Planning Eric's 2nd Birthday Party | Just Add Ginger

When Ryan first mentioned the idea of throwing an actual birthday party for Eric I was not keen. Last year we just had friends and family round to the house. There was food, there was chatting, there was a plethora of toys for Eric to play with. It was informal. It was easy. 

But an actual birthday party? In a hall? Where you are a little bit out of control of how things will come together on the day...? He had to be joking. It took quite a bit of initial arm twisting on Ryan's behalf but eventually I saw how it might make our lives easier. 

For starters - this is the first year Eric has got little friends. So instantly our guest list increased drastically. a majority of his friends are under 3 so having the space to entertain a troop of toddlers might be difficult in our house (plus you can never guarantee good weather in April.) Secondly if we booked a separate space for a party, there would be a definite start and end time. Guests would arrive, and then leave. Not that we don't like hosting people but after a party everyone is tired and undoubtedly we would want our own space to come back to that wasn't cluttered and in need of a clean. 

image shows toddler looking at camera and making a silly face

So the search began for the perfect place to host Eric's party. We had a few initial ideas after attending a few baby classes in church halls and after a quick text to a friend we quickly found and finalised a venue and a date. 

That was the easy bit. Next was trying to sort out entertainment...But just what do you do for a toddler's birthday party? Eric isn't really at an age to join in party games, wouldn't appreciate anybody who was dressed up and is a bit young for things like a swimming party. So actually trying to figure out what to have that would keep everyone occupied (especially the slightly older children who would be coming) was a bit of a stumbling point.

image shows a selection of soft play equipment set up for a party

Soft play seemed to be the most appealing option. There's nothing Eric loves more than going to soft play areas, climbing, jumping, sliding and causing absolute chaos so there was no doubt that at least where he was concerned, we would definitely get a lot of bang for our buck. After stumbling across a local company who seemed to offer everything we were looking for we put in some initial enquiries and waited to hear back. 

I'm not going to lie...this was probably the most stressful part of the whole party planning process, and it was partly due to the fact that I am a control freak when it comes to organisation and in an ideal world would have things sorted instantaneously. We sent off all the paperwork and finalised the details but after that there was nothing until the day before the party. And it just put me on edge. However, the company really came through on the day and were incredibly professional, setting up and packing away the equipment really efficiently. So in the end, all my fears were totally unfounded. 

Trying to organise the food was another stressful factor. Initially were going to order the main bulk of the food from Costco online. However, it got to the Thursday night before the party and the system was not offering us any collection dates until the week after. 

So in a panicked state, with 3% battery left on my phone, I scrambled onto the Tesco website and ordered anything that could be delivered the night before. It was the most decisive I've ever been and I had no idea really what I was ordering but on the day it all turned out amazingly. There were sandwiches, pizza, crisps, and then a designated treat table which held chocolate fingers, chocolate bars, jelly sweets, cake and popcorn (I just couldn't resist putting in my own Popcorn Shed order after being kindly gifted some of their tasty treats.*)

image shows a table covered with food - cakes, chocolate and sweets

image shows a toddler riding on a small plastic roller coaster

image shows a blue two tier birthday cake with a candle and snowman on top

After swearing blindly in the midst of the stress that Eric would never be having another birthday party, we pulled off everything perfectly. I bought a huge pack of balloons that we scattered around the room, hung banners and set up a colouring in table (which was a massive hit.) We bought a speaker from B&M and blasted out children's songs (and some for the adults too). We decided to do our gender reveal at the party so I bought a piƱata for the children to get involved with. One of our good friends made the birthday cake and we bought in a few extra toys from home that we thought were a bit more interactive. 

All in all I think we spent about £250 - £300 which may seem a bit extravagant but everybody had an amazing time. There was ample food and drink, the soft play was a massive hit with everyone and the speaker is going to live with us so is an investment in itself. And where we spent a lot on the party we didn't get Eric a lot of presents so put the money we would have spent into all those party essentials. 

I think a part of us wanted to make this birthday really special for him too. Because after this year he's going to be a big brother, and everything is going to change again.

* I have previously worked with Popcorn Shed and was gifted some of their products to feature in a blog post. However I paid for the popcorn for the party myself. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

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