If you’ve been hanging around here for a year or so, firstly, I love you. Secondly, remember last May when I lost my mind and went absolutely over the top for Luisa’s birthday party? Yeah… it’s that time again. I can’t promise I’ll tone things down this year but I did learn a thing or two. I thought I’d share my wisdom along with some tips from other fab bloggers who have a few more birthday parties under their belts.

If you fancy catching up on last years antics I have posts about the gifts, the outfit, the party itself and the cake.



Who to Invite?

Having only hosted one birthday party I, thankfully, haven’t had to deal with Luisa’s ‘friends’.  That being said there can be a fair bit of family politics to contend with when it comes to the guest list. We ended up with about 20 adults and 4 kids at her first birthday party. It was pretty intense and we found it hard to find time to speak to everyone and actually play with Luisa. If I could do it again I’d have much less people or even two smaller parties.

Louise of Pink Pear Bear had this to share:

Who to invite is a minefield. Either go whole class, just one sex or keep it small and give them a set number. Whatever you do, don’t let your child invite all but two say. And bear in mind that their list may change daily. I get my child at 6 to write her list down & then sign & stick to it!! I find it the most stressful thing about school. Especially when kids ask you outright in the playground whether they are invited & they’re not!


Where to Have the Party?

As we invited about 30 people to Luisas first birthday party we knew we couldn’t have it in the house. Our old place was a really odd shape and very tall with 4 flights of stairs so it was impractical for elderly family members as well as being too small.

We started looking for a venue and it was pretty overwhelming at first. We didn’t want a traditional soft play or kids party type place as there weren’t many kids coming. In the end, we decided to hire a small local venue. The art gallery we choose came equipped with a kitchen as well as a nice main room that had a projector, seating and a few tables. This was the perfect venue for us because it was a real blank canvas. We put up a lot of pretty decor and made a slideshow of photos from Lu’s first years to play on the projector.

Laura from Life With Baby Kicks is an expat who spent a few years in Dubai with her two boys before moving to Qatar. Here’s her advice on party venues:

Don’t feel like you need to have it at your house, or the latest soft play just because everyone else does. Kids love to run and play and generally ignore all the party games in my experience so we try to have it in open spaces. In the UK this would be the village or church hall which is much more cost effective than setting 20 four-year-olds loose in soft play. In Qatar we tend to use our compounds club house, bigger space and less things of ours to be broken!!




To Theme or Not to Theme?

I have to say I”m not looking forward to the days when Luisa is able to dictate the ‘theme’ Peppa Pig table cloths are not my idea of fabulous party decor. That being said, of course, when the time comes I’ll let her celebrate whatever way she wants. Whilst I’m still in control quirky and tasteful are the watchwords!

Beth blogs at Twinderelmo, she has a son and twin girls. This is her advice on adapting to what your kids want as they grow up

As my son has gotten older, I’ve been led by what and who he wants. When he was younger we would invite the whole class, but as he’s gotten older he usually chooses an activity and invites a few close friends. He’s mad on Harry potter so that’ll be his choice!


DIY or Professional Catering?

For Luisas first birthday we did all the catering ourselves. Big shout out to the lovely Grandparents who did the lions share as I was busy having a meltdown over the cake! This year we’re probably going to have a small family party in our house so we’ll be doing a mixture of hot and cold party food.

Leanne blogs at A Slice of My Life Wales, she has a toddler who’s just a little older that Luisa. Here’s her helpful advice about catering:

Don’t assume DIY is cheaper than paying per head for food. I went down the DIY route and spent a fortune, way more than the £10 per head the caterer would have cost!


Lisa blogs at Love of A Captain and made a really good pint, something to bear in mind if your bringing your own food to the venue:

Some venues have guidelines for food because of allergies so make sure to check if there’s anything you can’t serve.




Anything Else?

One thing I’m going to make sure to do this year is to take more photos and enlist family members to take lots too. We got a lot of lovely snaps at Lu’s first birthday party but there were a few guests who didn’t have a picture with her and that was a shame. Matt’s top tip is to make sure you stay calma nd enjoy the day, focussing your attention on the most important person – the birthday girl.

Emma has two blogs, Emma & 3 and Mums Savvy Savings. She has 3 children between the ages of 17 and 6, here’s what she’s picked up along the way:

I have learnt to let your child decide on what they want to do and who they want to invite. It’s their day after all.