Party Planning - Dino Party

It has taken me a couple of days to recover from Ollie's 4th Birthday celebrations. This was his first 'proper' party and I wanted it to be great (obviously).
I started planning for his Dino themed event before Christmas but it was only in January that things really got going. You'd think that this would've left me plenty of time, but I really like to have months of pondering and perfecting a party so doing it all in under 9 weeks was a bit more of a challenge - for my mind and my bank balance!

As always, I was working to a very strict budget. I was lucky that I could recycle a lot of item that I'd used for previous events and I bought as much as I could in the January sales. It's always tricky trying to balance my yearnings for the big Pinterest party extravaganzas with a more realistic budget and a more sensible outlook but I think I'm getting better at knowing how to manage it.

I don't believe that parties for young children should run into hundreds and hundreds of pounds. It isn't necessary and I have to keep reminding myself of this fact when I start to compare my parties with others I see online. I want the celebrations I host to stand out in the minds of my guests for being fabulous, but really, the most important thing for me is putting the effort in for my kids and building memories for them to look back on when they're older.

With that in mind, the total spend for the big day was £153.85, approximately £8.50 per child including food, entertainment, decor and party bags.

For invitations, after disastrous attempts at designing my own (like I usually do) I happened across this fantastic 'Dinky Dinos' design from HIKIDS and they were exactly what I was looking for. I was really impressed with the quality and service and would happily recommend them or use them again myself.

We're already big fans of our local library and for a party it only costs £20 to hire out the whole of the upstairs space (large room, small room and kitchen) for the afternoon. There are a few restrictions on sticking things to the walls but this is no problem and I'm used to the set-up there now. This time round we also had the use of the garden (for no extra charge) and we could use this for our 'Dino Egg Hunt'.

In my opinion, you can't have a party without plenty of balloons. For decor this year I returned to Missy Moo for balloons and also bought inflatable 'Roar' bunting from Ginger Ray (John Lewis). I also purchased the helium I needed from Party Pieces, alongside some 'tropical fiesta' napkins, cups and a tablecloth.

For entertainment, we played traditional games with a 'dino' twist. Musical statues and musical bumps, hot potato, Grandma's footsteps and lots of dancing! I can't stand pass the parcel so swapped that out and replaced it with a Dino Egg Hunt in the garden. I bought the eggs from Baker Ross and filled them with a tattoo and small chocolate egg - once they were all collected, I put an egg in each party bag as an added extra!

For the party bags themselves, I bought these green paper bags from Amazon and filled them with stickers from Party Pieces, dino gliders (Amazon), bubbles (ASDA), sweets, the plastic eggs and tattoos and cake (of course). This meant that each party bag cost less than £1 a head. Bargain.

For the first time, I bought food from Morrisons Party Food to Order service and was impressed with both the cost and the quality. I especially liked the crudites platter which had plenty of options for the children to pick from.

They say that comparison is the thief of joy. That is certainly the case when I look at the cake that I made. If I were to compare it directly to the cake that inspired me on Instagram, I would feel disappointed and unhappy with my efforts. However, I have to admit that I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt at a drip cake.

Of course, I've learnt lessons from making the cake and always want to improve. But I'm not a professional baker and as it is, I'm going to pat myself on the back for this one. And help myself to another slice, because it tastes yummy too!

I'd planned for the party to last about 2 hours which is usually just the right time for the children to have a great time without having a meltdown. On the day though it did look as though we would finish up a bit early but then a few of the children wanted to see Ollie open his presents so we did that and finished just in time.

I wouldn't have been able to get through this party without my friends, family and helpers. I'm always grateful for having my Mum and sister on the other end of the phone and I have great friends who are always happy to help me with setting up and packing away. They're worth their weight in gold and I can't thank them enough.

My only disappointment? Having a 4 year old boy who wouldn't stand still long enough for me to take plenty of photos!

I hope you've enjoyed this peek into Ollie's special day and that it inspires you in your own party planning. For more ideas you can check out my Pinterest board or see more parties I have planned on a budget here.

Shank You Very Much
Claire Rocks said...

my 6 yr old son would love this! i have pinned it so i can come back to it. thanks for sharing

Heather Keet said...

This looks like a fabulous party and all the items were awesome! The cake looked so yummy! #DreamTeam

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