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Childrens Football Parties:
Planning

As with anything, the better you plan your party, the better it will turn out. This is especially true where children are involved. There's nothing worse than being faced with twenty eager seven year olds, all asking you "What are we going to do now?", and suddenly realising that you can't answer them!

It's always better to plan to have too much of everything - if the party is two hours, have three hours worth of activities prepared, just in case. Have alternative foods and drinks ready if possible, as you can almost guarantee that there'll be someone who doesn't like something! And if you have too many balloons, party plates or banners, is that better or worse than not having enough?

So we've tried to put together an "ideal party planner" in some sort of chronological order. Obviously, not everything will be relevant to every party, so ignore anything you don't need. But we hope the following advice is helpful in the majority of cases. And if you have any great party planning tips you'd like to share with us, please do get in touch.

Party Planning - 3-4 weeks in advance

Three to four weeks before the event, you should think through the basic "W's":

  • Why - what is the reason for the party? Is it a special event, such as someone's birthday? Or is it the middle of the school holidays and you just need something to do to stop the kids (and you!) from going mad?!
  • Where - where will the party happen? Is it something you can accommodate in your back garden? Or do you need to find a venue that is large enough for them to carry out all the activities you have in mind, without breaking anything? What happens if it rains - do you have somewhere you can go inside?
  • When - What date? What time? How long will it last? How long beforehand do you need to allow to set everything up? How long should you allow for tidying up afterwards? Make sure you allow time for all the preparation, and have a rough timing plan for the day. It's no good getting in from work at 6.30pm for an evening event, and then start to panic because there isn't time to do everything!
  • What - what is involved in your party? Food? Drink? Nibbles? Other activities? Make an outline list of everything you will need.
  • Who - who would you like to invite to the party? How many guests will the venue hold?

Once you've thought through the rough plan for the event, the key actions to take at this stage are:

  • Book the venue
  • Send out the invitations, to make sure your guests have the party in their diaries

Party Planning - 2 weeks in advance

With two weeks to go, it's time to really focus on the what and the who of your party:

  • Follow up your invitations with any guests who haven't replied
  • If some of your guests can't make the party, now's the time to invite extra ones as "replacements" if you want to
  • Draw up a detailed list of everthing you need, under the following headings:
  • Go shopping! Anything non-perishable can be bought in advance, leaving you fewer last minute worries
  • Anything that you're ordering online should be ordered now, to allow plenty of time for delivery
  • If you're hiring glasses in - many supermarkets now offer this service - it's a good idea to book them well in advance
  • If you're going to be cooking "unfamiliar" recipes, why not have a "dry run" on your family, so it's a little less daunting on the big day?

Remember - if your party is themed around a specific team or nation, we have plenty of ideas for food, drink, decorations, etc on each team's page. Just click here for a list of teams we have pages for!

Party Planning - 1-2 days in advance

Now's the time to put your plan into action, and make sure there is as little as possible to do at the last minute - you don't really want to be icing the cake while the kids are all queueing up for their slice!

  • Go shopping - all remaining items - especially the perishable food items - need to be bought now
  • Pick up glasses if you are hiring them, and goal nets or anything else you're borrowing or hiring for the event
  • Make sure your fridge and drinks cabinet are fully stocked!
  • Get all the decorations ready - if the party is in your own home, you can put them up as early as you want!
  • Any food preparation that can be done in advance - e.g. baking, slicing, chopping, grating etc - can be done now
  • Work out a detailed timing plan for the "big day":
    • Work out how long any food you are preparing will take to cook.
    • Work backwards from the time your guests will arrive to ensure you leave plenty of time.
    • Make sure you allow extra time for serving, laying things out, unexpected events, etc

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