Okay, we’ve already established that I love to plan a party & decorate for a special occasion. So, it’s only a matter of time before you, my readers, put the pieces together & figure out just how crazy I am. That being said, I might as well let you know up front: I plan my kids parties months, possibly even 12 months, in advance. Now, I know that just doesn’t work for everyone. Kids can be all over the place, liking Legos one day & Pokemon the next. This makes PLANNING a themed party rather challenging. Which, leads us to admitting my second level of crazy: I brainwash my children; sort of.
Call me terrible, but I don’t ever ask my children what kind of party they want (mostly out of fear they will say Chucky E Cheese). I go searching for inspiration on Pinterest, looking for classic themed birthday parties, like fairies or mermaids or superheroes (in general) or ninjas–things that kids always love, rather than the latest Pixar movie that will soon be replaced by the next. Then, I show my kids the pictures, asking them if they think a fairy party with toadstool cupcakes would be cool? So far this has worked marvelously & my kids get super stoked for their next birthday. At first, my husband saw what I was doing & gave me so much crap! But, after seeing time & again how much our kids enjoyed their parties, he conceded to my “evil party-planning genius ways.”
Thus, bringing us to the actual point of this blog post, “Evil Party-Planning genius ways” or how to plan a detailed party without breaking the bank.
Tip number #1
As stated before, hit up Pinterest & blogs for inspiration & any freebies you can find–like this one right here. A free download of the frame I created for my daughter’s fairy party invitation & “time for tea” sign. It’s blank in the middle so you can fill it with your own text for an invitation or enlarge it for a sign as well.
Once you’ve picked a theme, preferably 2 or 3 months before the party, go shopping! But not at the store. Shop your house first! Dig through your kids toy box, your craft supplies, & your kitchenware, etc. See what you already have that could be used as part of the decorations for the party. Don’t forget about checking out your yard too–the wooden logs used to add height to my tablescapes came from my abandoned side yard & the flowers in mason jars and teapots came from my yard & the side of the road (Arkansas has beautiful wild flowers through out the summer).
Hit the thrift store–a.k.a. go treasure hunting. I collected the tea cups & mismatched saucers and all of the glass pedestal jars at a local thrift store for cheap! I especially recommend keeping your eye out for cake stands that can be reused again & again & instantly improve the visual appeal of rather plain cupcakes. If you can’t find cake stands, look for candle sticks & flat plates to glue together (I foresee a future blog post on this too).
After I have combed over my local thrift store 2 or 3 times, I head on over to my craft store to pick up the rest of my materials. The first aisle I go to is always the SCRAPBOOK PAPER! It is my first love in my crafting addiction and it is my favorite way to really add color and pizzaz to any party, for super cheap! Banners, pinwheels, giant flowers, cupcake toppers, napkin rings, welcome signs–paper does it all and I mean ALL! One $10 pack of adorable scrapbook paper will go a LONG way, allowing you to add so much detail for pennies! It is a lot of cutting and some gluing, but nothing that requires a phd.
And after the paper isle, I go browsing around the rest of the store to see what I will find, which is how I picked up the fairy statues for less than $3 each in the spring clearance section of Hobby Lobby. A couple of them had a stone look, which was not what I was going for, but easily remedied by a can of spray paint in my garage.
So, there you have it folks – my 4 (or 5, if you count brainwashing my children as number one) steps I always take in planning & prepping for all of my parties. I know not everyone has the time, energy or interest to go through all of these steps, but hopefully, trying at least one of these before hitting up your local over-priced-but-oh-so-convenient party store will help you add a little personal touch to your party. Maybe it’ll save you a little green in your wallet as well!