I came across this article last week and wondered: have any of you gotten stressed about DIY party planning? Those huge, expensive kids’ birthday parties are apparently a thing of the past, replaced by elaborate DIY parties and the accompanying stress of doing everything ourselves.

What if you want to put together a party but you’re feeling overwhelmed? Here are a few things that can make your party planning fun and stress-free.

stress-free diy party

1. Know your strengths.

If you love paper crafts, then making your own invitations and decorations—or setting up crafty party activities for your guests—might be simple and fun. If you like to bake, the party snacks, cake, and cookies could be a breeze. But it’s the rare person who will be good at (and enjoy) every part of party preparation.

Feeling that you need to take on every aspect of the party planning and prep almost guarantees disappointment and stress, not just because you may lack the skills to pull it off, but because lack of experience makes it hard to even estimate how long a project will take. Last minute, middle-of-the-night crafting, anyone? Not remotely fun. And remember, grumpy mom ≠ great party.

Be honest with yourself about what you do best, and play to those strengths as much as possible. What about those areas where you aren’t as strong? Don’t be afraid to…

2. Get help.

I know, I know, it’s called “DIY” for a reason. But I think it’s the personalized, handmade look that’s become popular. And I feel sure that the “yourself” in “do it yourself” means “you and your crafty family, friends, neighbors, and favorite favor-makers.” While you’re playing to your strengths baking up a storm in the kitchen, maybe your mom is helping with the decorations? And your friend is assembling some party favors? Offer to trade your skills to work on their future parties. Or reward them with cupcakes. (Who doesn’t like cupcakes?)

Other help could include:

– Kids. If you don’t have older kids who can be bribed with cupcakes, hire your babysitter and some of his/her friends for a couple of hours to help put together decorations or organize party activities and games.

– Videos. YouTube is full of great tutorials showing step-by-step instructions for fun party activities and crafts. eHow Family has some great videos with party ideas and how-tos. Soapylove shows you how to throw a soap making party. Pottery Barn Kids also has some fun party decoration videos.

– Blogs. I’ve posted in the past about creating a simple candy buffet for a kid’s party, how to make party favor tags, ideas for cheap party favors for kids, and lots more DIY posts including recipes and packaging. There are so many other blogs with great ideas to help you.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, maybe it’s time to…

3. Simplify.

So, you’re not very crafty. Or you enjoy crafts but you lack the skill or time to do some of those elaborate projects on Pinterest. You just might need to simplify your party plans. You can simplify by:

– inviting fewer guests
– setting up (and decorating) smaller tables
– making fewer decorations
– cutting back the menu
– mixing in some pre-made with homemade food items
– making smaller or simpler favors
– choosing easier projects
– using printables (many are available for free online, and you can find them through Pinterest or party planning blogs)

Words like smaller, fewer, easier, simpler…these are your friends. Smaller and easier can also mean whimsical and cute, or elegant and tasteful. Simpler really can be better. Be kind to yourself and design a party that you can handle comfortably.

With a little experience, you’ll gain the confidence and skills to create any kids’ party you want, big or small. But the important thing to remember about parties is that they’re supposed to be fun! Don’t suffer through DIY projects if your heart isn’t in them.

Do you like planning and creating parties? What’s your favorite part?

(Need help with party favors? Talk with us! We’d love to work with you.)