MOMMY WISE SERIES: How to Throw a Simple DIY Birthday Party

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(If you are an avid reader of my blogs) I have mentioned before that my kids are not a fan of grand celebrations or fancy birthday parties. In fact, during my son's 7th birthday he opted not to have a big party but rather chose to travel to Legoland. Two years later, my daughter's 7th birthday just ring a bell and believe me, i was the one excited for a grand celebration! But guess what? It didn't happen. Because just like my son, my daughter doesn't want to have a big party neither. No matter how many times i tried to convince her with a glittering tiara, a Cinderella gown, and a dazzling 7th birthday party theme, she answers NO. So, all the magical moments in my head just popped. Boom! No party! All she ever wanted was to travel to Disneyland (wiser choice) and that's the best birthday gift ever (all kids says that!). Fast forward, wish granted! But of course, as a mom, i did not want to just let her special day pass by without preparing something special, but not grand. After all, every natal day deserves a thanksgiving and so i thought of throwing a DIY party for her. 



With a little work of the hand and some help from relatives and cousins, my DIY birthday party project was a success and i thought of sharing it here on the blog, hoping that this will somehow be a go-to resource for other wise moms who plans to throw a do-it-yourself party for their little ones. After all, practically must be observed these days with all the expenses tagged along with party preparations. A little personal touch is always memorable and sentimental, right?


HOW TO THROW A SIMPLE DIY BIRTHDAY PARTY
(Order of things to prepare and How to do it)



Plan the Date and Time

Who can ever forget the birth date of our loved ones? I guess nobody. Except that you have some serious kind of dementia or amnesia or something. Hahaha! 

Well, a birthday may fall on a weekday where everyone is busy at work, the kids are in school, or another important occasion or appointment is due to fall on a weekend. So, it's best to plan ahead of time and try considering important family members' schedule, to make sure they can come and celebrate with your little one.

The Guest List

The guest list is important as it will determine the number of tables and chairs that you need to set up for the event. It will also give you the heads up for the food and everything else on your to-do and to-buy list. 

Of course, we do not want to forget some close friends and relatives on the event, just so, nobody will get hurt if they were not invited and just so, no gate crashing will ever happen, that could be the least!







Venue

For DIY parties, most likely, venues are in the comforts of our own home, if you wish to make it the simplest and the most convenient of all. It can be in the garage if you have enough space for your guests or somewhere you wanted to set it up. 

In my case, originally, it should be in our garage but i'm afraid it was summer time and during the afternoon the sun is scorching hot. Plus, after determining the number of invited guests, I've learned that there might be some limited space situation, so, I opted for another venue that is also accessible to our home and its free, so we held it there.








The Gift Registry

Big or small party, i always find it smart to include your child's birthday on a gift registry. I'd prefer both SM Department Store and Toy Kingdom, as they were the closest in our area and they offer more affordable choices for everyone who wishes to bless my daughter with gifts. 

Kids loves toys, books and other playful stuffs, but if i was to choose i would love to receive clothes and anything useful for them. The gift registry is quite systematic and practical because you can choose the design, the sizes and the color of the clothing or anything your child desires. You'll also have the idea about the prices. Of course, you never want to choose highly expensive things for your child. If the price is just right, it fits perfectly or if she likes it, then its good to go. 

You are entitled to a maximum number of gift options and please take note that not all of your chosen goods will be received. But at least they can see your directory of gift list and they can conveniently choose from there knowing that its the celebrant's choice. 

(Inquire about Toy Kingdom and SM Stores Gift Registry at least a month before your event and they will be glad to assist you and schedule your gift registry shopping).


Party Themes


Party theme is the life of any occasion and a lot of party hosts are putting too much thought about this thing. For me, its the most challenging part of any preparation. Along with it, is the additional budget that you need to allocate for the decorations and everything that goes with your theme, because it requires consistency from the smallest details up to the most important ones. In my case, i skipped the theme but considered Princess Aurora for the cake because it's my daughter's favorite princess. I had limited time to prepare, and mommy wise- i would like to really stick into my budget because i allotted the other expenses for our Disneyland trip. The party can still go on without a theme so, there.


Invitations

There are a lot of invitation templates online. There are printable ones or you can design your own invitation depending on the theme that you or your child wants. There are affordable photo finish printing shops that accepts invitation prints for as low as Php 8 each. My favorite is Fujifilm. They are usually inside the malls and they produce high quality photo prints at a very affordable price. Sizes for photo invitations are usually in 4R or 5R. What's important is to indicate the time, date and venue of your party and RSVP to get exact number of heads.

Food Menu

Since it's a kiddie party, most visitors are kids. But kids are always accompanied by an adult so plan carefully what menu will you offer your guests. For easy and practical birthday party menu, what i did was, i separated the menu for the kids and the menu for the adults. That way, the kids can have their own food on the table without queuing at the buffet. I prepared spaghetti and fried chicken all in a disposable spaghetti boxes paired with packs of ready to drink juices and it was distributed during meal time on their designated tables, while the adults have their choices of food at the buffet. 

I was lucky to have in-laws who are really good in cooking, so they cooked all the food! They have mastered the estimation of the quantity of food by the number of people you invited. Say it's 1:10 ratio. A kilo of meat serves approximately 10 persons, by then you will have the idea how much budget you need to allot for the food. Another thing is, when deciding for the menu, basically, your party should at least have 4 main course/ dishes and a dessert. The four main dishes could be recipes of pork, chicken, beef and fish, plus a salad and a dessert. You can still add more, depending on your budget. If cooking can be a problem then you can opt for a caterer or you can order ready to serve food from catering establishments, that will be less of a hassle.


Party Decorations


There are a lot of party decors available in the market today. You can buy at Divisoria and some local thrift shops or you can do it yourself. There were party hacks, and DIY tutorials that you can watch on Youtube or other DIY websites. What's "in" these days are shabby chic party decors with pastel colored party pompoms and paper fans. Balloons never go out of style too! 

Since my daughter's party doesn't have any theme, all i needed was some artsy decorations to make the venue a little bit lively and colorful. I opted for paper fans and hanging pompoms in her favorite colors. I did it myself using Japanese papers plus colored cartolina from the bookstore and watched tutorials on Youtube. I also bought balloons and asked the help of some relatives to set it up. I also made a layout of her pre-birthday photoshoot (which i also did at home) for the birthday banner or tarpaulin. If you have a graphic artist friend or relative or if you, yourself, have some basic knowledge about Adobe Photoshop you can do this alone and have it printed in a printing shop. Tarpaulin printing ranges from Php150-350 depending on the size. For the size of my daughter's tarpaulin, i only paid Php350 for that big, and i did the layout.




Cake, Pastry Buffet and Party Favors

Again, we are not following any theme for this DIY party. It's just a popped up of ideas and a week long preparation. 

The Cake. All she care about (my daughter) was a princess/barbie cake so i sourced for an affordable yet promising cake/pastry decorator. There's a bunch of them in our place, but i choose someone i knew personally and have tried and tested for quite some time now. Personalized cakes with fondant icing ranges from Php 3,500 or more depending on the size and design. I super love the cake made by D' Baker's Craft, it's a real barbie doll which she dressed in fondant icing and the ball gown was a yummy, chocolate pound cake. The details of the skirt is really lovely and the cake is really delicious!



Pastry Buffet/ Candy Bar. Along with the cake is a simple pastry buffet which i just thought of adding few days before the event. I used to collect containers of different sizes and jars in my kitchen so it gave me the idea of putting them into good use. 

I bought some candies and chocolates from the supermarket then asked my pastry chef to bake some goodies like cookies/little cupcakes and cake pops and then, i got some revel bars which i bought from a local bakeshop near us and some ready-to-eat doughnuts.

I arranged them on a corner table along with small paper cups and paper plates for them to place their pastries and candies. Voila! There's a candy/pastry buffet booth! Hahaha!
Party Favors. These are also important, others may skip this but for me it doesn't have to be posh and expensive. Little tokens for the little visitors as well as simple party game prizes are always fun and brings out some sort of excitement for everyone, whether its a candy or something they can play or doodle with. I made small gift packs of art materials, (which i forgot to take a pic, hahaha!) it includes a notepad, pencils, crayons, art and coloring pages, plus some chocolates and little snacks, sealed with a personalized photo sticker. 



Program and Party Games
Of course, any party can become boring without anything like games and a simple program to highlight the memorable day. I prepared the basic "Seven 7s" in participation of our closest family and friends followed by some common party games. It's up to you if you wanted to hire an emcee too or you can ask a little help from a relative or a friend who has a little talent about hosting.

I was just lucky to have family members and relatives who are quite talented and confident to do the hosting including the party games (super thanks!). Simple games are bring me, stop dance, how well do you know the celebrant? (a question and answer game all about the celebrant's top favorites), and say the longest happy birthday. There are a lot more ways to make the party alive and cheerful, and the newest party game ideas are just a google away, so you may check everything there.


Capture the memorable moments

Photographs are as important as the food and the cake and perhaps everything on the list. Memories are meant to be preserved, therefore, a photographer is important to capture this special moment whether its a grand birthday party or a simple DIY garage party. 
As the party host and the busiest person on the event, you cannot do this, believe me. I took about 2-3 photos during the entire celebration because i was too busy checking everything from time to time- the food, the guests and my little ones. 


Professional photography services can be expensive. So, if you have a nice camera, or perhaps a professional camera, you can ask someone to take the photos for you under your slight supervision. That way you can enjoy the party while having the opportunity to be included in the photo ops too, whilst preserving the memories of your DIY party project until such time that your little one will be doing his/her own.



DIY parties are becoming a trend now and i love how it shapes the other side of my creativity. Somehow, it taught me practicality, simplicity and resourcefulness. It's not easy, and others might just say, "why not hire a party planner, and have everything catered so you can relax". Well, luxurious party celebrations are also good and of course, hassle-free with all the reasonably priced services of event organizers, but... It's my choice. I want to do it and i'm happy doing it. It can be tiring, really really tiring! But throwing some personal touch, a little sweat and unconditional effort for your beloved one is always worth every pain and hard work and i am more than willing to do it again!

So, there you have it! If you have anything in mind to add on the list, I'd be happy to read them on the comments below! Thank you!





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