This time last week I was constantly checking my weather app to see the weather forecast for Ilan’s rugby party that was scheduled for the start of the storm. All Ilan has been talking about since January is about turning 7 and having a ‘tackle rugby’ party. I tried to dissuade him and offered him some indoor alternatives for his party but he was not having any of it. So we went ahead and planned an outdoor party for him in the middle of winter without any plan B.

Yes, it was muddy and wet and very (very!) cold but it was exactly the right mix of elements for a young boys’ party – barefoot, sporty fun. Plus kids don’t seem to feel the cold. As always, we tried our best to keep things simple and low key but having a party away from home does require a little extra prep.

Here’s how you can host a rugby party in 8 easy steps (with number 8 being the most important):

  1. Create an invite on Canva – it’s the best invitation making app out there – it’s free and easy to use and will make you look a little bit fancy.
  2. Say thank you Lord for your enthusiastic rugby-playing husband who owns a whistle and enjoys rough and tumble rugby with the kids in any weather.
  3. Find a field and borrow some cones and gazebos.
  4. Ask some friends/family to bring some hot water in flasks for the parents and bring a gas stove and pot to make hot chocolate for the kids
  5. Arrange some snacks for the kids and parents. We were sent some healthy snacks from Fria’s Superfoods – the bliss balls were tasty but a bit too healthy for my kids, the coffee choccie workout bars were a real guilt-free treat for the parents though.
  6. Make or buy a cake – this year Ilan was spoilt with a special rugby themed celebration cake from Tessa’s Bakery and not only did it look amazing, but wow, it tasted great too. Sadly in the chaos of setting up in the rain, it was involved in a bit of a scrum before the party but we managed to patch it up and the kids were none the wiser. (You can find Tessa’s Bakery in Milnerton and you can pre-order a special cake or pop in for some great coffee and a cupcake or a slice of lemon meringue. When I went in to collect Ilan’s cake there was a list of about 50 collections for that morning, so it’s safe to say that they’re popular with party planners.)
  7. Enjoy the party chaos!
  8. Bleach.

Some extra party tips from us;

-Say no to party packs – it’s a nice touch but it is an extra cost and extra effort and so I think it is unnecessary. You may get one or two kids asking where their party pack is at the end of the party, but I really don’t get stressed about this and say ‘I hope you enjoyed all the treats at the party, I don’t have any party packs today.’

-We try and stretch out the present opening to last a day or two. We also video a little thank you whatsapp video or voice note after our kids open each present and then send that to the parents of the gift giver. It’s important to say thank you properly. I grew up with a Gran who expected a written thank you letter even if the gift was opened in her presence and she received a verbal thank you on the spot. There is a time and place for that, I definitely agree, but for now our digital era has made saying thank you a little quicker and easier.

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