How to throw a birthday party at the last minute

by arianne

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I work from home and I homeschool and I have 4 kids and and and, well, I had no time to plan for River’s first birthday party. Ack.

So many people work very hard on that first birthday party – it’s a milestone! And I had periods of time where I would dip into a ton of guilt as I worked and ran around all the while thinking about how I had no time to even think about her party. I would slip and start thinking that the epic-ness of her party defined my mothering. Have you ever done that before?

I needed a lot of grace, I didn’t even tell friends we were having a party until the weekend before. We kept it casual and just had family and close friends, but still. Nearly no notice.

So I told myself that I was doing my very best and I was even rocking it out in other areas of parenting, but I just wasn’t planning the lovely pinterest-inspired party I would’ve, had I had the time and budget to do so. I don’t have anything against those gorgeous parties (they are sooooo pretty, I love them, and I love Pinterest) but it was not realistic at ALL for me to attempt something more than throwing things together at the 11th hour.

But does that mean the party has to LOOK thrown together? Not at all! These ideas may be obvious to some of you – but allow me to give the rest of you a little grace and freedom in your busy mom party prep.

Here are my tips for throwing a birthday party together at the last minute, a.k.a…

Party Tips for Slacker Moms Who Are Anything But Slackers

1. Don’t have it at your house

I knew I’d have no time to clean enough to my own OCD expectations, so I arranged for the party to be at my in-law’s house. One big thing off my list – check!

2. No fuss food

We grilled the main proteins and otherwise just had easy peasy sides that were either fruit, salad, chips n salsa and grilled corn. Delicious and didn’t require a single recipe. I love, love, love amazing party dishes and sides, but they are NOT necessary for a good (yummy) time.

3. Seasonal decor

With my daughter’s birthday being in the Fall, I decided to make it a Fall-themed birthday this year. I took advantage of the Fall decor in the dollar area of Target and made those some of the decor for the party. They aren’t marketed as party-ish, but they are Fall and pretty and WIN super cheap.

Then I simply went to the party aisle at Target and grabbed some Fall party supplies and added in a neon pennant banner, paper lanterns and party poofs to hang up. I ended up finding party supplies with the fall + neon colors (super lucky there!) but could’ve done it with basics too. I chose gift bags along the same orange/yellow/red/brown + pink theme that was Fall-ish and still feminine. It’s all in the details – YES – but the details don’t have to be complicated!

4. Take the cake

I let go of having the super bestest homemade organic cake in the world, and simply went to Costco and found a giant rainbow “Happy Birthday” cake for $17. I picked it up about an hour before the party (no I didn’t order it!). I don’t even have a picture to show it to you because it was GOBBLED UP so fast! The key is being ok with what is available and not sweating it.

5. Do everything the night before, but not earlier

I shopped for everything the night before the party, and I know this might stress out some folks, but for me? It forced me to let go of perfection, be excited with what I did find, and let go of the rest.

Our party was SO FUN because we had good food and some pretty party details and people we loved. What I discovered is that my kids are thrilled with a single balloon, and don’t need a huge Pinterest-inspired soiree. They think I’m supermom because there is cake. Full stop. I don’t need to win any mom-party-planner-of-the-year awards, and maybe next time if I have the time the party can be a bit more elaborate. But only if I want it to be, and only if it brings me joy.

Now go Pin this so others can be set free too. Ha!

What simple party ideas do you have to share?

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