After being in the business of princess parties and also throwing my own princess party for my daughter when she was young, I would say I know a few things about throwing a successful princess party! Planning the perfect princess party for you does take some planning. You cannot throw any sort of quality party last minute, so plan well ahead of time.
Start the party planning process with a list. Lists help you visualize what you would like to do, timelines, budgets and it takes some of the stress off, because you can see visually what you are planning to do!
Book your venue and your entertainment first. Check with your entertainers to see if some of the dates and times you had in mind are available. Then if you are booking a venue book your venue based on the availability of your entertainment. Keep in mind when you are selecting a venue what time of year it is, if the venue can hold the amount of people you are inviting and if suits the theme of your party. For instance you don't want to plan your party at a park in January when you know it is notoriously the cold and rainy season. But rather maybe booking an indoor venue like Santa Barbara Dance Arts would be a better choice! Late spring to early fall are great times of the year to have an outdoor party at a park! See Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation for the best park in the Santa Barbara area for your party!
Next, select a date and time that works best for your family and guests. If you have any children that need a nap in the afternoon, you may want to consider planning it before or after nap time.
Then select beautiful paper invitations to send for your party at places like The Stationery Collection or you can send Evite electronic invitations if you have everyone's email address. We recommend sending these out at least a month in advance to ensure you have a good turn out. Over invite and expect about 30% of your invitees to attend.
Then pick 3 colors that you would like at your party, preferably colors your child likes. Then start to purchase your party decorations at places like Peanuts Maternity & Kids in Santa Barbara or online at places like Amazon.com or Oriental Trading Co. We also recommend going to your local dollar store to see if you can find any plastic or paper goods that will work for your party! Here is a link for some decoration inspiration at Kara's Party Ideas! Purchase your items well ahead of time to allow time for shipping and so that you do not have to purchase everything all at once and can space it out over time so it doesn't hurt your bank account!
You may want to hire a photographer to document your magical day! We recommend 3 Luvs Photography
Next you will need to select some child friendly finger food items and drinks you can put out. Keep in mind that some children have food allergies, so choose your menu wisely! Here are some cute food ideas I found on Pinterest, which is a great resource for planning parties! Sometimes places like Costco will have great food platters that will help relieve you of the extra stress of hand making all your food! Choose drinks that do not have dye in them as they are more healthy and will eliminate the chance of stains on clothing, carpets and furniture!
Once you have put all of these things into place and started the planning process you may want to get a beautiful new party dress or costume for your child so they can feel special! Tea in Tiaras will be offering a beautiful line of princess costumes and princess party dresses very soon! We also offer real tiaras...which every girl wants to put on a tiara on their special day! Definitely a must have add on to your party!
Favors are a must to send each guest home with. Try to stay away from cheap items that will break by the time your guests get back to their car. We recommend sometimes finding just one item that is quality that the children will be able to enjoy for a long time. Packaging up your favor is ideal to making your guests feel special. Sometimes even a satin ribbon around your favor is just the right simple touch to making your favors look nice and elegant!
If you are having your party at your home, set up the night before to relieve yourself of the day of stress. If you are having your party away from your home you should set it up at least 2 hours prior to your party allowing enough time to set up all your decorations and bring in all your food items. We also recommend designating close family or friends to help you with set up and break down so you are not trying to do everything by yourself. If you have any pets and you are having your party at home, you may want to crate them or put them in a gated area so they are not running around, barking and jumping on your guests.
After you have hosted your party, something hardly anyone does is send out 'Thank You' cards to your guests thanking them for coming and for their gift. You can also find those at The Stationery Collection! With the proper planning and addition of special additions your party is sure to be a hit and one people talk about for years afterwards!