Don't worry too much about the first 15 minutes. If you can have some music going, lovely, but most of the arriving guests will be taking a few minutes to acclimatise, cling to their parents etc.
Balloons can be good, but not when they explode (and scare babies) and not when they distract the dcs from the entertainer.
Maybe a table with some felt tips and card strips (and sellotape for an adult to use) so they can make themselves party crowns whilst they are waiting? They could also decorate name stickers, so that the entertainer can see what they are called.
HTH - enjoy the party, it sounds lovely. And don't worry too much about timings, you'll be fine.
I'm planning DD1's 4th birthday party in December - need to get things sorted now as everything books up fast.
We're planning to hire the village hall and to have an entertainer, have found one who will do an hour package of 20 mins each games/magic/balloon modelling while children eat.
Does this sound OK? I was planning to have the party for 1.5h total, possibly from 11am so they're eating at lunchtime. Timing works well for us with 1yo naps etc and availability of hall.
Any ideas for what I should do for the first ?15 mins while everyone arrives? Doesn't seem any point in starting the entertainer's hour until eg 11.15 so that everyone is there and ready to go. Maybe some crafty activity (short/easy/cheap?) or something else to occupy them before we get them all going with games etc.
Would welcome any ideas - we didn't have a 3rd bday party as we'd just moved house and had new baby so she is super-excited about this one and I want to make it fun.