I can’t imagine that it escaped anyone’s notice that Her Majesty the Queen celebrated a rather special birthday this week… Inspired by the celebrations, this week’s blog post is about all things birthday party related – parties for both the young and the young at heart! There’s lots of inspiration on our Pinterest board.

Let’s start with the grown ups. Us adults (mostly) enjoy parties as much as the kids and there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by your close family and friends. Hosting an adult party means that you can really go ‘all out’ – think dinner, games, cocktails… 

• Start by choosing the date. A weekend date close to the actual birthday usually means that most people will be available. 

• Theme or no theme? Well, this really depends on the birthday person. Are they the sort of person who likes to dress up and make a statement or would they prefer a more intimate gathering of friends and family…?

• Choose a venue. This depends on your guest list really – a local pub or hotel might be a good choice for a large gathering whereas a more intimate affair would be best suited to the back garden. 

• Plan the guest list. Make a list of everyone that will be invited and ensure you have their contact details. Creating a Facebook group can help you manage this.

• Write the invitations. Nothing is more special than receiving a beautiful, hand written invitation in the post. Here in Norfolk, we are lucky to have Claire at Frog & Pencil who creates stunning bespoke and ready-to-write invitations – be sure to check out Claire’s work.

• Send your invitations. Do this as soon as your date as set to ensure that everyone on your guest list has the best opportunity to attend. 

• Plan the food – I’d say the simplest method to serve food at a party is a buffet. Whether you are having the party in your kitchen or in a lavish restaurant, this is probably the most cost-effective way too. One of our side tables or stations would be perfect for this and can match your party’s theme, if you have one.

• Entertainment. Obviously music is your first choice! If at home, a playlist might work well, otherwise hire a professional to really make the party. The Norwich based Epic Sounds Disco and DJ Hire provide a versatile, tailored service across Norfolk. And what about party games? Here at Vintage Partyware, we have a selection of vintage board games which are great laid out on each table, and be sure to have a look at our photo ‘back drops’ – these make a great alternative to a photo booth. Pick your back drop and your guests can have fun taking selfies or photos of each other in front of it! Make sure you share a hashtag so you can find all the pics uploaded to social media on the day.

• The cake. No party is complete without cake! There’s plenty of inspiration on that front on our Wedding Cake Alternative blog post – all the suppliers featured there also create stunning birthday cakes too. Take a look!

• Decor. We hire many decorative items to match a number of themes – have a look at our gallery to see what’s on offer. And something us adults can appreciate as much as the little ones is balloons! Have a look at Balloon Inspirations – based in King’s Lynn, Balloon Inspirations specialise in foil and latex balloons for your special occasion. 

Now, planning a party for little ones is a little trickier. A birthday party theme that reflects your child’s personality and tastes is always a great way to plan a birthday party. Once you have a theme, you can incorporate it into everything from the invitations to the decorations to the goodie bags and even the food. Does your child has a favourite movie, book, cartoon character, TV show, animal, or a favourite sport or past time? Once the theme is chosen, start making plans!

• As with the grown ups, a weekend date is probably best, but if the birthday falls in the school holidays then a weekday is fine. Planning the guest list can be a tough one if you’re not on top of your child’s friends and foes… be sure to have a chat about who they’d like to attend their party.

• Invitations – let your little one’s imagination run away with them and have fun creating your own invites. No time? Well you can purchase ready-to-write invites, but we don’t think they’re quite so funky.

• Venue. Again this can be tricky. Do you really want energetic scoundrels running amok in your home? Check out Scallywags Party Venues, an online directory of children’s party suppliers and venues in Norfolk, which means they can also help you to find…

• Entertainment. Everything from bouncy castles to magicians and more! And don’t forget Epic Sounds Disco and DJ Hire also.

• Decor. Well, balloons are a must! I can’t remember a childhood party without balloons. Check out Balloon Inspirations who can cater for themed parties. Here at Vintage Partyware we can provide vintage china for an Alice in Wonderland tea party or afternoon tea for the vintage loving teen. We even offer a replica George VI post box into which guests can ‘post’ their cards for the birthday boy or birthday girl!

• Food. Many venues will offer food as part of a package, or go for the buffet option as with the adults. Be wary of allergies! Maybe include an ‘allergy info’ line on the RSVP of your invite.

• The cake. There’s plenty of inspiration on that front on our Wedding Cake Alternative blog post – all the suppliers featured there also create stunning birthday cakes too. Take a look – I’m know they’ll be happy to create a cake to suit your theme.

• Goodie bags. Remember the fun of the cake wrapped in tissue in amongst all the treats in the goody bag? I do. At Vintage Partyware, we can provide a number of hand-crafted sweetie carts in a variety of sizes (including a cute little cart for the smaller ones) and provide the glassware, tongs and paper bags. Not only do the children get the fun of picking what they want for their goody bag, but you get to put your feet up for a short while as they entertain themselves, filling their bag. Hiring a cart with glassware also allows you to choose the kind of favour your party guests can select – whether that be traditional sweeties, a more healthy fruit alternative, or something more quirky. Why not try the sweetie ferris wheel, if you want to be different?

So that’s birthday parties. I’m sure there’s lots I’ve forgotten… Feel free to comment with any further ideas. Above all, though, be creative. A successful birthday does not have to be expensive – even with a limited budget you can be creative and come up with lots of fun birthday party ideas. Just put a little effort and careful thought into your plans, and everyone will happily remember this birthday party for years to come. And don’t forget to take lots of pictures, and ask your guests to use a hashtag when uploading to social media.

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