How to plan a last minute birthday party & not die

So, you’re the princess of procrastination and you want to throw a birthday party? Oh, you want it to be tomorrow? Well, don’t worry because the queen of procrastination is here to help. I did it and you can too.

In order to pull this off your going to need money (this isn’t a party for $50 or less) and helpful friends. Lucky for me I have both. A friend of mine offered to make a photo banner for Lil’ J’s party and it was my favorite detail of the day!The first thing you need to do is grab a calendar. Identify the nearest holiday. That there is going to be your theme. Now if you happen to have the unfortunate luck of a birthday near Labor Day or a boy who’s not into a Valentines themed party, default to a beach/hula party. Just trust me on this one. Ours is obviously the 4th of July so stars and stripes it is.

Secondly, one word: Evites. It’s greener, and perfect with your in a pinch. I wanted a little more pizazz for my party so I looked at a few etsy designs for inspiration to make my own. I normally would consider buying the design but since I needed it LAST WEEK the turnaround times didn’t work for me.

Third, find a friend who is throwing a party the same day. Tell them that was the same time/place/theme you were thinking and bum off their party. I wish I was kidding.

Hopefully your kid has a summer birthday and you can easily host it at a pool or park. If think indoor, and easy. Whether its your house, a bounce house play land, or modern day Chuck-E Cheese (I don’t know why but those seem old school to me).

Scour Pinterest. Look for ideas involving your party theme. No, you aren’t going to be able to pull off half of these things, you waited too long. But find ONE easy thing you can pull off in about 15 minutes and do that. That’ll be your ticket to looking like you spent a long time planning this party.

4th of July food ideas via Pinterest via I’mSimplyMe

For me, I made a flag fruit kabob with marshmallows, strawberries and blueberries. These things got snatched up like hot cakes and every kept raving about how awesome I was for making them and asking “how do you have the time?!” Boy did I have them fooled!Next, hit up the Dollar Tree and to crazy getting all of your decor. Everything is a dollar do you don’t have to feel bad. Don’t forget to pick up your goody bag supplies.

Then, call in the catering. I called the local deli and when they informed me they needed 24-hours notice I told them my daughter’s birthday party was TODAY in my most desperate voice. They obliged. Score.

Next, as your running out the door to the party yourself, pick up some cupcakes and a personalized cake at your local bakery (they can personalize it while you wait). Homemade stuff is so overrated.

Show up to the party, set the food out and let the people entertain themselves at the pool, playground, or fun place your party is hosted.

Hopefully it works out as well for you as it did for me. A 4th of July theme was my “party theme lifeline” I thought I’d save for a year where I totally procrastinated and… I’ve now used it up on year two SO… Hopefully I’ll be better at least the next few years.

I wanted to do a school bus theme and rent a tumblebus but the only one I could find wasn’t available until way after her birthday and it was $200/hour. I thought I’d rather spend that kind of money once she’s old enough to remember. By the time I decided this it was end of June and I had a week to throw a 4th of July part or else it would be a 4th of July party AFTER the 4th and I’m not that bad.

All of Lil’ J’s friends showed up and despite the cloudy and windy weather for the first half of the party, everyone still had fun.

Lil’ J had a blast swimming with her daddy. And there was plenty of food and decorations. My ONLY regret was that I myself didn’t get to play with her as much as I would have wanted. I didn’t realize the pool closed at 7. That was just when everyone was leaving and I was thinking “ok now I’ll go swim with her.” Then they blew the whistles and it was time to go. Despite so much being taken care of, I still felt the need to play hostess and I probably played with my kiddo the least.

Not to say she didn’t have fun. At one point she ran up to me, gave me a big hug and said “Thank you mommy! Thank you mommy!” I got a lot of photos, and helped her drink all the juice and eat all the cake she wanted.

Good thing is her actual birthday is tomorrow (ok now it’s today), so I’ll have a chance to make up for it.

We are in Utah this whole week for a family reunion (sans husband, so pregnancy is a definite NO this month). I’m excited for her to play with her extended family she rarely gets to see. Including one of her aunts who flew in from Atlanta for EFY this week. Family events like these were fun as a kid then got less entertaining the older I got. Now that I have my own kid to bring, it’s fun again.

Tomorrow (ok so technically now since I’m still awake) is her big day! I won’t be sad. I can’t be sad.

Happy birthday baby girl. I promise next year I’ll get a head start on your party planning!

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Cat says:

Happy birthday to the little one –

Love the blog and the new layout is awesome =)

I’ve been stalking your blog for a little while – (I stumbled over it looking for cute tips to launch into baby-making with hubbie – not persuaded him yet!) but I’ve stuck around for all the craft tips and your great writing =) I’ve got my first sewing lesson tomorrow – as I’m gonna keep busy while waiting for a yes – and I love all the little outfits you sew for her ladyship 🙂

Thanks for helping keep me sane =)

You procrastinator…you. You work well at the last minute. I may steal that kabob idea! Happy Birthday to lil J!

Natalie says:

Happy Birthday to your LO and happy “birth” day to you! Hope you have a good trip! Sending baby dust your way for next month!

Laura says:

YAY! You did a fantastic job for doing this the DAY OF! I could NOT have pulled that off! The banner was my favorite detail too…;)

Great theme! Glad it turned out well. Lil J looks like she had a fab time too. She looks more and more like you everyday.

Sharon says:

You’re awesome!! There is NO way I could’ve pulled that off.

Mrs. Mom says:

Happy Birthday Lil’ J!! Her party looks awesome! Congrats to you for pulling it off! There’s no way I could have done it. I think people would have given me the side eye for inviting them to a party last minute- like an overnight notice. I would have been there by myself, lol!

Everything looked like fabulosity dot com! If you hadn’t told us we would not have known that it was a 24 hour-power-play. J looked too cute in her stars and stripes swim wear and it was nice to see the hubs.

Oh and give J a big birthday hug and kiss from us!

Mrs. K says:

Looks like an awesome party. Lil J looked like she had a blast. Girl, you are too creative. And talk about working well under stress :). Great job!

Quiana says:

Glad you were able to pull it off! I’m so not a last minute person (makes me nuts!), but this is outstanding =) Happy birthday to Lil J!

TOI says:

great theme indeed. and lovely party! happy birthday little girl

Michelle C says:

OK I thought I was the Queen of Procrastination but I now feel I must relinquish the crown. This looks like a good time was had by all. Happy Birthday Lil J doesn’t seem that long ago I met you at Blogher

laura m says:

Wow, I can’t believe how big she’s getting. they do grow up way too fast! too cute! and way to go on a great party mom 🙂

kia says:

Hysterical. Happy #2 Baby J.

Maxine G says:

oohhh I love your tips and ideas. I always look forward to your posts. Happy birthday J and she is growing up so fast.

tracie says:

Ha, this post made me laugh so much because I have been writing the same one in my head! I just did the SAME thing for Isla the other week! Threw together a party in less than 2 days, when I finally decided, ok, she should have a birthday party. Yay for procrastinators pulling it off!

Meli says:

You pulled it outta the hat!!!! Magic tricks. It looks wonderful….happy birthday sweetie!!!

Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from.
Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.

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Rach says:

This post is just sad & uninsightful. 24 hours beforehand in not procrastination that’s called not giving 2 sh*ts.
You’re right about 1 thing though. Only people with money to throw around could pull-off a party in 24 hours.
Dollar tree raid?!? No thanks! I make 25k a year & still have the mindset to spend extra cash & order my kids plates/straws/cups/balloons/napkins/ flatware from all compostable materials weeks ahead of time online.
You need to step up yer game.

And you need to lighten up.

Jen says:

I am pulling of an “almost” last minute party. I am not a procrastinator, however with the birthday being smack dab in between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my wedding anniversary, I have very little time to prepare. You blog gave me inspiration that…I can do it!

Thank you so much!

oliviahartley says:

Great ideas and theme also, thanks for the party tips.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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