We’ve had a flurry of TSG tots’ birthday parties lately, during which we’ve enjoyed everything from trampoline parties to dance-offs, perfectly imperfect homemade cakes to bakery-made cupcake towers. Each party has been utterly unique, but one statement can be made about all of them: a successful children’s soiree is a combination of creativity and careful planning. This equation holds true whether the event in question is an elaborate fete or a simple family gathering; after all, at the end of the day, it’s the details that can make or break a festive affair.
Inspired by this birthday-filled season, we reached out to the founder of Dallas-based Pomp, Shana Rosenheck-Lodes, for ideas and insights into what to consider when planning a child’s party. Pomp’s “Pink Pony Party” has become something of a legend throughout TSG HQ ever since we laid eyes on photographs of the fabulous event in TSG Dallas, Volume 3. As the images of the Pony Party show, clearly we approached the ideal source!
Pomp carries the pink palette and pony theme through the show-stopping party in such whimsical ways. Again, it’s the details like pony-shaped confetti, pale pink ribbons tied around cartons holding a quarter of a sandwich (the perfect portion for three-year-old attendees!), a simple vase filled with pink hyacinths, pony-shaped cake pops, and, of course, pink-maned pretty ponies as the main attraction that make the event so special. While it might be tempting to label the party as over-the-top, it only appears that way because it’s been expertly executed. Given enough time and put in the right hands (Pomp is Dallas’s premier children’s party planning company), a few thoughtful elements can be brought together to create a sweet occasion little ones will love. Below, Rosenheck-Lodes shares her tips for party planning; of course, it always helps to call in a professional, so while the following advice will be helpful, think about making that step 1!
Plan ahead. Rosenheck-Lodes recommends meeting with a planner 6 weeks prior to the event to discuss the theme; guest list; party location; invitations; entertainment, games, and activities; food; general decorations; cake; and party favors.
Determine the best time of day for a party based on age. “We want to make sure everyone can enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the party, so we recommend scheduling parties for young children when they are at their best,” Rosenheck-Lodes says. “We recommend after naptime for toddlers and around lunchtime for children in preschool,” she advises. As children grow older, timing becomes less important. Duration is important, too; so much so, that Rosenheck-Lodes has created a handy chart for when children will be ready to party:
Think about how you’ll issue invites. In addition to making sure your child’s best friends are free on the appointed date, Rosenheck-Lodes recommends thinking in terms of “all” when determining how much of your child’s class to invite, as in “all the children in the class,” “all of the girls” or “all of the boys” in order to minimize hurt feelings. Timing-wise, she suggests dropping invitations in the mail 3 to 4 weeks prior to the event.
Have a sense of how the party will be paced. To ensure your event feels as though it has a natural flow, Rosenheck-Lodes advises that you pace the party. “Have a plan based on the games, activities, and entertainment you have lined up,” she says. “For example, as guests arrive, you may direct them to a craft table while you await the arrival of more guests.”
Decide on a present-opening plan. Whether or not your child opens gifts during or after the party is up to your personal preference, Rosenheck-Lodes says, but if you do decide to open gifts during the party, Rosenheck-Lodes recommends pulling names out of a hat to determine whose gift will be opened next. This allows time for you to write down the gift-giver and what was given to ensure that you have all the information necessary for thank-you notes.
Make sure your give your guests a proper goodbye. All good things must come to an end. Rosenheck-Lodes advises that it’s good practice to have your child thank each guest for coming and personally hand them a party favor as they walk out the door.
Don’t forget the most important to-do of all: Do not stress! Your child will have fun regardless of the size of the party as long as they see themselves celebrated in the details, Rosenheck-Lodes says. “That is where we come in to ensure this day is an occasion to remember, filled with fun and love. Enjoy and let us do the work!”
Pomp // Dallas, TX // 214.205.4453
Photos by Amy Herndon Photography.