Most Loved Sites (for Children’s Parties)

Little people deserve big parties! Check out this list of Most Loved Sites to find the perfect piñata, tassel garland, DIY balloon arch, and other unique goodies for children’s parties.

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meri meri

Meri Meri is my all-time favorite party supply store, for children’s parties and even for celebrations of my own.

Meri Meri Party and Gifts

The site is playful but refined, with so many unique party themes to choose from.

Check out their hanging decorations, and elevated tableware. Fun fact, I actually used their plates, napkins, cups and cutlery for my Twenty Fifth Birthday Bash! It was very Katy Perry meets California girls, so flamingo themed tableware was a must!

I love their pre-designed party sets like the one pictured below.

If you’re short on time, take a look at their Party in a Box collections.

They have all of the essential supplies for themed celebrations, like Mermaid in a Box (such a sweet collection!). Most boxes are prepared for up to eight people, so make sure that you select the right quantity of boxes, depending on the guest count.

clafoutis creations

Children’s parties made elegant. Clafoutis Creations is a wonderland of whimsy, from enchanting tableware to pretty party supplies, with tons of themes to choose from.

One of my Most Loved Sites for Children's Parties is Clafoutis Creations. Pictured: Pink and Silver Sparkle Birthday Candle Set

Find cupcake kits in an animal parade theme, iridescent confetti fit for a swan lake theme, hyper-stylized paper goods, everything you need for gifting, and enough accessories to please even the pickiest of kids.

Busy parents – turn to Clafoutis Creations when you’re looking to find more than the standard set of matching plates and cups. It offers unique touches that really pull a party together.

Three small square circus tents in whimsical linear patterns with blue, pink, green and gold color schemes. Glitter and rose petals flood the background.

candy warehouse

Because, what’s a party without candy?

If your eyes are set on a candy bar, sweets to include in favor bags, or if you plan to incorporate candy into a tablescape design, chances are you’ll need a lot of it. Candy Warehouse offers a wide range of bulk candies in varying quantities and flavors, with the option to select unwrapped or wrapped candy.

Candy Warehouse is one of my Most Loved Sites for Children's Parties. Pictured: Pink and white candy display in vessels of varying heights.

They carry well known brands like Hershey’s and novelty ones like eFrutti (home of the gummy hot dog, hamburger and pizza). If you’re sticking to a specific color scheme, this site also offers a shop by color option, which even includes metallic, rainbow and pastel categories.

Different types of yellow candy

I find it SO MUCH EASIER to buy candy in bulk, online, and find the exact type and quantity that I’m looking for, versus making a trip to a store that offers fewer and more costly options. The value is unmatched!

Rainbow swirl lollipop sticks

ellie and piper

Chic party supplies with a boutique feel. Ellie and Piper partners with brands like Talking Tables, My Mind’s Eye, Harlow & Grey, Knot and Bow, and so many other stylish stores.

Ellie and Piper is one of my Most Loved sites for Children's Parties. Pictured: Pastel drink umbrellas in blue, green, yellow, orange, red and pink

There’s a sassy, upbeat energy to the products on this site. They’ve made an appearance at many of the parties I’ve planned for the little ones in my clients’ lives. Find balloons, decorations and tableware on this site, pre-sorted by category. Or, browse inspiration on their Instagram for loads of theme and installation ideas.

This is also a sweet site for gift ideas that fly under the radar. A curated collection of wooden toys, activity kits, art supplies, and unique bags live here!

A pastel rainbow with wooden dowels displays pink strawberry frosted donuts with gold sprinkles

maisonette

Another one of my Most Loved Sites for Children’s Parties is Maisonette – it’s cuteness overload! They carry apparel, toys and furniture for little ones, but the Birthday Party Shop is where it’s at.

Maisonette is a favorite for knick knacks like unicorn brooches, stickers, favor supplies, candles, crowns and many more fun finds. They sell brands like Meri Meri, Handstand Kitchen, and bling2o. It’s a super turnkey site for games that entertain an active audience!

Maisonette is one of my Most Loved Sites for Children's Parties. Pictured: Pink, green, silver and gold unicorn accessory set. Includes headband, necklaces, hair clips, and hair ties

If you’re in the market for the sweetest tutus, Maisonette also sells iloveplum, which is an absolute need-to-know for princesses, fairies, and ballerinas alike. They also carry other brands for costuming, like Lovelane for little mermaids and super heroes, and Great Pretenders for dinosaurs and pirates. It’s one of the first places that I turn to, especially when outfitting is involved!

Mauve tutu onesie for baby by i love plum

oh happy day

This site is PURE JOY. Giant round balloon kits? Check. Cute message boards? Check. Out of the box tabletop supplies like superhero bolt party cups? Check. Neon cactus and rainbow lights? Check. Ok, I’ll stop now.

Oh Happy Day is one of my Most Loved Sites for Children's Parties. Pictured: Colorful rainbow balloons

Oh Happy Day is actually divided into two different sites, a blog and an e-commerce shop. The blog is a great resource for kids craft ideas, printables and DIY projects, while the shop is a hub for modern party supplies. Sort by color and find all-things metallic or filter through decor to find goodies like party fans, horns, stirrers, banners and garlands.

Pro-Tip: Skip the assembly process and opt for pre-made favor kits. Each kit comes with all you need for one favor bag, featuring nostalgic toys, candy and games. Think: Slinky, Pop Rocks, Rubik’s Cube… the works!

Oh Happy Day Favor Kits
Favor kit materials, including mini ping pong paddles, Pop Rocks candy, stickers, and other goodies

Red Bubble sells cute and protective masks that are perfectly sized for kiddos.

Consider purchasing a variety of masks in the theme or color scheme of your child’s party, and leave them in a basket or tray for little ones to pick up on their way into the party. Safety is always first!

If you liked this post, view more of my go-to’s on the Most Loved Sites series.


Visit DylansCandyBar.com

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Building the Perfect Welcome Bag

A guide to an all time favorite topic, welcome bags! From whether or not you need one, to which guests receive them, how much to budget, what contents to purchase, how to assemble the final gifts and tips for staying organized on delivery day. It’s everything you need to know on building the perfect welcome bag. Let’s jump in!

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To Do or Not To Do

The first thing to note, is that it’s absolutely not necessary or expected to distribute welcome bags. Guests that choose to stay overnight are looking forward to joining in your celebration, and not anticipating any kind of gifting experience in return.

The primary reason that past clients have opted to distribute welcome bags, is due to the number of out of town guests that require overnight accommodations prior to the event day. If guests are staying more than one night, some clients will also opt for turndown gifts in guest rooms.

Welcome and turndown gifts usually coincide with hotel blocks and villa rentals. So, if we’re arranging overnight accommodations for anywhere from 15-20% of out of town guests, they are usually given welcome gifts. They are almost inevitable for destination events, when the majority of guests travel domestically or internationally for a celebration.

Building the Perfect Welcome Bag for Destination Weddings and Events. Pictured: Plane traveling through pink and blue ombre sky
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

How Much Does it Cost?

Depending on the number of guests receiving welcome bags, the cost of contents can accumulate quickly. Budget restraints are perhaps the most common reason why some clients decide to nix them altogether. Generally speaking, welcome gifts can average between $15 – $100+ per bag, for the vessel and the contents.

The variance in price is contingent on a number of factors:

  • Cost to hire a company to curate contents, assemble and distribute bags (there are some AMAZING companies out there, but this service doesn’t come cheap!)
  • Fees imposed by the hotel to hold and distribute bags (typically $1 per bag, but some properties will charge more)
  • Range, type and quantity of contents
  • Paperie enclosures (think: welcome notes, itineraries, maps, suggested activities / restaurants to try during down time)

Contents

NecessitiesSnacks!Fun Stuff
Basics:
Welcome note, water, mints
Fresh bakedApparel, or accessories like sunglasses
Warm Weather Essentials:
Sunscreen, insect repellent, chapstick
SeasonalGames / Activities:
Think: golf balls or a deck of cards
Travel Goodies:
Aspirin, antihistamines, mini toiletries
Locally madeMini bottle of bubbly

Think about little luxuries that guests can use in the event environment. Solemates are always well received by guests that wear heels to outdoor weddings or events.

These heel protectors are designed to prevent heels from sinking into grass or cobblestone and inevitably getting ruined.

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Reminders

Keep it Authentic Don’t Go Overboard
Stay true to the locationNice to have vs. need to have
Locally crafted or inspired bag / box
(think: pretty & functional)
Quality > quantity
Contents that speak to the destination or represent the host
(add a touch of personalization here!)
Ask yourself, “Would I use this?”
Sweets and other edible contents are perfect items to include when building a welcome bag. Pictured: Robbin's egg blue ribbon with blue and pink macaroons
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Assembly

Track the quantity of guests slated to receive welcome gifts within a separate column in your guest list spreadsheet.

The general rule of thumb is one bag per room. Although, some clients will purchase two of certain items, particularly water bottles or apparel / accessory items, such as baseball caps or luggage tags. Paper goods can definitely be limited to one per bag.

Pick a spacious room in your home to spread out all of the contents and take Inventory. Once everything is accounted for, remove any wrapping, stickers, or tags from the items. Form an assembly line, placing all of the bags in the beginning, then organize the contents in piles, followed by paper goods, and final touches like ribbon at the end. One by one, complete the bags by following the assembly line.

Pro-Tip: It can be tedious process to assemble bags all in one day. Spread out the workload over the course of a few days to make sure each bag is assembled correctly, without any stickers left unturned or contents left out.

If you’re planning a destination event, it’s not advisable to pre-assemble welcome bags and ship them to the destination (cost being the number one factor, plus items can shift in the delivery process). Work with the event manager to ensure they will accept and store deliveries of the items at the destination, shipped directly from the source. Ask the hotel to confirm receipt and label boxes on your behalf.

Plan to arrive to the destination at least a full day in advance to unbox, unwrap, and prepare the bags. Trust me – this process takes a lot more time than one might anticipate, and the more time to prep, the better. It’s ideal to reserve a conference room for assembly, as there’s typically not enough space in guest rooms for a project of this size!

The Beverly Hills Hotel
Photo by Erica Zhao on Pexels.com

Getting Gifts to Guests

This phase is best left to an event planner, especially for weddings. If you don’t have a planner, delegate this task to a trusted relative or reliable member of the bridal party. It’s not the kind of task you want to do the day before an event!

Request the reservation list from hotels with room blocks arrangements, and triple confirm the number of guest rooms coincide with the quantity of welcome gifts for each location. Work with the group sales manager to identify which rooms will receive gifts. Confirm if they charge a holding or distribution fee, and inquire if guests will need to mention the hotel block to receive their gift upon check in, or if gifts will be placed in guest rooms prior to their arrival.

If you know of certain guests that are staying at rental properties, reach out to confirm where they’re staying and when they’re checking in. Create an itinerary of your drop off route to save time, along with addresses and whom to contact upon arrival.

If a welcome party is hosted prior to the event, it can often be easiest to distribute the gifts as guests depart that initial celebration, especially if guests are spread across various lodging facilities.

Then, celebrate the completion of a massive undertaking – You’ve earned it after this process!

Champagne toast
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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Seven Ways to Prepare for an Amazing Event

When you think of a successful event, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s the canapés during cocktail hour (one of my favorite parts), the great entertainment that kept you on the dance floor until the bitter end, or the design that transported you to a different time and place. If it caught your attention, just know that the devil was most certainly in the details, and thoughtful planning during the lead time was key. Follow these seven ways to prepare for an amazing event, and create experiences that resonate with your guests, long after your party concludes.

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Create a Deck

Event Decks, usually created on PowerPoint, serve as a visual representation of an event from start to finish.

They include inspiration images that help flush out concepts before plans are put into action. Decks later house pictures of purchases and inventory grouped together to create vignettes, and act as a centralized place of reference on the overall design scheme.

For a deep dive on how to build an event deck and the advantageous of creating one, click here.

Imagine the Event Flow

Picture the event as if it were actually happening (talking through it out loud or with a friend can be helpful too). I usually sit down at a computer with the event deck on presentation mode, and pitch each slide from start to finish.

As I take myself through the flow, I consider the amount of time and labor required for set up, and for transitions during the event itself. I pose questions like, “who’s doing that,” “how is that happening,” or “when would this make the most sense,” and jot down notes on logistics.

Walking through the flow provides an opportunity to anticipate guest needs, and prepare for possible scenarios that guests may encounter. This reduces the chances of troubleshooting during the event itself.

Own Your Timeline

This is arguably the most important document in the planning process, and essential to the success of an event. It typically kicks off when load in or set up for an event begins, and ends when the last vendor departs and strike concludes.

Timelines don’t only keep your event partners, venue and planning team running on schedule during an event, they also act as a steady stream of consciousness when deciding on the best time for deliveries, when a space should be show-ready for your photographer to take room shots, or when a toast should begin.

Owning your timeline means that you’ll make thoughtful and intentional decisions as to how the event unfolds, in a way that creates a more enjoyable experience for you and your guests.

It also means that on the event day, you may not even need to reference the timeline because you know it all by heart (though, if you’re like me, you’ll probably check it anyway).

Maintain an Inventory List

It can be overwhelming to track and account for purchases once the ball is rolling and dozens of orders have been placed.

I’ve made the mistake of relying on email confirmations and shipment notifications alone to check the box that an item has been taken care of, and remove it from my to-do list without a second thought. It’s then frustrating when an item doesn’t appear in the box I expected it to, and I need to problem solve quickly to get that item in time for an event.

Queue the solution; an Inventory List that acts as a safety net, to ensure nothing slips through the cracks when it comes time to build an event environment.

Stage Event Materials

Stage event supplies all in one place, and organize them by section.

Think in terms of the event environment, and which items comprise each vignette. Keep supplies like food and beverage related items together (cocktail napkins, tableware, drink dispensers, straws, signature drink signage).

It’s helpful to reference your Event Deck to confirm where each item is intended to live. This allows for a turnkey set up process on the event day itself, and eliminates confusion or extra time trying to sort out where something is.

If space allows, take this one step further, and organize materials sequentially to coincide with the event flow. Start with items that might comprise a welcome moment and represent guest arrival, and move towards the next category that’s specific to your event, ending with guest gifts. This is a great way to triple check that all items are accounted for, and reveal any last minute purchases that need to be made.

Get Ahead of It

Use post-it notes to identify the purpose of each container, vessel, or tray. Unbox new shipments, remove labels, and assemble as much as you can in advance. Check off tasks sooner rather than later, and the days leading up to the event will be a breeze.

Group together your outfit in one section of the closet a few weeks out from the event. Remove the tags from any new clothes, and wash or dry clean, and iron or steam garments as necessary.

Gather shoes, jewelry and other accessories in a dedicated location for easy access on the event day. Make sure to try it all on, to identify any adjustments that need to be made.

Set Calendar Notifications

For Vendors: As soon as you sign a contract, plug the payment due dates into your calendar. Receive alerts when final payments are due to event partners, or when a cutoff date falls to make a decision (such as when the guest list is due to the calligrapher, or when menu selections are due to the caterer). This safeguards against incurring rush fees, or late payment fees imposed by vendors for missing contract deadlines.

For quick reference on the event day, add calendar entries of delivery windows for rentals, food and beverage, ice or any other deliveries that you anticipate. I always include the main contact and driver’s cell phone numbers in the notes section, incase a delivery is running late.

For Yourself: Build in reminders for personal tasks that can otherwise fall to the wayside when setting up an event. Carve out time for coffee breaks, lunch, an outfit change and refresh before the event starts to make sure these things actually happen!


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