Thursday, December 2, 2010

School Class Birthday Party Etiquette

There's no better way for kids to bond with their classmates or make new friends than including their school buddies to help celebrate your child's birthday. 

Before you go start party planning, however, check out these rules of etiquette on the proper way to handle invitations, party food, and other things to consider for a 'no tears' birthday party for your school age child:
  • Don't give out invitations in the classroom unless inviting the whole class. Be discreet when giving the invitations to the parents you meet after school or, better yet, mail the invitations to each child's home.
Above all, avoid any ostentacious displays. For example, one mother we know recently distributed balloons outside school with the party invitation enclosed inside. Those children NOT invited kept asking their moms -  "Hey, where's my balloon?" 

Needless to say, the "balloon stunt" was not very popular with other moms. If in doubt, give a thought to how your child would feel if they were excluded from a party and act accordingly.
  • While baking cupcakes to distribute in class for your child's birthday is a popular custom, be sure to take into consideration dietary restrictions. Some children are  allergic to wheat or nuts, or are restricted from eating sugary snacks. Ask your child's teacher for guidance and, if it's OK, try to include appropriate treats for those on restricted diets.
  • Pick a number of guests and stick to it. You'll find that kids want to add and substract on the whim of the moment. Do ask for the child's input, but remember that your the adult party planner who has the final say.
  • Finally, keep control of the invitation list, and don't let it get out of hand. A good rule of thumb is to invite as many children as they age of your child - plus one.
Have fun!

More about school classroom birthday party etiquette around the Web:

Kid Party Etiquette on Sending Invitations to School

Birthday Party Etiquette for Your School Age Child

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How to Hire A Limousine Without Being Taken for a Ride...

It's spring as party season is kicking into high gear.

Meanwhile, limousine services' phones are ringing off the hook with calls from prom dates and bridal parties looking for sleek looking wheels to get them to the dance hall or church in style, and on time.

Whether you're hiring a limo for a prom, wedding, a bachelor party or bachelorette party, before you make a final decision take a tip from the experts on how best to hire a limo without getting taken for a ride:

Like all great party planning, don't leave the details to the last minute. Take your time and shop around for the best limo at the best price your can afford.

Word to the wise: When it comes to limo hire, cheapest is usually not the best. Would you entrust cheap, fly-by-night operation to move your precious belongings? The same rule applies to limousine companies and their performance as they safely whisk you and your prom or bridal party from point A to B.

First, check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against your prospective limo company like no-shows, dirty interiors, or rude drivers.

If you have the time, make a personal visit to the company garage to kick the tires and inspect the cars they have in their lineup. Do they actually have that stretch Hummer limo they advertise? What about the amenities they feature such as a bar, TV, moon roof or any other features you would like included?

Next, ask for references directly from the company representative so that you can call or e-mail other customers about their experiences. Was the driver on time? Did they drive safely? Were they polite & courteous? And, finally, did they know where they were going or did they need detailed directions?

While most reputable professional limousine services will want a detailed itinerary from you anyway, don't sit back and get comfortable just yet. There have been nightmare scenarios reported about drivers not really knowing the best route to a party or wedding - leading to panic, anger and disgruntled guests - before the party ever started. So always have the directions written down, just in case.

Finally, READ THE CONTRACT before you sign it to avoid any unpleasant surprises later, or pay extra for costs already included (like the tip, for example.) If a tip is NOT included, the rule of thumb is to give your driver 15% to 20% of the total fare. Of course, that figure can be adjusted depending upon your experiences with the driver and the company. Hopefully, and with a bit of planning, it will be a happy one.

Have fun!

More about hiring limos around the Web:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mother's Day Party Ideas

One of the most warmhearted spring celebrations, every May in the US (or March in the UK) a special day is set aside to remember a mother's love and support that is often there for the asking throughout our entire lives.

To help remember mom on her special day, here are some great tips on hosting a celebration with family or friends that will honor mom in first-class style while still going easy on your budget:

Going Out for Mother's Day

While home celebrations In early May, start scouting out local restaurants that feature special Mother's Day brunch or dinner menus.

Often, a package deal is offered at an all-inclusive price that includes a cocktail, appetizer, and the main meal complete with dessert and coffee, so you can more easily keep track of costs.

With the money you've saved, ask if you can have a special cake (together with a rousing chorus of "Happy Mother's Day to you!...) or maybe a bottle of champagne brought to the table to toast the special guest of honor.

Getting "Fresh" with Mom on Mother's Day

On the other hand, hosting a party at home may be more intimate and heartfelt - and far less expensive, especially when everyone pitches in.

For Mother's Day brunch or garden party, be sure to decorate with lots of mom's favorite flowers.

Include on the menu: fresh fruit and fresh-squeezed juices, (if you're extra crafty, also try your hand at carving an edible watermelon basket); serve a platter of homemade deviled eggs and cold cuts; and don't forget the batch of fresh homemade biscuits.

For a more formal sit-down dinner, family-style one-pan meals of lasgna or baked ziti are both easy on your time and budget. Served with a salad and plenty of crusty bread - and dinner is served! Of course, special touches like fancy Mother's Day drinks, and Mother's Day desserts
make it that much more memorable.

Just remember - whether it's in a neighborhood restaurant, a formal sit-down or a more casual buffet at home on Mother's Day - make sure mom gets served first!

More about Mother's Day parties and menu ideas around the Web:

Friday, February 19, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Party Ideas

Whoop it up this St. Patrick's Day with fun ideas for party-goers of all ages who want to celebrate their Irish heritage or who just want to be Irish for a day! Below, find the fixin's for favorite party foods, drinks, decorating, games and activities, with related St. Paddy's Day party resources from around the Web ....

Irish Food & Fixin's

Boil up the traditional corned beef and cabbage with sides of potatoes, carrots (and lots of butter) or head off the main road to serve an old-fashioned Irish Lamb Stew, or Colcannon (in the UK it's called "bubble and squeak'). If you're really feeling your oats, how about a traditional Shepherd's Pie made with chunks of lamb and vegetables?

Goin' Green

A splash o' green on party streamers, tableclothes and tableware will get guests in the mood for some serious St. Patrick's Day partyin'! Have plenty of green food dye to color the beer and other St. Patrick's Day party drinks (and don't forget a mug of Irish coffee for dessert!)

And what would St. Patrick's Day be without an authentic recipe for Irish soda bread?

St. Patrick's Day Songs, Games and Activities

Get them rolling in the aisles with an Irish Jig Dance Off with prizes for the best, most creative or funniest interpretation set to traditional Irish music on the CD player.

A round of Irish trivia is always fun, or get your guests moving at a St. Patrick's Day scavenger hunt with Irish-themed items hidden about the house. Of course, for a real authentic party atmosphere, decorate a part of the house to look like an Irish pub and let the darts game tournament begin!

Meanwhile, you can keep the little ones busy with downloadable St. Patrick's Day coloring pages, puzzles and craft activities. Just for laughs, also get the adults involved in constructing a Leprechaun trap that's easily made with a cardboard box and an old shoe!

Send guests home extra happy with party goodie bags filled with a combination of treats to take with them including shamrock plants, gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins, green mint candies, shamrock stickers, or "Kiss Me I'm Irish" pins.

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

More about St. Patrick's Day party ideas around the Web:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Valentine's Day Party Ideas

Are you planning an intimate romantic dinner for two? Or an all-out Valentine's Day party for friends and family?

Either way, you can use these tips and ideas for a memorable Valentine's Day celebrations that are both fun and romantic:

If you're planning a special Valentine's night dinner for your special honey, all the decorations you'll probably need are vases of red roses and a few votive candles to set the mood.

For a larger crowd, break out the red hearts and balloons. And no Valentine's Day party would be complete without a cute, mischievous Cupid included in a party table centerpiece.

For a romantic dinner menu, be sure to include traditional aphrodisiacs including clam or oyster appetizers, asparagus, artichokes, arugula or avocado salad, or ANY dish made with truffles!

Plan on serving Wine or champagne for an extra festive Valentine's Day. Kick off your grand night of celebrating by having the bar stocked with ingredients to make classic romantic cocktails such as a Kir Royale, The Red Kiss or Death by Chocolate.

Set the mood by loading up the CD with romantic songs just right for Valentine's Day or browse romantic music compilations to download online.

For a big, festive red-and-white themed dinner for friends and family go with what else? - Italian - featuring savory spaghetti marinara dishes, or elegant shrimp scampi. For a larger group, nothing's easier than a big heaping pan of lasgna or baked ziti.

Looking for Valentine’s Day dessert ideas? For a red-and-white theme, red velvet cake is a sensuous and eye-popping favorite. If in doubt, think chocolate: as in chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate cake, chocolate fondue and chocolate heart-shaped cookies.

Party favors? Send guests home happy with small, inexpensive sample boxes of Godiva chocolate (fancily tied with a red ribbon) always make for a perfect Valentines Day favor. Also
consider making a custom mix of red hots, chocolate kisses. and "Be Mine" candies wrapped in red cellophane for guests to take home as a sweet memory of your Valentines Day bash.

More about Valentine's Day party ideas, menus & recipes around the Web: