Party ideas - need honest feedback

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abacaxi's picture
Joined: 02/27/10
Posts: 363
Party ideas - need honest feedback

I’m working on my plans for Rowan’s first birthday party. I need some feedback on whether my ideas will work or not.

Our overall plan is to do a barbecue and serve a bunch of food. There will be a cake, of course, and it will be in the shape of a caterpillar like this: http://www.amazon.com/Taggies-35650-Colours-Toy-Caterpillar/dp/accessories/B001TGRIF4 (obviously, this is a stuffed animal, not a cake. it’s the model). Since the cake will be brightly colored, I’m working on a brightly colored mixed drink for the grownups (there will be beer too, even though I don’t like beer). Something like this, probably: http://www.drinkstreet.com/searchresults.cgi?drinkid=169&drinkname=category:31

As a party favor, we’re giving out seed packets. I ordered a bag of butterfly/hummingbird garden seed from Wildseed Farms (in Texas, DH and I visited it once, and it was just beautiful there). I downloaded a template for seed packets, so I’m going to make the actual packets with Rowan’s picture and birthdate and say something (I don’t know what yet) about planting butterfly gardens. It goes along with the caterpillar cake.

When I have parties, I like for there to be something for people to do other than just stand around and talk. That being said, I’m opposed to most party games. So this is what I thought of: I’m going to get a bunch of plain wooden blocks and a lot of paint and smocks so that no one has to worry about getting paint on their clothes, and invite people to paint blocks for Rowan. Of course, people with kids can paint blocks for their own kids, and I’m certainly not going to tell any kids that are there that they can’t have a block that they made. Good idea or bad idea?

We’re going to request no gifts, because Rowan really doesn’t need anything, but I thought maybe in the invite I would tell people that if they do want to bring a gift, books are always welcome. Is that rude? I really don’t want our friends to feel obligated to bring her anything.

Any thoughts? I’m most concerned about whether the painting blocks idea will work, and if people will think its fun.

jolly11sd's picture
Joined: 02/02/05
Posts: 3327

I think that the painting blocks thing is an awesome idea! That will be special for her to have. Make a few example ones and place them in that area so people get motivated. Or if you know you have a hesitant crowd you could always have fun little prizes for the most creative, most unique, ect.

Also the requesting no presents or suggesting donating to her growing library isn't rude IMO. Just word it the right way.

HorseMomma's picture
Joined: 06/29/04
Posts: 858

Awesome ideas:0)
I would have a table set up w/ the blocks...then the party goers can do it on their own time...not so much an activity...more like do it when you can.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

You're planning an amazing party! How old are the kids you're expecting to come over? Just asking b/c I'm just envisioning a mess of paint tracking everywhere with little kids, but after years of childcare that shouldn't surprise anyone. lol. I really think that painting blocks is a great, unique idea!

You could say, "your presence is all that is required" or "your presence is present enough" or "Rowan loves to read already and is working on blooming her library!"

And I think the seed packet idea is wonderful! What a useful favor to give out. Smile

Cherrychip's picture
Joined: 01/31/09
Posts: 1134

Those are some neat ideas, sounds like a fun party! I think the blocks are a neat idea, I would just suggest some plan regarding the paint not getting places it shouldn't be-a blanket under the table for drips or set up outside? Maybe have an adult or older kid be the "supervisor" to make sure there aren't any paint wars? But its a really neat way for everyone to make a personalized gift for her so I am sure you can make it work!

Joined: 06/22/10
Posts: 5602

I have heard of some people using "best wishes only"

I think it sounds great! I have never been to a party like that and it sounds very original.

As for the no gifts, I do not think it's rude at all to say so. However, I would probably still give something if I was a guest, maybe just very small, but I have also never been to a party where no gifts were asked for.

abacaxi's picture
Joined: 02/27/10
Posts: 363

"jolly11sd" wrote:

Make a few example ones and place them in that area so people get motivated. Or if you know you have a hesitant crowd you could always have fun little prizes for the most creative, most unique, ect.

I hadn't thought about prizes. That's a great idea!

"HorseMomma" wrote:

Awesome ideas:0)
I would have a table set up w/ the blocks...then the party goers can do it on their own time...not so much an activity...more like do it when you can.

Yes, definitely. I'm hoping its something that guests will wander over and do when they get inspired, or when they're waiting for food. I figure since we're grilling, that limits the number of people who can eat at once.

"alwayssmile" wrote:

How old are the kids you're expecting to come over?

Most of the kids we know are either under age three (so would require parental supervision) or are teenagers. I doubt our friends with teenagers will actually bring them. I'm really not expecting that many kids to be there. It's kind of funny - all of our best friends that we've known forever have had a child in the last three years, but all but one of them has also moved away.

"Cherrychip" wrote:

I would just suggest some plan regarding the paint not getting places it shouldn't be-a blanket under the table for drips or set up outside? Maybe have an adult or older kid be the "supervisor" to make sure there aren't any paint wars?

It will be set up outside, but you're right, I should probably put a blanket down. I don't want my patio to get painted. And I'll just have a talk with DH about no paint wars. I don't know why, but I think he's the most likely person to start one.

abacaxi's picture
Joined: 02/27/10
Posts: 363

"janijanis" wrote:

However, I would probably still give something if I was a guest, maybe just very small, but I have also never been to a party where no gifts were asked for.

Two years ago, I went to a baby shower for DH's best friends. They live in Colorado and had come back for a visit. The invitation said something like "The happy couple has requested no gifts, please." So DH and I didn't take a gift - we figured they probably didn't want to transport a bunch of stuff home with them, and I was working on a baby blanket that wasn't finished anyway. When we got there, there was a table piled high with a huge amount of presents. We were shocked, and embarrassed for not having brought anything. Then several other people talked to us about it, and they all felt the same way. Later, one of the party hosts (there were two couples hosting) announced that it was time to open presents, and they made everybody come and stand around this table. And it turned out that every single one of that enormous stack of gifts was from the hosts. It was so awkward and awful and the mom-to-be looked so embarrassed too.

That's part of why I'm a little worried about requesting no gifts. Obviously, in our case, the hosts won't be making everybody watch us give Rowan an obscene amount of stuff. But I don't want to end up with some people bringing something and others not, and then having to open presents in front of everybody and making people feel bad for not bringing anything.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Cute ideas aside, I think the most important detail is the date. It better not be October 2nd around noon. Speaking of which ... I need to send out invites ....

I love the caterpillar idea. I've also seen a cupcake version of a caterpillar. The drinks are cute but keep in mind that not everyone likes "froofy" drinks. The seed packet idea is awesome too. If only I had time for such cuteness. Painting blocks sounds like lots of fun. You might want to warn people that it'll be a "getting dirty" type party so they don't come in their Sunday best as even non-toxic, water-based paints can stain. I've personally thrown caution to the wind with the present thing. People want to bring stuff but of course we don't want to feel obligated. I think most people will bring gifts regardless of what you tell them. That's why I've opted for an Amazon Wish List for suggestions. I don't feel like its rude so long as there's lots of cheap options. It is a tad rude IMO to put up a wish list full of pricey items. I think phrasing it as others have suggested is fine or don't say anything at all. I don't think anyone will feel obligated to go out and get a gift.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

A solution to the present opening would be to not open them when guests are there. Open them later and send out a prompt thank you and let Rowan add her own flare to the note. Wink
Besides, who other than the parents wants to watch a 1 year old ignore the gift and play with the wrapping paper?! lol.

HorseMomma's picture
Joined: 06/29/04
Posts: 858

May be you can come up w/ a fun poem about not wanting gifts...and stick it in...

laurensmitty1982's picture
Joined: 07/30/06
Posts: 1117

I think the party sound super!

The way I have seen it worded is something like, Please no present required since my child is has everything they need. If you insist on bringing something children books are suggested.

abacaxi's picture
Joined: 02/27/10
Posts: 363

"TiggersMommy" wrote:

Cute ideas aside, I think the most important detail is the date. It better not be October 2nd around noon. Speaking of which ... I need to send out invites ....

How did you guess my date? October 2, 12:30. We were very fortunate - we were able to reserve the ramada right next to the splash pad at Brandi Fenton. Should be a great time!!!

Just kidding. We're having it on the 25th, at my house. I'll probably send out the invites early next week. I realize that it's on Teagan's actual birthday, but I hope you'll still come.

"alwayssmile" wrote:

A solution to the present opening would be to not open them when guests are there. Open them later and send out a prompt thank you and let Rowan add her own flare to the note. Wink
Besides, who other than the parents wants to watch a 1 year old ignore the gift and play with the wrapping paper?! lol.

You don't think people will mind not seeing her open gifts if they brought them? Not that I actually think Rowan can/will open anything, and if she did, she would just eat the paper.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

"abacaxi" wrote:

It will be set up outside, but you're right, I should probably put a blanket down. I don't want my patio to get painted. And I'll just have a talk with DH about no paint wars. I don't know why, but I think he's the most likely person to start one.

Get a cheap plastic shower curtain and put that down and maybe tent pegs to secure it. Then you can either use it as a paint mat for ongoing art projects with Rowan or chuck it.
I love the block idea, That will be one great set of blocks she will have to play with forever.

Rowan and Ronin are having their parties the same day.

Joined: 04/23/06
Posts: 485

I love the blocks idea! I would totally be all over that if I were at your party! Great idea.

BuckeyeK's picture
Joined: 10/23/06
Posts: 3087

I love the blocks idea! I think your party will be great, you have some very creative ideas!

I have seen "No presents, just your presence" on invites before. That being said, it's a kids birthday party, and people are going to want to bring presents regardless of what the invite says. I think you're going to be fighting a losing battle (I predict most people are going to show up with gifts anyway), and the best you can do is try to direct the gifts toward what you prefer. Maybe suggest a theme - everyone bring their favorite childhood book? Since you're doing a caterpillar cake, maybe make it a "book worm" theme?

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

I think it sounds like a great party! I wish I could do something like that.