Party People! Expert advice for planning your child’s next birthday - MetroFamily Magazine
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Party People! Expert advice for planning your child’s next birthday

Chelsey Flint

by Emiley Bainbridge

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

What’s the secret to planning kid birthday parties without also experiencing (your own) glitter-covered meltdown? We asked three local party planners for their top tips. Thanks to contributors: Chelsey Flint with Chelsey Flint Events, Pilar Esparza Garcia with Balandra Events and Marisa Hastings with Marisa Made.

Where does a busy parent begin? What’s the best first step?

Chelsey: Picking a theme is the best starting point. Figure out what your child likes and wants. It doesn’t have to be cheesy!

Pilar: You need a date and a plan. What’s the theme? What’s your budget? How many people are you expecting? Once you have decided on the theme, budget and number of guests, then you look for where to host the party. If you have a big yard, I would suggest having the party at home, that way you can save some money on the venue. However, living in Oklahoma, the weather is so unpredictable that, if it’s possible and in the budget, GET A VENUE!

Marisa: Step one has to be deciding on your theme! Whether that’s a color scheme, character, pop star, etc. I always like to remind my parents of toddlers: they won’t have much to say at this age, so you choose! When they get older, they will have so much to say!

How can I involve my child in planning their party?

Chelsey: I think it’s important to see what they want to do. Do they want a bounce house? Do they want to go swimming? What kind of cake? Kids love that kind of stuff!

Pilar: I would ask my kid what theme they would like their party to be (if he or she can talk. If the child is very young, I would pay attention to the things he or she likes and choose a related theme.) They can also participate when giving options regarding the cake, balloons or even games to play at the party.

Marisa Made, photo by C.Dresel Photography

Marisa: Easy! Study them for a while and see what they are in to. Then, choose three options for them to choose from. Once the theme is decided, take them décor, food, cake and party favor (window) shopping.

Are there critical details that parents frequently forget until the last minute?

Chelsey: No one ever has birthday candles. Candles are the number one forgotten item at birthday parties.

Pilar: Details. I would suggest creating a list going over every single aspect of the party in order to plan what you need and make sure to have it. Little details like the candles, knife to cut the cake, etc. are frequently missing.

Marisa: Last minute misses are going happen even with the most detailed plan. Have an extra budget amount set aside for the week before the event. In my experience, parents miss the set-up tools: tape, glue dots, scissors, fishing line, etc. Think about what it’s going to take to execute your event, gather tools, put them in a bag, set aside and then do the fun stuff!

What’s a new party trend you’re seeing that parents should consider using?

Chelsey: We’re not seeing as much Disney; people are going trendier. For example: “two cool” for a second birthday party, cute beach themes, Taylor Swift parties and pop culture ideas. Pinterest has changed it all. I think since the Kardashians have made parties bigger, it has grown into a whole experience. I also think party favors have changed – most parents don’t like their kids getting a big bag of candy. Something fun and useful that goes with theme is a better idea for a favor; it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal.

Pilar: Themes that are not related to any character in particular are popular. Themes like clouds, stars, cars, flowers or any other theme with a vintage touch makes the prettiest and most aesthetic theme for a party.

Marisa: The newest trend is actually the un-trend. Throw all your traditional party games, prizes, opening presents and blowing out the candles out the window. Today’s parties have an unconventional fun to them. People are getting back to just enjoying each other’s company in an organic setting. Just add food! 


Editor’s note: Find a wide variety of party venues and related businesses at

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