Two of my children were born in March so it’s a busy month for parties in our family! I have learned so much about how to throw the perfect British children’s birthday party. And also what the party etiquette is when your child is attending a birthday party over here. If you’ve never done it before and have it to look forward to, here are some tips:

  • Fancy dress means dress your child up in a costume, not dress them up in a formal dressy dress or suit and tie.
  • Cake should be wrapped up and put in the party bags, not served with ice cream during the party
  • Party bags filled with small toys and sweets are to be given to party guests, NOT party favours
  • Mini sausage rolls and scotch eggs are essential to the party food (why, I don’t know, but they are)
  • Do not allow your child to open their presents during the birthday party
  • The correct wording for ‘Do the Hokey Pokey’ over here is ‘Do the Hokey Cokey
  • Expect to provide adult food if the other parents are attending (for children under 5)
  • Don’t expect other parents to chip in and help out during the party, however they will gladly do so if you ask them directly
  • Offer to help out when you are at a party with your child, the host won’t ask for help but will welcome it
  • If having a home party, do not try and provide the party entertainment yourself – always hire someone to do it for you
  • Expect to spend around £100 minimum for the entertainment
  • Softplay places for parties are very cost effective and easy
  • Parties at leisure centres (bouncy castle/swimming/roller skating) are more expensive but less hassle and no clean up after and older children love it
  • My top tip is this: Do not allow your child to invite their whole class unless you have alot of stamina

I have made lots of mistakes which have embarrassed my children and caused confusion amongst the other parents. However, I think I have successfully added in some ‘American’ features, especially with the food, and I hope one day my children will look back on their parties with fond memories. Either that or they will be scarred for life!

Good luck everyone and Happy Birthday to my daughter Anna Grace and to my youngest boy, Jonah.

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