ultimately party planning guide


Party decorations like baby clothes are so enticing – you just want to buy anything and everything! Well that’s me, I see party decorations that fit into the theme and just go nuts. I have however learned to tone down a bit over the last year.


If you are like me, and you have the propensity to go overboard, then let’s just take a step back and look at what party decorations you actually need.


What I will incorporate into this post is what you need in order to provide for your guests, its not really party decorations but its not food so it may get lost in the madness of party planning if we don’t include it at this juncture.


party decorations should include balloons but what else?




You need very little in the way of party decorations to convey the theme of your choice, maybe a balloon or a banner, some paper plates or serviettes.  Yes, you don’t need to buy every party decoration on earth. I really should take my own advice.


You may want to buy a few disposable plates and cups so that your plates, glasses and cups don’t get broken. Especially if people are drinking or its a kids’ birthday party.


What you will always need – regardless of where you hold the party – is candles. Dont forget the birthday cake candles. I like having a single number or a themed candle with single colour candles to make up the number. So for the 2nd birthday party I will have a Number 2 in silver and then a single pink candle.


Not really one of the “necessary” party decorations but helpful to know – if you are planning on setting out all the food on a long table (I have done this for teas and bridal showers) it helps to have the food at different heights so that people dont drag their sleeves over something with cream on it to get to a tart. In order to do this I have used decorative boxes to add height to the table – either a gift box from a party shop or just an ordinary box wrapped in wrapping paper does a great job.
party decorations you need for a party




If you have the party outside of your home you are going to need a few more things to make sure that people aren’t sharing from the juice bottle or eating cake with their hands.

  1. cups
  2. plates – I generally go with a simple colour so that I can reuse them for future picnics
  3. serviettes – dont worry about buying too many, use them afterwards for the birthday child whenever s/he eats dinner, it’s a lovely reminder of a great day
  4. serving platters for any food
  5. straws if you’re pouring drinks
  6. Plastic table clothes (make sure you get the right shape – made that mistake before)
  7. Some form of party decoration to indicate where your party is



If you are having your child’s party at a park consider providing some form of entertainment – whether that be playground equipment or a bike track that is already there or some bubbles and balls for the kids to play with. For more on the issue of venue go back to Step 2: Choosing a Venue which should be of help if you haven’t decided.


party decorations to buy for your child's party



My current list for decor includes (current being what I’ve learnt to limit the decor to as per husband’s orders 🙂 )

  • Balloons, for us our kids are nuts about balloons so I always incorporate them but some places won’t let you bring balloons to a venue so just check with the venue before hand.
  • Happy birthday banner or bunting, who doesn’t love a birthday banner
  • Little signs for the different plates of food
  • Center pieces. For my son’s first birthday I made elaborate centrepieces wth toys and wooden blocks. Completely Over The Top.
  • Flowers. I love flowers and love the idea of having flowers on the table at my little girl’s birthday parties. But that’s just me.
  • A piñata
  • Welcome sign
  • Photo Booth or themed backdrop
  • Something for the kids to wear – either a party hat or a tiara (princess party) or a eye patch (pirate party).
  • Themed straws
  • A themed cupcake stand
  • Blowouts
  • Themed candy buckets
  • Streamers
  • Bunting
  • Coasters


If you buy good quality plain coloured items you can continue to use them for years to come.


party decorations - what to buy
party decorations to buy for your party



Like it or not party bags or party favours have become a “thing”. Gone are the days of handing your guests a piece of cake and waving them goodbye. Wether you are planning a children’s birthday party, a bridal shower or baby shower it is custom to send your guests off with a Thank You gift of sorts.


It is so easy to get carried away with party packets. Too easy. I know so moms who have spent an absolute fortune on the contents of party bags.


Let’s start with the bag itself, there are a few options here:

  • a plastic see-through bag from a craft shop that isn’t huge so you dont have to fill it too much;
  • a themed party packet that comes from a party shop;
  • a plain coloured bag;
  • something else that functions as a carrier – last year we gave out little Monsters Inc Cups that I had written each child’s name on.


Be careful with what you spend on the bags because you’re going to need to fill them too.


What do you put inside?? For pre-schoolers and younger kids this is my go to:

  • I try avoid too many sweets because I got a few dirty looks the first year I just put sweets in a bag 🙂 now I give one or two little sweets from a mixed pack of sweets
  • Give one play item (a tube of bubbles, a few marbles, a yo-yo). You can generally buy these type of party decorations from your local grocery shop or you may be able to get them cheaper from a “dollar store” or “reject store”.
  • A colouring-in sheet. There are a whole host of options to chose from but I have found one site that I really really like – Top Coloring Pages I came across these and found a whole host of different  ones I would use and they are FREE! I have included a few of the pictures I sourced from Top Coloring Pages in the images below.
  • A sheet of stickers
  • A packet of biscuits, my kids favourites are tiny teddies.
  • A box of raisins or cranberries.


party decorations - what to put in a child's party packcolouring in sheets are perfect for a party packet when considering party decorations


If you’re planning an adult’s party and are not sure what to give as a thank you, here are some ideas:

  • I’ve packaged 2 macaroons as giveaways which worked really beautifully
  • A fridge magnet
  • Mini bottle of alcohol
  • Small pack of chocolates (3 Lindt chocolates or the like).


baby shower - the party decorations you need



This is Step 3 in the Ultimate Party Planning Guide, if you missed Steps 1 and 2, go back and have a look because reading this guide in the correct order will help you keep track of what you’ve done and help you keep your thoughts orderly. Here are links to Step 1: Its All In the Invite and Step 2 Choosing a Venue.


Party Planning - party decorations you need

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  1. Very thorough list! I always like to get a photo backdrop. It works as a decoration and is fun for group photos.

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