Monday, March 22, 2010

Tea Party Invitations

A friend of mine just asked me to make invitations for her 4-year-old daughter's birthday party, which is going to have a tea party theme. I had so much fun playing with the designs for the invitations! Although Mom was leaning toward the more "traditional" invitation, the birthday girl loved the teapot, so that's the one she chose!

Here are some photos of the invitations:


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Inviting Siblings to Parties

One dilemma that many moms face when planning their child's birthday party is whether or not to invite their guests' siblings. With older children, this isn't as much of a problem, mainly because they have drop-off parties. With younger children, however, the parents are usually invited to attend with their child. Not only do younger children require more help and attention in a group setting, but they may also be nervous about staying at a party without a parent in attendance. This can cause a problem if the invited child has siblings - how does the parent attend the party with their child without bringing the siblings along? If the party is on a weekend, then the other parent may be available to watch the siblings. But sometimes childcare isn't the problem - sometimes the birthday boy or girl is friends with ALL the children in another family, and wants to invite ALL of them to his or her party. This can quickly cause the number of guests to rise beyond a level that is comfortable for the host! Not only that, but the varying ages of the children can make it challenging to plan games and activities that are appropriate for everyone. Some people don't mind having huge parties with tons of children that are all different ages (I've been to several parties like that!), but others would prefer to keep things small and simple without offending anyone.

So how to resolve this dilemma? When planning your child's party, think about how many guests you'd like to have, and what kinds of activities you'd like to do. Then invite your guests accordingly. For example, if you're throwing a small party for a 2-year-old and you're planning to blow bubbles and play with a parachute, then just invite your child's 2- and 3-year-old friends. Don't fret about leaving the older brother or the baby sister off the guest list. Most people will understand if you decide not to invite siblings. However, if you choose not to include siblings, it is a considerate gesture to plan the party for a day and time when the other parent is available to stay home with them. Another idea is to just choose one or two families that you are really close with, and invite all the family members, regardless of the children's ages. You may have to offer alternate activities and favors to accommodate kids of different ages, but this could be a great solution. No matter what you decide, your birthday child will feel special and everyone will have fun!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thoughts on Invitations

Let me start this off by saying that I LOVE invitations. I love making them, I love sending them, and I especially love getting them! :) Many people don't give very much thought to invitations; they view them merely as a means of communication. Basically, they're just a way to tell guests what's going on and when and where to go. But I believe that a beautiful, meaningful invitation can convey so much MORE to your guests. Think of an invitation as a first impression. The type of invitation you send is the first impression that your guests will have of your event. A good quality, hand-assembled invitation conveys the message that you care deeply about the event and that it is very important to you. It's the type of invitation that your guests display proudly on their refrigerator during the weeks leading up to the party, rather than writing down the information and immediately tossing into the trash. It's the type of invitation that your guests will be flattered to receive. And for you, the sender, it's the type of invitation that will serve as a wonderful memory of this special event. It's the type of invitation that will be saved in a scrapbook or photo album for years to come, along with photos of the guest of honor celebrating his or her special day.

Of course, the type of party you're hosting will influence the look and style of your invitation. An invitation to a child's birthday party is likely to be brightly colored, fun, and festive, while an invitation to a baptism or retirement party is usually more elegant and sophisticated. However, even an invitation to a party with a SpongeBob SquarePants theme can be worth keeping, if it's well-crafted and attractively designed! (This may have to be my next challenge - ha, ha!) Regardless of the theme, a personalized, quality invitation implies the message that this is an important event, and that your guests' attendance is important to you. And isn't that the message you'd like to send?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Outfits for Parties

It's fun to have the guest of honor wear a special outfit for his or her birthday party. While a fancy, frilly dress or a cute little shirt and tie may look super adorable, they're usually not very practical clothes for a birthday party. (Especially as the kids get older - think pizza sauce, juice, and grass stains!!) One simple but really cute idea is to get a T-shirt that says "Birthday Boy" or "Birthday Girl" on the front. One website that has a lot of really cute, fun birthday T-shirts is www.zazzle.com. You can also check out ebay.com. Here's a photo of my daughter Rebecca wearing a "Birthday Girl" T-shirt from Gymboree on her 2nd birthday:


Another one of my favorite ideas is to have the child wear an outfit that goes along with the theme of the party. For example, a princess dress for a princess party, or a baseball uniform for a baseball themed party. You can also dress the child in a shirt featuring their favorite character for a character-themed party. Here's my daughter Lauren wearing an Ariel outfit at her Little Mermaid party:


I've thrown a few parties with more "abstract" themes, and it's been fun finding outfits for my girls to wear. Lauren's first birthday had a watermelon theme (since her birthday is in July), so she wore a pink plaid bubble with watermelons on the collar. I was also able to find a cute pair of Robeez shoes with watermelons on them! So adorable. Ebay is a great source for this type of party; just do a search for the theme of your party and the size and style of outfit you're looking for, and you're bound to find something! (i.e. watermelon dress 12-18 months) I also think it's fun to dress siblings in coordinated outfits. Here are my three girls at Charlotte's first birthday party, which had a cherry theme (you can't see Charlotte's shoes in this picture, but they were Robeez with a cherry design!):


Not only does a special birthday outfit make your child stand out from the crowd, but it also ties everything together and makes for some GREAT photographs! Have fun!!