then now is the time to place your order.

Make the cake

If you’re whizzing something up in your kitchen then it’s time to get to work! Prepping a few days in advance means if you accidentally burn the edges or your icing is too gloopy then you have time to repair any mistakes.

Decorate and prepare furniture

If you can access the venue ahead of the party, then it’s time to start decorating. Leave any helium balloons for now, but you can hang any streamers, piñatas or normal balloons you have.

If you are using  fold-up tables for presents or food, setting them up a day or two early means you can avoid last minute stress and ensure you have a seat for every child that sent an RSVP.

On the day of the party

Finish any last minute cooking

Anything fresh will need to be prepared on the day to make sure it’s as delicious as possible. No-one wants soggy sandwiches or brown carrot sticks!

Once the food is all prepared then set it out along with paper plates, cups and cutlery. We also recommend napkins, party food can be surprisingly sticky.

Pick up the cake and balloons

If you ordered a cake from a bakery, go and pick it up, and remember to store it safely away from prying eyes and fingers! Also it’s time to collect any balloon art or helium balloons you have ordered.

Set-up any games or activities

If you’re playing computer games, make sure they are switched on and with controllers, make sure board games have all of their pieces and any craft activities are ready to go.

Play music

There are some great family-friendly playlists available if you don’t want to make your own, and what’s a party without music?

Keep important things to hand

Make sure your camera, matches and candles and a pen and paper to jot down who gave presents are close at hand. Having a handy list will make thank you cards much easier in the future!

Enjoy your hard work!

It’s time to enjoy the party. No matter what the theme, event or style we’re sure your child will be having a whale of a time and it’s time to document those memories and bask in the knowledge that you are a party pro and have thrown a party that will be talked about at the school gates for years to come.

As you can see there are a lot of different considerations, depending on your time and budget. While it might be more wallet-friendly and personal to bake your own cake and get crafty with your own invitations it will be more time-consuming.

Thankfully good planning will help to eliminate wasted time and will whip you into shape to plan a seriously superb shindig! Throughout this process Planary will be your best friend and partner-in-planning. The marketplace is full to the brim of approved vendors, allowing you to source anything from balloon benders and cake crafters to the quirkiest good bag gifts. We can help you pick the perfect venue, entertainment, cake, catering and party supplies.  You can also make the most of the planning tools available free of charge to help you keep track of your day. Leave the planning to us, and enjoy your child’s big day!