Tips and Tricks for Party Planning in Advance

by jessicaturner on May 15, 2013

Tips and Tricks for Party Planning in Advance

I have been planning Elias’s Pirate birthday party since the fall (his birthday is July 12) and Adeline’s Sesame Street party since about Christmas time (her birthday is June 23).

Not anything major. But little bits here and there. I love party planning WAY in advance for so many reasons.

I know that as your kids get older, it is hard to plan a party theme so far in advance, but I have done this for the past 3 years and it has worked SO well. We have saved money and had fun, creative and memorable parties. So if you are a parent of littles – or you just like to have parties – hopefully this post inspires you to party plan in advance!

{For the record, I love, love, love planning and creating parties. To the moms who want to have a party at a Bouncy House place or buy everything at Party City, there is no judgement here. Go for it. We mamas need to support one another.}

The benefits

  • Score Great Deals: This is the biggest one for me. When you party plan in advance, you can score great deals because you aren’t shopping the week before. For instance, for Elias’s pirate party this coming summer, in October I bought 25 pirate hats at the Dollar Store, as well as felt buckets for 50 cents on clearance at Target. (They both were in stock for Halloween.) In January, I also scored some fun Sesame Street Pancake makers and cupcake decorations 75% off  at Williams Sonoma for Adeline’s Sesame Street birthday brunch, as well as Sesame Street toys for favors marked 70% off after Valentines at Target. In each of these cases, had I not decided on a theme, I would have missed these products and deals.
  • More inspiration: Naturally, the more time you have before a party, the more time you have to be inspired, watch for great ideas, etc. By having my kids’ party themes in the back of my mind, I don’t miss opportunities for inspiration.
  • Have Time to Get Creative: Are you one of those people who pins tons of ideas, get really inspired, etc. all in the week before a party? While I always somehow still manage to do the bulk of the creating in the two weeks before the party, in theory, the more time you have, the less you have to work last minute. This year, I am proud that I have already started a Sesame Street bunting for Adeline’s party and Sesame Street handmade visors for all the kids. Both of these projects I worked on while watching tv in the evening. If I waited to do them before the party, I would have probably ended up staying up too late and getting stressed. This way, I can take my time.
  • Spread out the Spending: It can be a bit of shock to the budget to spend $200 on a party all at one time, but if you spend $25 here and $10 here, it isn’t so bad. For instance, one week when we had a bit of extra money in our budget, I bought the pirate paper products for Elias’s party. Also, because you are shopping in advance and can take advantage of sales, your money goes a lot further.

Tips for planning in advance 

  • Pin, Pin, Pin: Create a Pinterest board for your theme right away. This will help you stay organized and keep your ideas in one place. Remember though, Pinterest cannot be your yardstick. Your party is YOUR PARTY and doesn’t need to look like those professional parties that are all over Pinterest. (My party boards: Superhero Party, Girls 1st Birthday, Pirate Party, Sesame Street Party)
  • Watch for Sales: Pay attention when stores have special sales that you can take advantage of. For instance, Oriental Trading offered free shipping in February. I took advantage of the sale to get some Pirate decorations. And of course, there’s all the clearance throughout the year. I especially love after holiday clearance and the One Spot at Target. (In addition to the deals already mentioned, I scored pirate tattoos for Elias’s party for just 25 cents a pack in the One Spot earlier this year.)
  • Stay Organized: The hardest part about planning in advance is keeping track of your ideas and what you have bought. For me, I use Pinterest for broad inspiration, a Google doc for specific plans for the party (menu, games, etc.) and Rubbermaid boxes for storing the goods I buy.
  • Encourage your Child: Involving your child in the party planning is a great way to ensure the theme sticks, plus they love it! Throughout the year, we have talked with Elias about the cool Pirate Party we are going to have. He also loves to look at the Pirate Party Pinterest Board that I have been cultivating over the past year.

I hope this post inspires you to party plan in advance.

If you are an advance party planner, what tips would you add?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica May 15, 2013 at 8:56 am

I would add just an emphasis on the watching for inspiration. I find I get a party theme in my head and get attached to it, start planning it, and then at some point, usually the week before the party, I spot something that makes me think “hmm, that would have been a good idea.” I need to take more time to just look around with an open mind.

This year, my older daughter wanted a bouncy house party, so I’m diverting my creative energy into a birthday party for ME!


Susan May 15, 2013 at 9:47 am

I like to plan ahead and use Pinterest to organize my ideas just like you. I like to start gathering ideas way ahead of time and then just let the ideas “sit” for awhile before planning anything. Then I look through ideas again and see what would really work best for my own family. I often take elements from many sources and adapt it our situation to help with cost or ease of making things. When you plan ahead you also have time to buy things over weeks with your craft store coupons. Last minute shopping doesn’t allow you to save 40% multiple times.


Laura May 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

We are having a Jake and the Never Land Pirate party this summer as well. I found some of your same stuff at the Target Dollar Spot. I got some cute cups there that will be our “goodie bag”. I also found some free printables online. And got a pirate Halloween costume at CVS after Halloween for $3!


jessicaturner May 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Awesome! Our’s is going to be a pirate party with a few Jake items thrown in. :) Should be a blast!


Veronika @ Tickled Pink Confetti June 19, 2015 at 7:48 pm

These points are so true! I’ve always prepared my parties way in advance too. That way I can get creative.


Lou Lou Girls June 22, 2015 at 6:08 pm

I’m in love with this! Thank you for sharing this with us! Pinned and tweeted! I hope to see you at tonight’s party. Lou Lou Girls


Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai June 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm

I always loved planning my kids’ birthday parties. You are so right, advance planning is the key. And being creative can make a fantastic party affordable. Please come share your blog posts over at the Home Matters Linky Party! We’d love to have you for a visit. The Door is OPEN. :)

Life With Lorelai


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