I’m planning my twins’ 11th birthday party and taking you through the process as I go, so you can see exactly how and when I do everything to pull off a party. Over the next few weeks, keep tuning in on Tuesdays, and I’ll share with you where I am in the party planning process. Read the first part of this series here. And don’t miss my party lessons at the end of each post.
In last Tuesday’s post, the girls finally agreed to a joint birthday party theme: a Selfie Scavenger Hunt. From there, things started moving quickly. I was all pumped up about my original idea, only to quickly discover a few variations of the theme that had already been hosted.
- AndersRuff created an InstaParty. This version tweaks the Instagram colors to pastel palette and combines a selfie-theme with a sleepover.
- Kara’s Party Ideas featured this glam take on — wait for it: a Selfie Scavenger Hunt. So much for my originality!
But no matter. My twins like the idea, and that’s all I really care about.
We quickly outlined our party:
- Guests are dropped off at our house and take selfies in our photo booth with emoji and other photo props.
- We divide into Team Meg and Team Grace, distribute the scavenger hunt target list and put on our team colors. (More on that debate in a minute.)
- We caravan to our little town’s downtown retail district. (It’s soooo cute!) Each team begins the hunt with a chaperone. As the teams find each item, they have to take a selfie with it, then post the image to our private Instragram account. (I’m still working out the tech details.)
- After the hunt, it’s back to our house for cake and presents.
Where to start planning: date, colors and style
First up was picking a party date. We typically choose a Sunday afternoon, so I reached out to my photographer, cake baker and party assistant to make sure they all had the date.
As I do so often, I start my design process by searching out party printables. There aren’t that many selfie or Instagram options out there, but I did find free Instragram scavenger hunt printables from The Dating Divas, and figured I could modify those. (I’ll create a separate tutorial for you about modifying printables.) I also found the AndersRuff InstaParty printables, and the girls liked those but wanted traditional Instagram colors.
Choosing printables also gave us our party color palette: orange-ish red, yellow, spring green, aqua, brown and black. It will certainly be a non-traditional palette for me and I’m not sure how to pull it all into my dessert and dining table decor yet, but it’s on my to-do list.
It also set our style to modern. I’ll use clean lines and simple shapes like rounded-corner squares and circles.
Brainstorming party ideas
As much as I love Pinterest, I really prefer to dream up my own ideas first. (Think you’re not creative enough? Silly girl. Just follow my brainstorming tips.)
So what does your party theme make you think of? Selfies and Instagram make me think about making silly faces, emojis, hashtags, the blue app frame, the Instagram logo, square photos and red hearts.
I haven’t come up with a dining table design that I love yet, but I did sketch out a dessert table plan this weekend. What do you think?
Making my party budget
Oh, to have unlimited party resources. Instead, I budget. Pre-shopping helps. Get all those dream purchases down on paper, see how much you’ve spent in your imagination, and then decide what your reality is. Need help deciding when a purchase it worth it? I’ve got 7 questions you need to ask yourself.
It’s time to shop!!
With our guest count in hand, I was ready to shop, and that means Etsy. I have my favorite shops, so I visit those first so see if they already have items related to my theme. After that, I cast a wide net, because sometimes I find things that had never occurred to me. Use a broad search term like “selfie party” and you’ll get about 700 hits. “Instagram party” gets almost 4,000.
I don’t have THAT much patience, but I will go through many pages in case something jumps out at me. Favorite special items as you go along. Then, narrow your search terms. I tried things like “emoji cookies” and “instagram favors.”
So here’s what I’ve purchased so far. I like to buy early, because you never know when a seller will go on vacation or get too busy to take your order.
- Cookies: I’m having these made as emojis (but only the happy or silly ones and no poop!), hashtags and the Instagram logo.
- Cakepops: These will be hearts, made in two flavors.
- Marshmallows: I’m so excited about this one that I’m keeping it secret from the girls — these will be cut in squares and have our selfies printed on them.
- Felt ball garland: This was custom-made for us in our party colors.
- Glitter banner: It says #selfie and is pretty darn cute.
- Felt heart garland: I’m having a Valentine’s Day garland modified so the hearts are all Instagram-red.
I also have a list of items I still need to find:
- I’m concerned about keeping all the girls together and easy to spot during the scavenger hunt. I REALLY wanted them all to wear tutus, but the girls are too cool for that. (Mommy gently weeps.) So, I think we’ll do big t-shirts and I’ll create an iron-on. I’ve never tried it before, but AndersRuff has a tutorial I’ll follow. (I also joking suggested tying an emjoi balloon to each girls and guess what? That idea they like. Go figure.)
- All my table settings: plates, napkins, forks, straws, runners — all that fun stuff. But first I have to brainstorm the look.
- Party favors: I bought square craft frames and we’ve started painting them to look like the Instagram camera. Then we’ll mail each guest a party photo tucked into her thank you note.
- Photo booth props: I need emjoi faces and maybe a hashtag or two.
- Photo booth props: The girls also want one of those giant Instagram frames to hold.
In addition to favoriting items, I also saved them to a Selfie Party Pinterest page I started for the party. Pinterest is great because you can put all your finds from different sources in one place — that streamlines your planning and keeps you from re-searching for items over and over. (Grab your party planning worksheets by subscribing to my blog.)
I also need to plan my time: how much time do I have to complete the projects I created for myself?
- Paint party favor photo frames.
- Paint hearts for napkin rings.
- Set up photo booth.
- Customize my free printables (that’s coming next week).
- Print and trim printables. (But if don’t want to trim your own printables, try Paper + Pop or Print and Cut My Printables.)
- Visit downtown and scout out scavenger hunt targets.
- Pick up cookies.
- Set up dessert table.
- Set up dining table.
Your party lessons:
- Pick your date and time but also make sure that your key vendors and helpers have the date open.
- Begin your design process (picking colors and party style) by searching for printables.
- Brainstorm: it will help you keep in mind key elements of your theme as you shop.
- Start shopping on sites like Etsy or at your favorite party shops. Start with broad search terms, and then narrow your search terms so you don’t miss anything special. Shop early to reserve baked goods.
- Plan your time using my party planning worksheets.
- Begin your party crafting as early as possible to spread out the workload.
Have you gotten your copy of my Week-by-Week party planning checklist? It’s the secret to how you can plan your next party without rushing around like a crazy person. Just fill in the box below, and I’ll send the checklist right to you.