When my daughter’s first birthday was a few months out, I did what so many moms do. I turned to Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. The beautiful images were overwhelming—and so were the price tags that came with them. Do I love my baby girl? Yes. Did I want her first birthday party to be magical? Yes. Did I want to have to take a second mortgage out on our house to afford said magical birthday party? NO. Now that I have two birthday parties under my belt, as well as several wedding and baby showers, I feel like I have a good formula put together on how to throw a Pinterest party on a real life budget.
Don’t Go Theme Crazy
My daughter is currently obsessed with Frozen, so naturally, we decided on that as a theme for her last birthday party. At Target, I picked up Frozen napkins, a table cloth, and candles. Those were the only three “themed” items at the party. For the rest of the paper goods, I got coordinating plain colored plates, cups, and utensils. You get way more bang for your buck that way, and there is more potential for being able to reuse any left over items for later events.
Reusable Decor is Your Best Friend
One of the best purchases I ever made was a $3 chalkboard bunting from Target’s Dollar Spot. It stays on our mantle almost year round and gets changed up according to seasons, holidays, and birthdays. Chalkboards, mason jars, glass and metallic serving pieces, and plain white serving ware are also top on my list. All can be reused time and again for a limitless amount of themes and events.
Say Yes to Cheap and DIY
Balloons, tissue paper tassels, and flowers are my go-to items to use for decorations. Solid colored balloons and curling ribbon go a long way toward adding color and cheer to a space. Tissue paper tassels and garlands are by far my favorite things to make for parties. Tissue paper is cheap and comes in an array of colors. Here’s the tutorial I follow to make my own. DIY isn’t your thing? Target and Etsy are wonderful places to look for premade ones. I’ve saved the garlands I made for my daughter’s birthday parties, and they now hang in her bedroom and her playroom. Flowers are another favorite of mine. I try to pick up marked down bunches at my local Kroger to save on cost. Alstroemeria are also a good choice because those puppies last forever, and you can enjoy them for several weeks after your event.
Cupcakes Rule, Cakes Drool
They are easy to eat, cute as buttons, and don’t require separate plates or utensils to enjoy—which, in turn, saves you money. Plus, they can be arranged to take up more visual space than a single cake does, making them into decor as well. As an added bonus, I also love being able to offer my guests a variety of flavors without having to buy multiple cakes.
Shop Your Home
If your child is fond enough of a particular character, toy, animal, occupation, etc. to have an entire party planned around it as a theme, chances are your house is probably full of replicas of that thing. Use that as party decor! It’s free (ish), and it reiterates your theme without going overboard and costing a ton of money. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be able to reuse glitter snowflake ornaments from our Christmas decor for both of my daughter’s past birthday parties.
I hope some of these tips help take some of the stress and expense out of party planning for you and yours in the future!