THE SHOPPING –
WHAT TO BUY AND WHEN
PRIOR TO SHOPPING
Shopping for your party is the final step in the Ultimate Party Planning Guide.
Now that you have worked out:
You need to get to the shops.
SHOPPING: WHAT YOU CAN BUY RIGHT AWAY
Invitations and Thank you Notes
As soon as you have decided on the where and where of your party you can go out and buy your invitations or save the dates.
If you are doing everything electronically then you don’t need to worry about buying everything but you will want to look around and see what type of e-invite you want to send. You can go through a company like Paperless Post or you can make up a photo on your phone and send that off.
If you are sending out invites you can get sweet ones from any stationery shop, grocery store or newspaper agency. The alternative is to make a photograph / image on your phone and then send that out. Remember to print your photo to a size that fits in an envelope though.
If you’re sending out invites then you want to remember to buy thank you notes (if you are sending out thank you notes) so that they match the same theme.
- serving platters for any food
- straws if you’re pouring drinks
- plastic table clothes
Once you’ve decided on a theme you can get the decorations. I generally buy three themed items from a party shop and then just get plain coloured everything else so I can use them the following year.
Decorations can include:
- balloons (unless you want helium balloons)
- Happy birthday banner or bunting, who doesn’t love a birthday banner
- 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 candy buckets
Start looking at party favours now. Go back to Step 3 and make a decision on what type of party favours or thank you cards / gifts you want to give to your guests.
Once you’ve made a decision as to what you want to do start looking. This was you should be able to get everything on special and at a bette price. Don’t leave it to the last minute or you will land up over paying.
For comprehensive lists on decorations and party favours, read through Step 3: Let’s get to the Party Decorations and Party Favours.
Do not forget to buy the birthday candles!
SHOPPING: WHAT YOU CAN BUY IN ADVANCE
There are a number of items that you can buy in advance – even the food items.
Food and drinks
I always start buying a few weeks before, I keep an eye out for the specials at my local grocery store and then start stocking up.
Food items you can buy in advance (and which will keep for weeks):
- tea bags
- instant coffee
- cheeses (may cheeses last for many weeks)
SHOPPING: WHAT YOU SHOULD BUY THE DAY BEFORE
- Helium balloons
- Vegetables for your vegetable platter
- Fruit (You do however want to buy your fruit the day before or at a max two days before so that it stays fresh).
Do not forget to buy the matches or lighters for the birthday candles!