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Birthday Party Planning Basics

Birthday Party Supplies

Written by Ellen Zucker

Birthday parties can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. And they can be as individual as the person whom you are honoring. But most important, birthday parties are fun! Before planning your birthday party, decide on its focus. Is it adult centered, child centered or family centered? Perhaps your party will have elements from more than one category.

Deciding on the focus will guide you when selecting your theme, pacing, food, and entertainment. A birthday party for a child may be either child-centered or family-centered. Inviting a dozen four year old kids to your home (with a some adults on-hand to keep things running smoothly) is an example of a child centered birthday party.

A birthday party for a one-year old whose guest list is made up of immediate and extended family members of all ages is a family centered event.

Likewise the guest list of an adult's birthday party may consist of his or her friends (adult-centered) or extended family (family-centered). Or a mix of both.

As with any event focused on a single guest of honor, you will want to keep his or her preferences in mind. But, you will also want to plan the party with consideration of the age groups of the guests. At family birthday parties you will be accommodating a variety of age groups. (What do the little ones do while the grownups sit around and catch up on conversation?) How about a table with arts and crafts supplies set up? Even simple crayons and paper will do.

But the charm of a family centered event is the opportunity for people to interact across generational lines. Consider the food when planning your birthday party. Socializing while eating is often the focal point of the event. Food can set the theme. Have Caribbean food for a Caribbean themed event.

But do know your guests' preferences and needs? Not everyone likes or can tolerate spicy fare, for example. Have alternatives available. These days having a vegetarian option will appeal to many, but carnivores may be unhappy if there are no meat or at least a fish choice.

If alcohol is served, have a provision for a designated driver or spare bed for someone who drinks more than they should.

Games and activities that includes everyone will make everyone feel included. Consider entertainment in your birthday party planning. Well-chosen entertainment can add color and focus to your event. And a little can go a long way.


About the Author: Live caricature entertainment or a fortuneteller will liven things up and give your guests something to remember. Ellen Zucker, who has entertained at hundreds of parties and special events of all kinds for over 15 years provides both in the Philadelphia area through her company, Faces & Fortunes,

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