From performing at nearly 1000 birthday parties, Ritchie recommends a party at home (up to 15 children) or at a small hall/small venue (up to 35 children). Mornings are the best time spots. Prep the night before, and have the afternoon after the party to relax, and the birthday boy/girl can open his/her presents and calm down in time for an early night.
Smaller halls/rooms are better. Contrary to the popular idea, it is not best to book a big hall “so they can run around!” Big halls are echoey which amplifies all the noise and not in a good way. Book Ritchie before you book the hall. There are loads of venues, but only one Ritchie. His wife and mother say “thank goodness!”
For more tips on booking a hall, check out my page here.
If you are booking ahead, don’t assume that the weather will be great and it will be in the garden. Have a back up plan in case of bad weather. Children’s parties can be nice at home but I reccomend to not invite more than 15 children.
In halls or venues, ask a couple of friends or family members to help you to set up, arrange chairs etc and to pack away and clean at the end. They are happy to help as they all know the work involved in having their own parties.
Piñata can be a little chaotic and create a lot of mess. It’s also quite slow and does not engage all the children as it is mostly them waiting for their turn. If you do have Piñata, keep the queue of children well behind the person swinging the stick. Have someone to hold the Piñata and someone else to hold the queue of children to a safe distance.
There will usually be bumps, bruises and tears if you have one. Ritchie advises against hiring a bouncy castle as well as an entertainer; less is more! But if you do have one, it must be turned off during his entertainment otherwise chaos will ensue with children running back and forth between the two. For parties with a bouncy castle, Ritchie offers his one-hour package.
Games are best run by a professional entertainer as we work at parties every week and know what games work well. If you organise games yourself, look for inclusive games where children don’t get elimnated. Pass the parcel is boring for children and all the non-winners will be dissapointed.
If you buy something like a sparkling candle for the birthday cake, I recommend that you buy two as sometimes they do not light properly. Traditional candles are better as they are good fun for the birthday child to blow out and it always gets a big cheer.
Pizza is the easiest food to serve and deal with. You can serve it to the children and the parents. Check for allergies/diets with parents.
If you want cold drinks for your guests such as beers and white wine, be aware that some venues do not have fridges and you might want to bring a bucket of ice.
Balloons look great on the walls (stick them at head height so children don’t pull them down). Put balloons on the front door/gate to welcome guests. If the venue entrance is not so easy to find, put a few up to direct guests as to where to enter.
Birthday Party Check List
On the day of the party, don’t forget;
Birthday Cake Candles
Matches and Lighter (check it works). Best to bring both.
Bluetack (some venues do not allow tape on the walls)
Table cloths/paper (if needed).
Knife for cake (keep it well out of reach of little ones)
Banners if you have them.
The birthday child 😉
When dealing with your guests, presents, socialising; it’s often hard to take photos especially if you have a magic show and your little one is up on stage as the volunteer. If budget allows, get a professional photographer. Tony at Sky Blue Photography is a lovely chap and a brilliant photographer. https://www.skybluephotography.co.uk