American comedian Robin Williams once joked, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” But look around! With colorful flowers blooming against fresh green foliage, birds singing, and plenty of sunshine and fresh air, after winter spring feels just like a party!
Regardless of the occasion, whenever I plan a party that is exactly how I want my guests to feel; as if they just stepped from winter’s dreariness into a vibrant spring day. One of the places that people feel like this is when stepping into an amusement park.
There’s a reason why Disney Resorts are called the “happiest places on earth”. In addition to traditional birthday parties, the parks host everything from breakfast with popular characters to full blown weddings and almost any other event in between.
Taking Advice from the Professionals
That is why when planning the perfect party, I look at sites such as the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions for tips and advice. Although their advice is written for family entertainment centers, a lot of it can be put to use for a party in your own backyard!
Here are some of the ideas I have used in the past with great success. Hopefully they will help you when you plan your next party as well.
- Tone Down the Theme – Forget buying all decorations, tableware, et cetera with a character theme. Choose a few solid colors to outfit your party and limit theme content to things like balloons. Solid color tableware is not only less expensive, but you can save the leftovers and use it to dress up an afternoon tea or after-dinner dessert.
- Give Recognition Where It Is Due – The guest of honor should be recognized. The person might wear a sticker, ribbon, or even a paper crown to let them feel a little extra special on their big day, whether it is a child’s birthday party or a bride’s wedding shower.
- Let Them Eat Cupcakes – Television shows about cake decorating have inspired people across the country to take up a spatula and try their hand, but ordering a specialty cake can be expensive! To help cut down on the budget, order a small specialty cake for looks as well as enough cupcakes frosted in complementary colors to feed the crowd.
- The More the Merrier – Each year a neighbor has a large end-of-summer bash in their backyard. The first year they offered an open invitation and tried to feed everyone who stepped foot in their backyard. Now they schedule the event for mid-afternoon with a request for guests to bring their own beverages and a dessert to share.
- Analyze That – After the party, make a list of what worked so you know what to do again next time. Also make a list of what did not work so you know what to avoid in the future. Keeping these little details handy when planning future events and you will save time, money, and stress.
You don’t have to rent out a private island and endorse a celebrity to show up at your party to make it a success. Skip the outrageous, attention-grabbing party ideas and instead focus on how your guests can relax and have fun.
The Big To-Do List
As you plan your party, keep a running list of things such as where you plan to buy certain food products or where you plan to borrow extra tables and chairs. Don’t forget to take notes for things to help with your post-party analysis, such as which person needs a thank you card, and which retailer you might wish to avoid for future events.
Your party venue may not literally be the Happiest Place on Earth, but there is no reason why it cannot rival somewhere like Disney or Six Flags. Clean up your landscaping and set out some container gardens to give that amusement park feel.
Add some twinkly lights to the back porch railing and trees to lend a sense of magic after dusk – even if there are no fireflies in your backyard. Don’t be shy about adding some streamers to the trees, too! Just remember that someone has to clean up everything once the guests go home.
For birthday celebrations, have a designated table decorated to the nines for each guest to place the great birthday gift they brought to the party. Some balloons, streamers, and a colorful tablecloth are a great way to help direct the eye to the gift table.
About the Author:
Melissa Cameron loves planning a good party, but when it comes to selecting a gift she uses www.gift-wiz.com for every occasion. When she finds herself sitting too long she takes her laptop to the local coffee house where the WiFi connections, like the refills, are complementary. In her spare time Melissa enjoys hiking, kayaking, and indulging in local seafood with her family.