Go big or go home: that’s my party motto. And this year, we went big.
Little man turned two last month, and we celebrated with a family celebration that doubled as an official housewarming. It won’t be happening every year (all things in moderation, and all that), but I want to recognize milestone years, and we were three weeks post-move and in a temporary apartment for Owen’s first birthday in 2012. It’s also been several years since I’ve had a chance to host a big shindig — so I had a party inside me needing to get hosted.
I went with a Toy Story theme, since Owen is all about toys right now and LOVES his Woody doll and other characters. (Given that I’m pretty strict with screentime, it’s a bit ironic, but hey.) A few upfront tips:
- Start planning early. As in, several months in advance. Take time to think about exactly what you want, and you’ll have time to find it (and find the best price) or make it yourself. I started thinking about his party in August, both to give myself plenty of time to get it together but also because I knew how busy our fall was – family visits and parties, work deadlines, Halloween, etc., were all going to need time on our calendar, too.
- Brainstorm, brainstorm, then brainstorm some more. Free associate any and all ideas you have for your party, from venue to food to activities to logistics, keep notes, and then hunt out more inspiration from friends, magazines, websites, etc. I like to have a comprehensive list of anything that I could do, then narrow it down to what makes sense and know it’s the best of the best of my ideas. It prevents that “You know what we could have done?” moment, or the last-minute 11 p.m. Walmart panic trip.
- Be realistic. Understand your strengths, then capitalize on them. Know your weaknesses, and outsource those tasks. Recognize your time constraints, stressors, and space problems and plan accordingly. What this looks like for me: I plan early and often, organize obsessively, hire someone who can bake, and nominate family to help in food prep.
I loved everything about this party, and it went beyond my initial expectations. A HUGE thank you to our family and friends who all drove in from afar to celebrate with us and make Owen’s day special (especially my best friend, Bethanie, who blogs at The Purple Path, and volunteered her picture-taking services). He talked about his “Woody Buzz party” for a long time leading up to it, and I know he’ll still be talking about it for months to come.
For all the details (and some free printables!), check out the party topics below.