Most of you know how much I love party planning. I have thrown parties for everything from birthdays to holidays to crafts, but my favorite type of party to put together is a child’s themed birthday party! I am often asked by friends, family, and even just acquaintances to help plan a party. They all not only want to know what food I would serve or what decorations I’d use for the theme they have chosen, but how I manage to throw all of my kids such elaborate birthday parties for cheap every year. I decided I would make a list of my top ten tips for frugal party planning success.
1. Choose 2 or 3 main colors for the party. Themes are so much fun to work with, and you can buy plates, napkins, garlands, bags, cups, etc. covered in great prints to fit any theme, but if you really want to keep things cheap, choose a few basic colors to use for all of your disposables from tablecloths to forks. You can check the party ware aisles at both Walmart and Dollar Tree for plates, cups, napkins, and silverware in a variety of colors for just $1 a pack! Skip the themed plates and save it for a more special part of the decor.
2. Choose a pattern. There’s just something about adding in polka dots, chevron, or bold stripes that really adds to the party. It breaks up all the main colors and is very pleasing to the eye. You don’t have to go crazy with it. A few polka dot balloons or a striped tablecloth is plenty to do the trick.
3. Never skip the basics. You would be surprised at the difference a pack of balloons, a birthday banner, and a some streamers make in the feel of the party. You can buy balloons packaged by color on websites such as Amazon or Oriental Trading, or you can go with the packages at Dollar Tree that have a rainbow of colors in each bag. You may choose to go all out and have them filled with helium at your local florist, or just blow them all up yourself and throw them in the floor. (Lots of fun for all the kids!) Streamers in the chosen party colors can be found for another dollar or two at… you guessed it!….Dollar Tree and Walmart. Banners can be bought, but if you’re good with a hot glue gun, you should make your own!
Which brings me to number 4!
4. DIY everything you can. Make tissue paper flowers and pom poms, a birthday banner from cardstock and ribbon, a fabric garland, or cut large letters to spell the birthday boy’s/girl’s name out of cardboard boxes and then cover with coordinating paper.
5. The internet is your new bff. It’s nearly impossible these days to come up with an original party theme, so go ahead and Google yours to death. Then head over to Pinterest and type your theme in the search bar there as well. Be inspired!
*Plus you’ll find lots of tutorials from other great bloggers to make everything I mentioned in number 4.
6. Use flowers. They don’t have to be real. Dollar Tree, again, has a large assortment of fake flowers. Put them in vases, mason jars, milk jars, drinking glasses, whatever you can find. Flowers liven up the room…even if they aren’t alive at all!
7. Get a head start. I usually try to have a theme selected at least 6 months out. You never know what you’ll come across while out shopping, when you don’t even have the party on your mind. You may find perfect favors at a deep discount or run across something at a thrift store that would fit your theme perfectly.
8. Shop thrift stores, yard sales, and Craigslist. You will be amazed at the random things you will find that others are throwing out or selling super cheap. I’ve used all sorts of things from thrift shops for decorating our kids’ parties. Just to name a few there were dog figurines at Laikon’s 1st birthday party which was puppy themed, a pig shaped candle at Alyssa’s 4th Piggies and Polka Dots party, and an antique milk jug at Alton and Landon’s 1st birthday party where the theme was cookies and milk. Anytime you are just browsing at stores and yard sales, keep an eye out!
9. Go through your own belongings. You might have a red serving platter from last Christmas that would work great at your daughter’s red and black ladybug party. Your son might have all 5 stuffed characters from Yo! Gabba Gabba that you could set around the tables with helium balloons tied to them at his YGG! birthday bash. Or the wicker basket you use as storage in the linen closet might be perfect for holding all the party favors.
10. Name the food. One of the main things that everyone always compliments me on is coming up with creative names for every snack on the food table. Most of them are my own ideas, but a lot of times I find them on Pinterest. Like I said there aren’t many unique themes left, and chances are, someone else has already done it. But nothing is cuter for a kid’s party than themed food! Chocolate doughnut “spare tires” at a truck or race car party, bone shaped cookies as “dog biscuits” at a puppy party, or “pigs in a blanket” at a pig party are all cute ideas! It helps tie all the food into the theme.`
If I could have any job in the world I would be a party planner. I love the search for random pieces to put on the tables. I love thinking up creative food names (who cares if they are a little far fetched). I love crafting decorations that make the parties really unique. What about you? Do you have any tips to add? Do you enjoy planning big parties, or are you more of a “pick up a cake on the day of and call it done” type of person?
(If you would like to see all of my posts about our kids’ birthday parties just click on the word “parties” under the categories section over there to the right —————–>.)