What is the first thing you think of when you plan a simple party? Budget? Theme? Guests? Food?
Actually, all of them at once. Right? Well, in my case this is true. I knew that organizing a party can be very stressful. But I just thought well if other moms can do it, I can do it, too! Well, I did it and it wasn’t easy pulling something THAT special off but I did it!
Two months have passed since Ollie’s birthday and I still couldn’t quite believe that I managed to do it! But I’ve had a lot of help, of course. And no, I don’t consider myself a professional AFTER THAT (I wish) but I’m just happy to have that experience and be able to share it with other mommies! So let’s get down to business, ladies! Seriously, shit is going to get real.
Since we are talking about a simple birthday party here, you have to be able to figure out these things:
1. How SIMPLE your budget really is.
Knowing how much you CAN spend on a birthday party and being aware of how much you SHOULD spend on a birthday party are two different things. The option to spend as much as you want for your kid’s birthday is there, we’re mothers, we like to spoil our babies. So I know that the struggle is indeed real. But for a single mother like me, who works full time to make ends meet, I have to be really practical about it.
What I did: The original budget that I’d set for Ollie’s party was about PHP10K. But in reality, all expenses amounted to about 14K. I wanted to have a purely “children’s’ party” party but my folks insisted and had guessed that more adults will be attending the party (i.e. tatay’s friends, neighbors, and relatives) thus the need to order Lechon (para dili daw dali mahurot ang mga sud-an – their words not mine) which amounted to PHP4,500.00.
What you can do: Plan out a budget mainly for the number of guests you expect to attend and be sure to have enough “buffer” food.
2. Guestlist (the real horror).
For some moms who can be easily guilt-tripped into inviting everyone she knows, it is difficult to finalize the guest list. I thought it would be my first and final list the first time I took notes of some names on my notebook. But really, who was I kidding?
What I did: I started with the names of kids and babies from our neighborhood with their guardians. And somewhere in between making and finalizing the list, it became old people’s party.
What you can do: You can keep it short and list down your baby’s playmates and their moms or guardians first. This will also help you stick to your planned budget. If you plan the party as a children’s only, the better. It isn’t that hard to please kids. Throw candies at them and they’re happy.
3. Plan a theme. *Optional*
Yes, even with a simple budget you can still afford to plan a theme for your baby’s first birthday. Take advantage of Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Etsy and even Tumblr! There are SO many theme ideas for even a simple birthday party. Your family and friends can also be your good source for theme ideas! ASK!
What I did: With the help of my sister, I found the perfect printable theme for Ollie’s birthday from The Pretty Paper Studio. I chose the Woodland Birthday Party Mega Pack and it was perfect! It’s perfect for mothers who don’t have a lot of time to draft a theme from scratch.
What you can do: You can always make your own templates as long as you have the necessary tools and resources to accomplish this. But try to check out some of the ideas on Etsy and Pinterest especially. They’re all winners when it comes to theme #inspo.
4. The new IT is #DIY.
Once you figure out the theme you can now start unleashing the creativity in you! There are so many tutorials that you can check on YouTube, Google, blogs and Pinterest to help you start your DIY projects. You’ll be surprised by how much you can actually accomplish with DIY activities.
What I did: Since I opted to go with a woodland theme, all I really did are 3D letters for OLIVIA. The printable materials from Etsy only needed to be cut and sorted out and then you’re done. I managed to borrow a really beautiful cake stand from a family friend and that was a really big help since all we needed to do is to make two cupcake stands.
What you can do: If you don’t want to buy from any shops on Etsy, be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment. And again, make use of the tutorial videos on DIY birthday preparations especially on YouTube.
5. Preparation time.
This, of course, depends on how tight or loose your schedule is. But to be safe, always have a planner with you and a checklist of things needed to be done for the party. Having a time frame for every item on the list is really helpful. Start preparing those items on the list that you think would take a lot of time to finish. And be sure that you have about enough time to make a few tweaks.
What I did: I prepared a checklist at least three months before Ollie’s birthday. I did it using MS Excel just because I need to add more categories like the time frame for each item and it serves as a price list at the same time. Since my sister ordered the printable woodland theme sometime in July, I got to test out what they looked like when printed early on. By August, I started working on the 3D standee just because I know I’ll have a very slow progress in making those letters and I needed to buy me some more time to accomplish the look that I want for the letters.
What you can do: Make a checklist!
6. Ask the right people for help.
Asking for other people’s help isn’t always a bad thing. There are always people who are willing lend you a hand and help you make your baby’s birthday a success. To even lessen your expenses, you can borrow stuff from your friends or family OR ask them to help you find someone who can lend you some stuff that you would need to make the party as perfect as you want it to be.
What I did: My sister, who’s always been there since pre-planning stage, advised me to borrow some stuff from one of her closest friends who also happened to live nearby. And so I did. I got to save a little instead of purchasing a cake stand online. She event lent us this really cute cupcake stand, too. For the balloons, my aunt helped me out by contacting a good friend of hers and asked her if she could make those cloud balloons she used to make whenever she organizes birthday events. I was lucky enough that she’d agreed to do it. I didn’t spend a penny on them. They’d also let us borrow dainty candle holders and artificial plants as accessories on the dessert table.
What you can do: Ask for suggestions from your family and friends. They may know people who know people who know people.. you know what I mean, right?
These are just things that I thought are very important when planning for a simple yet definitely a picture-perfect birthday party. I hope this post is helpful in one way or another. If you have any other ideas, do share them by commenting below! I would really love to hear from you!