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To host or not to host, that is the question. When it comes to kids’ birthday parties are you better off DIYing or letting a pro take over?

Image 2fWe recently celebrated our largest child’s big double-digits birthday. Yes, she turned 10! While I was having mild heart palpitations at the thought that a decade of time had flown by in the blink of an eye, the other thing that was causing me grief was how to match the excitement of turning 10 with a memorable shindig to boot. In my opinion, there are pros and cons for outsourcing a party vs DIYing it. Here’s a look at the options:

Outsource

For our celebration, I initially went down the path of outsourcing. Given how time poor I am being self-employed, the thought of having someone else do all the thinking was great. And when I started my research, I was stunned to find out just how many options there were for outsourcing. There are so many types of party venues around these days – from rollerskating parties to trampolining, to cooking parties or water parks – and many provide you with invitations as well as party food and take-home gifts. And you can leave all the mess behind (now there’s a BIG pro if you need one). But sometimes, at these venues, you are simply a number and it can be a bit like a cattle call at these venues on a Saturday morning – there’s not as much personalised ‘magic’ as can be obtained if you host your own party. And minimum numbers generally apply which can be a pain if you were wanting a more intimate group.

Pros: Best option for the time poor. Variety of party venues available. No mess to clean up.

Cons: Not as personalised as other options. Minimum numbers apply. Can be more expensive than DIY.

Event planner

The in-between route is the event planner. That is, call in a professional to do all the thinking and planning for an event at your home etc. Event planners can bring together a solid theme with ease and generally have all the contacts and suppliers that you won’t have. And they will probably have 10 times the ideas you’ve got as they do this for a living. They can organise everything from stationery and styling, to food, cake and take-home gifts. Easy. But, of course, with convenience comes a cost.

Pros: Best option for the time poor. No thinking required. Super-stylish result.

Cons: More expensive than DIY. You’ve still got the clean up to contend with (or you could outsource that too!)

DIY party

The third option is the DIY party. It takes thinking. It takes time.Image 2 It takes running around. But the result is always memorable and rewarding and it’s usually the cheapest option.

Ruby Rabbit Partyware director Alex Bull has been helping people host their own parties for years. Her online store specialises in the latest on-trend partyware and decorations and the Ruby Rabbit theme pages are full to the brim with perfectly curated products to create that unforgettable party – no matter how large or small.

“Unicorns and rainbows continues to be our most popular girls’ birthday party theme followed closely by Alice in Wonderland,” Alex says. “These themes are whimsical and timeless. We have seen these themes for quite a broad range of ages from first birthdays up to around eight year olds.

“Trending this season for boys’ parties is the ‘Little Camper’ theme with the use of teepees, monochrome colours and a touch of green cactus fun. We’ve seen many photos of customers’ gorgeous little birthday boys adorned in handmade feather headdresses. This theme calls for outdoor fun with lots of space for energetic little boys to run wild!”

If planning to DIY a party and having trouble deciding on a theme, Alex says to simply pick your child’s favourite colour and buy your partyware in that colour theme – everything will tie together nicely.

“We always suggest sticking to three colours for the best look which also keeps it simple. Popular colour choices for girls are pink, peach and gold. For boys’ parties it is black, white and aqua.”

Alex says, for her, DIY is always the way to go.

“Most recently in May we celebrated my son Max’s 5th birthday with a teepee party in a park. His entire class came along and played amongst the trees and teepees, whacked a cactus pinata and did a scavenger hunt. I’ve also held a movie party where I turned our lounge room into a mini cinema. DIY parties can be so much fun and my top tip is to be organised and start planning early!”

Pros: Unlimited themes. The most personalised option. Usually the cheapest option, depending on your choices. Rewarding.

Cons: Loads of planning. Can be time consuming. You’re left with the clean up.

With Miss Turning-10 only wanting a handful of her best, most closest friends along to celebrate her milestone, her desire to entertain in her home surroundings and to top it all off with a sleepover, the DIY party was our best option. We chose a ‘Masterchef’ theme in the birthday girl’s favourite colour blue. Invitations were attached to a wooden spoon. On the day, the girls cooked a few simply dishes together and played themed games (thank you Google and Pinterest for your late-night support!). Our sleepover movie night starred ‘Ratatouille’ and, with a small intimate group, I was able to go a little better on the take-home gifts which included colour-coordinated aprons and cooking utensils to match their wooden spoon – all the hallmarks of the start of the traditional ‘glory box’ as I told the mums! Yes, I had a warzone to clean up the next day, with the dishwasher on full tilt for hours. And yes, it was time consuming. But Miss Now-10 reports it was “the best birthday party EVERRRRR!”. My work here is done. Cue mic drop.

Visit www.rubyrabbit.com.au

Belinda Glindemann

Belinda Glindemann  

Belinda knew she was destined for a career in communications and publishing from the age of 11 when her Year 6 teacher introduced her to poster projects and glitter pens. She completed her journalism cadetship in the Whitsundays and went on to hold various newspaper and magazine editor roles across Brisbane in a media career spanning more than a decade. When Belinda's not writing for haven, she runs her own PR agency, kid-wrangles two young daughters and drinks way too much sweet tea.