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You don’t have to be tech savvy to use the internet to help you with your next party. Here’s how to plan a party with social media – and maybe even save a little money.
It’s unbelievable how much the humble birthday party has changed.
Here’s a family photo at one of our parties when I was a kid. (Arrow points me out in the good looking group.)[/caption]When I was a kid birthdays were celebrated with the family or perhaps with a slumber party with one or two friends.
My grandmother baked a layer cake and inserted coins in the center for good luck and one piece of straw for bad luck. How we hated getting that straw in our slice of cake! That was considered an out-of-the-ordinary birthday cake back then.
When my kids were little, most families had the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, eat cake & open presents party. I was considered a party maven with my month-in-the-planning birthday extravaganzas like a Survivor Weekend, cowpoke party and birthday luau that are quite common now.
Today the sky is the limit when it comes to birthday parties! There is every theme imaginable, almost any public place can be a party venue – and when you want to stay home you can rent a party to come to you.
With all the changes to the humble birthday, one of the most advanced is how we plan a party. Through the internet we can discover new places to have our party, instructions to help us with the DIY party, freebies to save money and even send party invitations for an impromptu party happening the same day.
Finding a Venue
Parties are held at every restaurant, the movie theatre, at kid’s programs like gymnastics and dance studios, the bowling alley and more venues than can be listed here. You can even have the party come to you with bouncy castles or a petting zoo.
To know what is available in your area just type “birthday party” (or whatever you’re celebrating) and your city’s name in the URL bar or in the search box on Google.
You’ll find places and get ideas that you never thought possible with only your budget limiting your choices.
Finding a Party Theme
Pinterest is one of the best ways to discover new and interesting party themes. Check the Holidays & Events boards for the latest that others have pinned, and don’t forget to check with our Pinterest Inspiration Boards too!
Set up your own Pinterest board to save the ideas you find. If you use Chrome as a browser, download the Pin It Button so you can add things you find on the internet too.
Getting Ideas for Your Party
Once you’ve narrowed down your party theme to one topic it’s time for more brainstorming!
- Go to Pinterest and type your theme topic + “party” in the search box in the upper left-hand corner.
- Do the same at Google and check the first few search responses. To filter it further and save you time, check the Google images that came up in the search next.
You can’t have just one or two adults and a dozen kids. No way! You definitely need helpers. The best way to throw a party is to have a helper for each station or event and leave yourself free to move from one area to the other or have that person be your assistant to deal with the rowdy ones so there’s no distractions or mutiny.
While you’re planning your party activities, think about who would make a great helper for that particular event.
- Need a mascot such as someone to dress up as the Easter Bunny for your Easter Egg Hunt?
- Need someone to take photos of everyone acting crazy in the photo booth?
- Need someone to help kids do a craft or decorate cookies?
- Do you know someone who’d be great at organizing races or games?
If you have someone specific in mind, shoot them an email right away with the date of the party and details of what they’ll be expected to do.
If you don’t have someone, use social media to get volunteers!
- Email family and friends with a list of what you need them to do and the party date.
- Click the Facebook New Messages tab, type in the specifics of your plea, send to all your friends that you think would be willing to participate and ask them to “reply all” when they respond so everyone on the request list will know if you get enough volunteers. It’s also a great way to remind volunteers the day before the event.
- Create your own hashtag such as “#JaneWBirthdayParty” and keep in touch with everyone on Twitter to keep them in the loop, give them reminders, etc.
- You can use Instagram or email to post photos of the items you have for each volunteer’s station at the party or to explain exactly what you want them to do – tutorial style – in case they show up late on party day.
Today very few party invitations are sent through the post office. It’s the day of hand delivering 3D special invitations to those on the guest list. (Or kids hand out their invitations at school.)
Save yourself time and money – and keep track of the RSVPs – with social media.
- Email or send an ecard to guests that are in your email address book.
- Create a Facebook Event by clicking on the “create event” button and filling in the information fields to make sure they know the date, time, venue and other pertinent information. Add an interesting picture. Make sure you use the “Invite Only” selection in the privacy section or you may end up with more guests than you anticipated!
Party Photo Album
After – or even during the party – you can create a social media photo album to share with all the guests who attended and family members who weren’t able to attend.
- Upload your photos to Flickr and tag them all the same with something like “Jane’s Awesome Birthday Party” or create a set so you can have a slideshow of all the party pictures. Click the “Actions” button and then the “Add Note” button and then you can share your funny insights on what’s happening in the photo with readers when they put their cursor over the photo.
- Create a party album on Facebook.
- Upload photos to Instagram.
- Share photos on Twitter too!
I hope this list of ways social media can make your party planning easier helps you and by the way – have a great party!
Over to You
Have you used social media to plan a party before? Do you post your party pics on Facebook or Instagram for everyone to see?
Why, or why not?
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Once a week we'll tell you the upcoming daily celebrations & the articles you may have missed.