Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cupcake Birthday Party on a Budget

I've always wanted a little girl. Since we had our daughter I've regressed into girly-girl mode again and this came out big-time with her birthday party.
You only have one first birthday and it's our first child so I went a little overboard in the craft department.

We'll downplay this a little and say I've been thinking about Abby's birthday since she was 6 months old. I knew I wanted to do something sweet and pretty, over-the-top, special, and (uh, oh...) affordable. It's the "affordable" part that was going to be difficult, but I had a plan. Simply, my plan was to plan.

Start simple

Make a list of what you want

I wanted: a ribbon topiary, cupcakes on stands, Abby as a "gerber baby," cupcake jars, crystal cut candy displays, a guestbook quilt, and everything shabby chic. This was gonna hurt.

Price your ideas: When is DIY more expensive/what can I DIY?

Abby's dress. I wanted a custom made onesie and big tulle tutu. But I found a gorgeous pink polkadot dress on clearance and she loved it. I like it more than the tutu.

All my decorations are DIY, but you need to decide what your time is worth. The cupcake tablecloth is actually the material for her quilt. I bought and painted the frame for under $1. The cupcake jars were all saved and washed. Aside from the markers, the entire front table display cost under $3.

Figure out your priorities:Is it worth that much for a candy buffet?
 I wanted to find a way to do it but do it without breaking the bank. I love the look of a candy display but the amount of candy you need is disheartening. So, I took the look and made it my own.

The ribbon topiary was the most expensive thing on this table. It took SO MUCH ribbon! $15

The cupcake stands and cake stand I made. I got plates/candleholders from goodwill on 50% off day and glued them together with some special slick surfaces glue I had onhand. Entire project: $7.50

The babyfood jars I designed myself. It took hours and hours in my paint app. but I finally pulled it off. I printed them on regular paper at Kinko's for $3 and filled them with M&M's on sale at Wags. Total: $18

Cupcake flags were DIY with toothpicks from home. :$1 for paper

Table cloth/Lollipops/Flowers/Vase: $11

I got what I wanted and pulled it off for $53!

Shop for sales

I knew I wanted a LOT of cake and cupcakes, so I watched to find the best deals and bought all my mixes (yes, I went with mixes) ahead of time and on sale.

Goodwill is the BEST place for crafting ideas

I found ribbon for 25 cents, and all my frames I've gotten for under $1. Not to mention things like pillowcases for dresses for Abby, shirts to recraft into skirts, plates and cups to make my stands.... I digress.

Make a to-do list and a time-line

Not only did I keep on track with what I should be doing and when, but making sure I got things done early kept the budget in check and helped when life got busy in the last weeks before the party. By the time party weekend rolled around I all I had to do was bake!

It may have seemed daunting and impossible at first, but I made it happen. I got some flack for planning her party 6 months in advance, but I'm glad I did and it was so worth the effort.

Happy Birthday, Abigail!

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