Anne Ligeard Murat is the owner of Clafoutis, a children’s party styling company and e-boutique. Clafoutis, a simple but luxurious French dessert that uses but a few ingredients yet brings them together phenomenally, inspired the name of her company, as did her grandmother: “We used to bake clafoutis at her house in the summer. She was a very stylish woman. She did everything very simply and elegantly.”
Murat launched Clafoutis last September, because she felt that “mothers around [her] were very stressed about throwing the party, instead of being excited about it.” She provides two types of services: full party planning and catering. “I am not a wedding planner,” she says. “I do things simply but I bring elegance and organization.” The business also has an online boutique, where moms can buy lovely and unique party supplies they can reuse.
So we’re lucky to have Murat share tips and kids birthday party ideas with us! Read on for her great kids’ party ideas. And flip through the slideshow to see some of the gorgeous parties Clafoutis has created in the past! —Hally Wolhandler
ANNE LIGEARD MURAT’S KIDS’ BITHDAY PARTY IDEAS AND TIPS
Choose A Theme.
First things first! The most exciting part is helping your child choose a fun and age-appropriate theme. Encourage your child to be creative by suggesting ideas—think of their favorite books, colors, and hobbies. Select three colors or an odd number of colors to work with—it will be more pleasing to the eye. Don’t cry if they set their hearts on one of the popular licensed characters (not naming any names!) You will find a way to please your child and still be happy with the look of the party yourself.
Choose The Venue.
If you would like to be creative, try to find a venue that will give you some freedom in terms of setting up and decorations. Whenever possible I encourage parents to organize the party at home—children love it and it builds wonderful childhood memories.
Send A Save The Date.
As soon as you’ve decided on a date, send a quick email to all the guests to ask them to save the date for your child’s party. Give them basic information such as the time and perhaps the theme to build some excitement. Say that the invitations will be mailed later—no need to ask for RSVPs at this time.
For children who are in school, it’s always a good thing to ask the teachers if any of their classmates have birthdays around the same time. You don’t want to find out too late that you are planning a party on the same day as another classmate.
Prepare The Invitations.
I am a firm believer of mailed invitations! It’s a treat for the little guests to receive a beautiful invitation in the mail. Children enjoy the anticipation of the party and upon arrival they are easily carried away by the theme. Remember children’s imaginations are so vivid—they are not as literal as adults. (Provide leis and they are in Hawaii!) Encourage the children to dress to party!
A Few Points on the Invitations:
1. Our e-Petite Boutique carries gorgeous fill-in invitations.
2. Etsy has numerous vendors offering printed invitations or digital files for you to print yourself.
3. Minted.com offers a great selection of customized invitations with or without pictures.
4. Custom work requires a few weeks—so be sure to plan ahead.
5. Send the invitations about two weeks before the party.
Prepare For The Party!
It’s fun to build an inspiration board on Pinterest or to have a little notebook to record or sketch any ideas for the party—it will be a lovely keepsake for later on. You can also check Clafoutis’ boards on Pinterest for inspiration.
Shop for pretty supplies for the kids’ table but keep your theme and—most importantly—your colors in mind. Our e-Petite Boutique will help you bring that little je ne sais quoi to your party. You can shop by theme or colors.
It’s always a good idea to have designated seats. Children love to see their names—it will help everyone get settled more quickly around the table—and ensure the best seat for the birthday girl or boy. Using sticker pennants with names on paper straws is really cool, for example.
Prepare a menu with attractive and delicious food. Any thing bite-sized or on a stick is very popular with children and parents. There should be a big focus on the cake! Prepare a beautiful buffet table to display the food and use the cake as the centerpiece.
Hang decorations for a festive look. I love tassel garlands and I am very much inspired by the work of Confetti System. Colored tissue paper and mylar will be your best friends!
Keep your little guests busy but don’t overwhelm them. Prepare and write the schedule of the party and stick to it. For example, for a party of one and a half hours, start with simple and short activity to occupy the first guests while everybody arrives—like coloring, stickers etc.—for about fifteen minutes. Then the main games and activities last 45 minutes after that. Snacks and cake will take up the following half hour.
For the cake, choose a thoughtful favor that the children will enjoy at home and provide them with a memento of the wonderful experience they have had at the party. It doesn’t have to be expensive but package it beautifully. A cookie cuter in the shape that complements the party’s theme—with a nametag attached with a lovely ribbon—is a charming gift.
Send a hand-written thank you note to everyone within a week of the party. Involve your child in the process as much as possible—encourage them to draw a picture or write their name. They will never forget this lesson in good manners—soon your child will be writing thank you notes to Santa and the Tooth Fairy!