It's pretty exciting to be hosting some Guest Bloggers here at GA. I have a superb bunch of ladies who have kindly offered to share a piece here, starting with the lovely Jenny of Mend and Make New. If you haven't already come across Jenny's blog, I suggest you pop over and say hi! She is one clever lady - who makes the most delightful kiddy clothes, and knows how to throw a great party too!
First of all, thanks so much for letting me be part of your awesome 'Party Month', Stella! Being asked to guest post about parties by the supreme queen of parties is definitely an honour!
We held a combined Princess and Pirate party to celebrate Isabelle's 1st and Noah's 3rd birthdays last November, and I have to say it was a roaring success!
Here are a few factors to consider (along with some tips), so that you can work out whether a combined party would suit your family - and so you can make it lovely and memorable occasion ! ...
- Closeness of birthdays : One reason a combined party really suited is is because our kids' birthdays are really close. Isabelle's birthday is 19 November and Noah's 13 December. We hosted the party in the middle of those dates.
- Age gap : Because our kids are young and only 2 years apart, they pretty much had the same group of friends (mainly just their little buddies from church and family.) For me, holding a combined party is all about reducing stress (by not having to hold 2 parties), so if the age gap is much larger it would have meant more guests and possibly more stress. Age gap may also be a consideration when planning games for your party. We were pretty relaxed and the kids had more free play at our party than anything else, but we did do a treasure hunt. We told the kids to work as a team , with the older kids helping the younger ones. This worked well.
- Your children : Another factor to consider is how your child may take to having to share their birthday with their brother or sister. I personally found it lovely to see our kids sharing their special day and we tried to make a big fuss of both of them equally, and also did a little something special on their individual birthdays. Noah at age 3 did see a little bemused that not all the presents were for him, but soon got over that with all the excitement of the party. Having said that, I don't want to do a combined party every year, as they might get sick of it and it's nice to make it 'all about them' sometimes. You, as the parent are best to judge whether a combined party would work for you and your situation.
- Presents : This was really a bit of an after-thought for me, but you may want to consider the possible pressure on guests of feeling that they have to buy two presents, one for each of your kids. Our guests were really creative and we ended up with a few board games that our kids are able to play together. If we do it again I think I will put a little something like this in the invitation: "Please don't obliged to buy gifts, your presence at the party is enough, but if you do want to a small combined present that our kids can enjoy together would be lovely." (Or something similar!)
- Theme (?) : Obviously a party does not need to have a theme to be a rockingly awesome affair, but if want to do the theme thing (as a grown-up who hasn't really 'grown-up' I just love themed parties), there are many great theme ideas for combined parties, even if your kids are poles apart in terms of taste and what they like. I just took 2 themes and stuck them together - Pirate and Princess (with the added magic of a bit of alliteration!) Food was pretty easy... make a cupcake, stick a pirate flag on it = pirate themed, put a marshmallow/ strawberry etc on it = princess. If you're interested this was how we did the invitations and see here for more about our party prep. I think the key to any theme is to fully commit to it and get your kids excited about it too!
- Two final pros in favour of a combined party: We had some out of town family travel up for the party. It was nice that they only had to come up once and could celebrate both Noah and Isabelle's parties in one. ....And ... the final thing I enjoyed about the party we hosted was how it was so family friendly. Because it was for both Noah and Isabelle we basically ended up inviting whole families rather than just and individual kids. It was great to see younger siblings included and adults chatting in our backyard.
I hope those ideas and tips are helpful to you! All the best with your next party you host, I'm sure it will be wonderful!