Thursday, March 17, 2011

Anna's Birthday Party - The Details

Planning for Anna’s birthday party was a lot of fun for me. I love working with my hands and getting creative. There are so much to say about the party details that I decided to make it its own post. We didn't go all out for the party - I didn't think extravagant was necessary and it definitely wouldn't have been us. Instead, we had a simple (& pretty) party at home and it was perfect. I included the cost for each category just for reference.

Invitation: I created the invitation (idea from here) in Photoshop and saved it as .jpg. Instead of snail mail, I did it the easy and cheap way of via email. In reality, since the guest list was tiny, I could’ve just called/texted, but I am glad I went the extra step of creating this invitation. Cost: $0.
Anna's First Birthday Party Invitation
Venue: Anna's House. We didn't consider hosting the party anywhere else just because it was easier to have it at home. I wished our dining table had arrived in time so the guests had more space to mingle, but we ended up staying in the kitchen/breakfast area/family room pretty much the entire time. It's true - people gather around food. Cost: $0

Decoration: I debated between fresh blooms or balloons for the decor. We accidentally stumbled upon a helium tank kit at Wal-Mart and the decision was made for us. In hindsight, for a first birthday party, balloons was definitely the way to go regardless. Anna wouldn’t have appreciated the flowers, but she went nuts over the balloons. And they also entertained few other kiddies at the party. We used shades of pink, green, and orange as colors, but as you can see, there was pop of other colors here and there as well. Cost: $20 (ribbons and balloons included in the kit)
Anna's First Birthday
Table Display: I saw too many pretty pictures of table display online that I just had to create one of my own. I am so proud of the end result and I didn’t spend a ton either. The pedestals were bought from a combination of TJ.Maxx and Crate and Barrel. We wrapped empty boxes in wrapping paper and placed the pedestals on them to give some height. The 3-tier plate rack was borrowed from my mom. We already owned everything else (including the orange runner which was from our wedding). Utensils were from Target. Napkins and plates were from Wal-Mart. Cost: $55 (estimating)
Anna's Birthday
Food: The weekend before the party, I went with hubby’s mom to Costco and bought a bunch of appetizers (mini crab cake, quiche, popcorn chicken, and fish fingers). All the appetizers were set at the main table. Oh, and I also made cookie dough brownies so we have more sweets. On the day of the party, both Grandmas brought more (homemade) food and we put those on the kitchen counter. Cost: $50 (just for the appetizers from Costco)

Cupcakes: Couple of weeks before the party, there was a deal for CakeLove at LivingSocial. $20 for $40-worth of baked goods. If I didn’t come across this deal, I would’ve made my own cupcakes. $20

Cupcake Toppers and Other Toppers: DIY. Made from scrapbook papers. Cost: $0 (had all the supplies on hand)

Food Signs: Created in PowerPoint, printed on heavy cardstock. Cost: $0
food
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Banner: DIY. I printed out the letters on heavy cardstock and glued them on top of scrapbook papers. Then we just hung each piece on a ribbon using clothes pins. The making of the banner was easy, hanging them was the hard part. Kudos to hubby for making it perfectly balanced. We used the songbirds that I made as the dividers between words. It wasn't planned when I made the birds, but it just happened. I used the same scrapbook papers to make the birds so colors matched. Cost: $0 (had all the supplies on hand)
Anna's Birthday
Water: Another easy DIY. I designed the labels using Photoshop and printed them on regular 8.5 x 11 copier paper. Cost: $2.50 (just water alone)

Party Hat: Already shared it here. Cost: $0 (had all the supplies on hand)
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Favors: These treat bags were filled with goldfish crackers. I made something similar before here. On the front it says 'From Anna's Pet Store' and the back says 'Thanks for coming to my party!'. The one filled with Gerber puffs was for a 7-month old guest. Cost: $1 (had all the supplies on hand and only bought the goldfish crackers)
Anna's Birthday
Tips and Lessons Learned:
// Do as much as you can beforehand. We rearranged the furniture, set up the table display (just without the food), and hung the banner the day before. It relaxed me to have stuff done ahead of time so we didn't have to rush the day of.
// Accept help. Both grandmas offered to bring food and at first I said no. So relieved that I changed my mind because the guests would've gone hungry for sure! Hubby's mom arranged a fruit platter of papaya, pinapple, mango, and strawberries - that was esepcially nice!
// Display family pictures. Because we had the party at home and our house already has pictures of Anna, I didn't think (or I did think, but just didn't get around to it) to put pictures of her where the guests would be. In the future, I am definitely doing a photo table.
// Keep the party small - invite only family and closest friends. Cheaper, easier to manage, and less overwhelming for the birthday girl.
// Take lots of pictures. Anna's first birthday party was for us me. Haha, hubby and Anna couldn't have cared less. However, I am incredibly glad I did it and now we have pictures to show her in the future.

And speaking of pictures - I will share them all tomorrow!

5 comments:

  1. How lovely! I love the whole set-up! :)

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  2. Beautiful, Joyce! Anna's party looked like a blast. Love that invite too.

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  3. Hey now, how come my burfday didn't come with a party or balloons? HMPH!

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  4. Holy cow! You did a great job with the decor. I see you Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. Do all asians just have that around the house? We do! LOL.

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  5. I just love that photo of Anna on her birthday invite... her expression is just perfect!

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