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Saturday, March 22, 2014

party on - Aurelie Swasey - Jessie cowgirl party

Aurelie Swasey is quite the party planner! 
She has created such a beautiful and fun cowgirl horse party for her daughter's sixth birthday party. Check it out!

1. What was this party's theme and the age of your child? 
The specific party I chose was Lilly's Jessie the Cowgirl themed party and she was 6.

2. How far in advance before the party did you start researching ideas, planning, etc.? 
I usually start brainstorming a couple months prior. Of course I usually have an idea based on what they're into at the time. I start looking online at ideas two months before and a month before I start buying the supplies and making the crafts.

3. Where did you find your inspiration, ideas? Any good Web sites, books, etc. you used for ideas? 
I find my inspiration from what my girls are most into at the time of their birthday. Lilly's been into horses for years. When she was quite little she took a liking to Jessie from Toy Story and the love grew from there. Before Pinterest I'd just Google ideas on the web. Now Pinterest is my go-to for party planning. 

4. What words did you want to describe this party? 
The words I'd use to describe the Jessie party would be dress up, country, hands on.

5. Why did you choose this particular theme this year for your child's party? 
Like I said Lilly's really into horses. And once I started looking into ideas and brainstorming activities I started thinking pony rides as an activity.

6. Where did you get the supplies- decorations, paper products, etc.? 
I usually get my supplies and decorations at IParty/ now party city, Celebrate Express online and sometimes paper goods and smaller things like some of the favors at Dollar Store.  

7. Did you do treat bags for the kids? If so, what and where did you get them? 
I did do treat boxes for the kids, I got them from The stuff I filled them with were from IParty at the time. I got the foam hats, bandana's and the foam frame crafts from Michael's.

8. How did you invite people to the party - paper in the snail mail invitation, Evite, email, FB event invitation, etc.? What worked or didn't work with this way of inviting people? And about how many people did you invite, why? 
I create an event on Facebook for family and immediate friends and I email any classmates. The Facebook event works the best. In the past couple of years I've stopped bothering with paper card invites because they make a good save the date but people lose them and you end up having to call everyone in the end after all. The emails and Facebook invites work the best. 

9. Did you have any games at your party? If so, let us know how they went. 
At this specific party we had pony rides because it was right at a horse stable/ farm. Usually I do games, for Lilly's more recent birthday we did a Halloween theme and I had jars of candy that kids had to guess the amount of and I made a witch hat ring toss game that was pretty awesome. Instead of games at this party the kids wore bandanas and cowboy hats and we took a picture of each child on the horse. After they all got their rides they came in and we did a foam frame craft. While I helped them create their frames my brother printed each picture and we then put the picture in each frame to send home with each child. 

10. Where did you hold the party, and how did that work, pros and cons of having it at this location? 
We had the party at Lyman Hill Farm.

It was amazing! It was very, very affordable. I found the $200 for 2 hours to be much better than a lot of the other places we'd held out parties and this place did an amazing job. We set up, because I wanted to buy all the supplies, though I believe this venue has a package where they can include the paper goods and supplies right into the package. I wanted it more personalized. They had a nice party room, outside the kids could pat the horses. The owner let the kids help brush the horses that were going to be giving the children rides. There was a nice arena for the rides to take place in. No matter the weather the party would have been fine, none of it was directly outside, though it was beautiful the day of our party and our guests were sitting in adirondack chairs outside so it was wonderful.

11. How did the party run, the agenda of when you did things (cake before presents? snacks and treats before cake?)? 
We did cake and presents after all our activities. I think we always do cake first and presents last. We also had pizza for our guests.

12. What time was the party? Why did you choose that time, and did it work out well or not? 
Our party was at noon. For my more recent parties we do 1pm. I find that since the girls are in school now it's easier on me to do the parties after lunch so the kids have been fed and then have snacks, drinks and cake.

13. Thing you are most proud of about this party and why? 
The thing I was most proud of from this party was my tables scape. The room was absolutely beautiful and I really loved how the table came out. I also loved how the venue tied so well into the theme. Above the table were all the horses ribbons and it looked beautiful.

14. How do you think your child enjoyed this party? 
My daughter absolutely loved this party. She got to see horses up close and it was all very safe, clean and organized. I felt very stress free for this party! It was very well planned! 
15. Anything else you want to share about party planning in general, or advice to others about planning a child's party? 
My biggest piece of advice for planning a child's birthday is to plan ahead. When I wait til the last minute I'm stressed out to my max. 

We live in a townhouse so we always have to rent a hall or venue. We've done the Mason hall, The rec department, the Pavillion at Frost Tufts, we've done it all. Having to rent a hall can get pricey. Especially when you still have to buy all the supplies and provide activities. If you're renting a hall make sure you have games and crafts or the kids will end up just running around and yelling. 

I try to keep my parties on a schedule and have constant activities you're doing. I think the max time for a party should be 2 hours for your sanity and the parents that have to come. More than 2 hours and kids just start getting bored and running around. 

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