How to Throw a Budget-Conscious Stylized Party

In this age of Pinterest, some moms may find themselves overwhelmed when it comes to throwing a child’s birthday party. There’s a certain amount of pressure to “have it all.” I love doing my kids’ parties — it’s an extension of my former career days of putting together marketing campaigns mixed with my passion for crafting. It’s very easy to go overboard, but here are some tips to help you not only throw a stylized party without breaking the bank, but to build your party supplies for year-after-year usage.

Consider the Time of Year

  • I found these floral garden stakes and boxes at the Dollar Store… an awesome seasonal find! I just added a fairy and a piece of paper with the text, and I had instant signage for a treasure hunt.

    I think one of the most important tricks to throwing a stylized party on a budget is to consider what season the party is in. Your daughter’s birthday is in July and she wants a Frozen party? Instead of snowflakes, use the Frozen Fever theme instead which has a more summertime-feel with its sunflowers.

  • My daughter wanted a TinkerBell party, and her birthday falls in spring time, so we went with a garden fairy theme. It was so easy to find pots, flowers, and other spring time accessories because it was the season for it. On the flip side, if your little fairy’s birthday is in the cooler months, you could use a pirate or winter fairy theme (Tink’s sister Peri is a winter fairy), and you’re more likely to find cool weather accessories as well as pirate accessories around Halloween or in January due to Tampa’s Gasparilla.
  • Consider any holidays that are around your child’s birthday to help save money. With our daughter’s birthday in March, when we had a Doc McStuffins party, I was able to score Valentine’s decorations and candy in the theme colors on clearance.

Color, Color, Color

  • It’s easy to fall into the expensive trap of — it has Mickey, Tinkerbell, Elmo (insert your favorite character here), and buy it. Instead, play up your theme with colors. Rather than paying for the themed plastic tablecloth with character images on it, buy a solid color from the Dollar Store and use other decorations instead to pull in the character. If it’s your child’s favorite character, chances are you have toys in that theme you can use.
  • Celebration cake from Publix in theme colors. I just added the figurines and the candle, and we had a perfectly themed cake.

    Instead of buying an expensive themed cake, or paying for a baker to create characters from fondant, I like to use figurines on the cake (doubles as a gift for the birthday boy/girl), and then use frosting color to tie in the theme. 

  • I like the color aisle at Hobby Lobby — there are a ton of supplies there that can be used year after year and are worth the investment. I have a pink utensil carrier that I’ve used at Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First and TinkerBell parties. And this year, I picked up a red one to use at our son’s Daniel Tiger party, and any future superhero/Mickey/Elmo as well as holiday parties we may have.
  • I also like perusing the Dollar Store to find plastic bins in the party color that I can use.

Daniel Tiger party. Red Dollar Store bin to hold favors. A solid color table cloth from the Dollar Store also works with the theme. Simple colored cardstock circles greeted the kids on the walkway and led them through the house. I designed a favor sign and placed in a Dollar Store photo frame.

Supplies that Go a Long Way

  • My favorite go-to item for the kids’ parties: the little tins from the Target $1 bin. I’ve used them for centerpieces, to hold treats, and to hold crayons.  I like using coordinating tissue paper in them as well to hide any balloon weights or foam.
  • Chalkboard labels/hanging tags can also be used for multiple parties.
  • Another budget-friendly, easy way to add a little bit of Pinterest-worthy style to your party? Ribbon. I use coordinating ribbon on my centerpieces, on signage, and on favor bags.
  • Buy stickers in your party theme and use them on little tent cards to tie in the food to the theme. I like to use 3D pop glue dots to add a little dimension and raise the sticker off the cardstock.
  • If you have a home printer, you’re on your way to creating a stylized party. It’s easy to make simple tent cards for food tables, favors, etc., as well as signs around your home or for activities.
  • Photo frames from the Dollar Store also can easily be incorporated and help tie in your theme on tables.
  • Invest in apothecary jars and ribbon cake stands. I found mine at HomeGoods. The jars are easy to change up for each party theme whether you use them for candy or fill with decorations, while the cake stands can not only hold cake or other treats, but serves as a good way to add height to a table.

The biggest takeaway to throwing a stylized party: immersion. The littlest details can go a long way. And those little details can be as simple as a saying on a piece of paper, or a label on a jar. If the kids felt like they were on Sesame Street, in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, at TinkerBell’s Pixie Hollow, or at Mickey’s Clubhouse when they leave, you’ve thrown a stylized party! 

Chalkboard labels, stickers, and apothecary jars make for a festive sweet table.

Instead of purchasing cloth table covers, I bought fabric from Joann’s in the theme color to overlay the white table cloths to add a punch of color. Centerpiece is a Target $1 Valentine’s tin with a chalkboard heart that I added a Doc bandage sticker to, added ribbons on the handle, and filled with cotton balls to cover up the balloon weight.

1) I change out the ribbon on this cake stand for each party. 2) Target $1 tins from their spring garden collection. 3) Tent card with sticker.

1) Fairy door and floral garland bought at Michaels on sale. 2) Fairy dolls add to the theming. 3) More tent cards with stickers. 4) Solid color tablecloth 5) Pink utensil holder in corner of photo. I use this at various parties.

More $1 tins with coordinating ribbon, Dollar Store tablecloths, a cake stand with ribbon, a tent card, and utensil holder. I stuck with primary colors, making it easy to find supplies on sale at several stores.

More $1 Target tins and ribbon along with character cutouts I did on my printer and Cricut.

Here’s to your next party! I hope it’s a huge success!

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2 Responses to How to Throw a Budget-Conscious Stylized Party

  1. JM August 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    These are some great tips! What would you change if the party was to be held at a pool? I was planning on following tips from this blog: http://certifiedleakdetection.com/summer-pool-party-ideas-on-a-budget/

    Do you have any ideas?

  2. Jaclyn August 8, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    Head to Michaels now— all the summer stuff is on clearance, and you could find some fun things you could personalize. Like large bottles of bubbles, floats, water sprayers etc! I don’t know what your theme is, but if it’s say Doc McStuffins, I’d refer to her pool/swimming episode and get some ideas from that with verbiage etc.

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