DIY birthday party timeline

A stack of bright gift boxes perfectly isolated on a white backgroundIt is Party Time!

You have been planning your party for some time now and the big day is getting close and you may be wondering what to do when on the party day.

We have put together a handy guide for a party timeline that will ensure maximum enjoyment for you and the party guests should you choose to get stuck in and run the party yourself:

DIY party time line:

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1 hour before

Arrive at your party venue one hour to 45 minutes before your party starts (invitation start time).

This allows you plenty time to unload the car, plan and do your room layout, put decorations up and prepare for your guests’ arrival.

10 minutes before

Be ready for your first guests. You are likely to have some early arrivers and you want to be ready to welcome them and not still rushing around getting table cloths on the table.

Party start time

At the actual start time you will have the bulk of your guests arriving. Greet and welcome them with the birthday star next to your side so that he/she can receive gifts and welcome his/her friends.

10 minutes in

Most of your guest will have arrived by now. It is time to start engaging your children with some activity.

Party games works well as it allows for latecomers to join in the activity without missing too much.

Pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, the tray game, sleeping lions, follow my leader are all games that are great to start with.

30 minutes in

By now all your guests will have arrived. This is the ideal time to move into more active games/activities.

Here are some ideas:

  • Treasure Hunt
  • Musical Statues
  • Musical Bumps
  • Musical Chairs

1 hour in

Time for a break. This is the ideal time to serve your party food and drinks. We have learned that is works best to have food at a specific time rather than having it available all the time. It makes having party food special and eliminates spills and mess as all the children are seated together around a table.

45 minutes till the end of the party

Cake time! Gather all your guests around (grownups as well) for the singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ and blowing out the candles. This focuses everyone’s attention on the birthday star for this all important moment.

40 minutes of party time left

For the next half an hour, engage the children with dancing, interactive songs (like the Gangnam Style/Fast Food Song/Music Man/Cha Cha Slide/Head Shoulders Knees and Toes/Conga and so on).

You could give prizes out for i.e. the silliest dancer, the best dressed (if it’s a fancy dress party), the best singer etc. 

10 minutes left

Time to wrap up and get ready to send guests off. 

Parents will be arriving back if they have left their kids. Get the birthday star to handout party bags or giveaways to the guests and thank them for coming.

Party finished!

Well done! You have done it… your party was a success!

Now for the cleanup… phew!

Venues will often request that tables and chairs are stacked/placed back like you found them and that the floor is swept.

Allow at least half an hour after the last guests have left to clear away before going home for a well deserved rest.


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