It's time for my little one to turn the big ONE! That means it's Party time! I called in my mom and her best friends who are pros at throwing a party. Of course we wanted to pick something super cute to be the party theme, but that can get pricey really quick. Centerpieces, paper products, décor, food, it can add up really fast.
Below ....learn our strategy for throwing a successful, super cute, budget friendly, First Year Birthday Party!
First it was time to pick a theme. So, of course, we jumped on Pinterest to see all the cute ideas! What other place to go other than Pinterest, where everyone shares their party ideas. We chose Cookie Monster because:
1. Quinn is a boy, and blue is very easy and accessible at local retail stores and online party websites.
2. Cookies are also very easy to prepare and everyone loves cookies.
3. These items seemed budget friendly and cute. Stick two eye balls on any blue décor and you have Cookie Monster!
It's best to choose a theme that you have a clear vision of what items will need purchased and what items can be borrowed from friends and family. When purchasing display items, we try to buy items that can be used again at other parties and are not specific to our theme. For example, large glass jars can go with almost any theme. For this party we filled ours with cookies. At our wedding, we used glass jars on our candy table. So when given a choice, we always choose white and clear glass items. We bring color to the party with table clothes, flowers, and vase fillers, that's where our specific theme comes to play. With this one, we had many matching items already! While you are searching for a theme you can start looking for a party location. If you have a house that can hold enough people, this step is an easy decision for you. This was not the case for us, so we had a lot of searching for a nice space in our budget. Plus, its hard to find a free or cheap venue in the middle of winter. Parks and pools are not an option.
After choosing our venue, we jumped in the car, went to Target, and did our first round of shopping. We picked up the necessities like balloons, party bags, silverware, plates and cups.
Now let's plan the menu! At this point you should get an idea of how many people you will be inviting. You want to make sure you have enough food to feed everyone without going over board and having tons of food left. We went with mini sandwiches. Slider are really all the rage right now. We chose two kinds, hot ham and cheese sliders and pulled pork. Because we were having a little under 50 people we decided two options would work best. Don't be afraid to take family members on their offer if they ask to bring something. Easy go to's for our party were cheese and crackers, fruit salsa and cinnamon pita chips, oriental cole slaw, veggie tray and chips & dip. We like to plan on two sandwich options, veggies and fruit and one other side. It just seems to keep the menu balanced, and hopefully everyone will find something they can eat. When planning our menu, we are always mindful of people with allergies and diet restrictions. Most diets allow for veggies and fruit. We try to have options for gluten free, dairy free and peanut allergies. At this particular gathering we knew we had a child attending with a peanut allergy.
One of the best part of having a cookie theme was the cookie decoration station! We had a large chocolate chip cookies before hand. We have a table set up with toppings consisting of things like sprinkles, raisins, marshmallows and chopped up Oreos. We had icing prepared for the kids to Ice their cookie, decorate it and then chow down! The kids absolutely loved this activity! They all took such pride in their artistic skills!
The kids also enjoyed their party bags! We filled them with sticker books, little toys and candy. We just used paper to attach eyeballs. They turned out very cute and definitely entertained the kiddos!
The fun part for us was getting together the cake table. We went with a round cake and cupcakes. We decided that kids would like cupcakes and adults would want cake and coffee. We added jars of Oreos and chocolate chip cookies for our Cookie Monster theme. Quinn had an adorable smash cake that was Cookie Monster of course. Although he didn't want much to do with it!
The decor was pretty simple but yet very adorable. We used photos on each of the tables in photos sticks that displayed black & white pictures of Quinn over the year. We also had bowls of blue popcorn we had made the night before. We basically made the marshmallow mixture for Rice Krispie treats and tinted it blue, added little sets of eyeballs thru out the popcorn. Instant Cookie Monster! My mother made one banner that said Happy Birthday Quinn! We had a large chalk board, made by s family friend, that turned out so cute. You can see it below ...... She also made smaller chalk boards for the cake table and they just seemed to tie everything together! oh, and of course , you need balloons. We used 4 bundles of 6 balloons. Walmart has a helium tank for $20. We though this was a great bargain. It was so easy to blow the balloons up right at the venue.
Our party turned out great and we had a lot of compliments! ( At least 5 people asked for our ham and cheese slider recipe!) Of course, Quinn received way more toys than he will know what to do with, but he had a blast! We rushed home for nap time afterwards and of course Quinn passed out in no time!
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