I love planning birthday parties for my kids. My youngest hit a huge milestone this year! ONE! Wow, this year flew by fast. I wanted to plan her a party that was super girly but simple. Being a single mom means I need to budget for everything! I start planning for parties 6 months in advanced. I know that sounds a little crazy, but it ends up being in my favor in the long run. I like to decide on a theme; and since she is too young to decide, that is the easy part. Then once the theme is in place I like to scope out stores online and know what I want to buy ahead of time. This gives me a few months to figure out how much I am willing to spend and where to get everything. Here is a breakdown of what I decided on:
Theme: Hot Pink Zebra Minnie Mouse. I know, what is wrong with me? Well, it came out adorable so oh well!
Location: Atlantic City Aquarium. Her birthday is in February – so my back yard was a bit chilly for a party. I rented the whole upstairs out from 9am-5pm. I did this because I wanted to have the time to set up/take down. Also, you get 75 people this way, and you get to see shows; and all of your guests get access to the aquarium! It’s so much fun and everyone enjoyed it. I highly recommend the AC Aquarium! The room is a great price (I think I paid $325), and the view is magnificent!
Cake: Yuh-mee Cakes. I was lucky enough to have a good friend of mine make my daughters cake & cupcakes for free! She has a local business making all sorts of cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, etc. The cake was delicious and matched the theme perfectly. She’s very decently priced and I highly recommend her!
Decorations: I kept the decorations simple. I went to The Dollar Tree in Absecon and purchased 6 pink table cloths. They are $1 each! I also purchased a few bags of pink plastic wear (spoons, knives and spoons in one bag). Each bag had a table setting of 25 for $1. I also went over to Party City in Mays Landing and picked up some Minnie Mouse balloons and by my surprise they also had zebra striped balloons! I spend about $12 for balloons. For on the food table, I went over to The Christmas Tree Shop (You will notice, that is where I get all of my long lasting plastic wear! I absolutely love this store! You can join their mailing list and get coupons via email too!) I picked up these adorable floral bowls. They are hard plastic and are hard to break, which is good so I can reuse them over and over again! Also on all of the tables I had colorful pink mum’s! Oh! I almost forgot… A party isn’t a party without water bottle labels. I know you are probably thinking, “what? water bottle labels?” But they really help your theme come together! I love etsy.com for fun stuff like this. Sure, I could have made these myself, but sometimes it’s just so much easier to buy it and have it sent to you in time. I purchased Hot Pink Zebra Minnie Mouse labels for roughly $25, if I can remember correctly. They were self stick and super cute! I absolutely LOVED them!
Food: I like to keep things simple. I didn’t want to make anything because that takes time, and it probably would have been a huge savings in my wallet, but for parties, I just need the day to go smoothly. So I headed over to the ShopRite in Galloway. They have a wonderful catering menu. The price is awesome, and somehow I always luck out and get a discount or something for free. I ordered 3 trays of subs (1 tuna and two lunch meat) Somehow they decided to give me a discount and I couldn’t have been happier. I think I saved $20! The total for the 3 trays came to about $85 give or take a few bucks. While I was there I picked up a bunch of different cold salads from the deli. Crab Salad, Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Italian Bow Tie Salad, etc. The food went fast but that made me happy because I made good choices! For drinks, I had water bottles, organic chocolate & vanilla milk, red and pink soda, and of course coke for all my brown soda drinkers out there. On all of the guest tables I also had a tray of snacks to munch on which included berry (they come out during valentines day), pink & white icing covered animal crackers, mike & ike’s and buttersnaps.
Goodies/Take Aways: Some people make goodie bags, I prefer take away items that I use to decorate the party with. For this, I decided to put at every table setting a pink/white whirlie pop, or a black/white whirlie pop, with a round sticker on the front that had an illustration of minnie mouse and said [child’s name] first birthday! They are so adorable and everyone just loved them. I purchased them at oriental trading company which is my absolute favorite for favors! I also took a trip out to columbus market with my mom one day and happened to stumble upon minnie mouse ears for $1 each! I couldn’t resist so I purchased 20 of them. Everyone was walking around with minnie mouse ears and it just made the party that much more fun! For something even more fun than ears and whirlie pops, I made chocolate dipped pretzels with jimmies and marshmallow pops dipped in chocolate with jimmies too!
So, my biggest expense was the venue; but I wouldn’t have had it any other way! Second was the food. Everything else was kind of randomly priced, but over all I’d say I spent about $500. Not bad considering I had 75 guests and they were all able to have more than one plate of food, access to the aquarium for the day, AND live shows with divers feeding fish and educating the kids about the sea creatures!
- Atlantic City Aquarium – http://www.oceanlifecenter.com/
- Oriental Trading Company – http://www.orientaltrading.com
- Etsy – http://www.etsy.com
- Christmas Tree shops – http://www.christmastreeshops.com/
- Party City – http://www.partycity.com/
- ShopRite – http://www.shoprite.com/preorder.aspx
- Dollar Tree – http://www.dollartree.com
- Yuh-mee Cakes – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yuh-mee-Cakes/215673445179644
Hope your next party is super fun and I hope I helped get your creative wheels spinning!