planning a little kid’s birthday on a dime

1. Encourage their inner “basic” tendencies. Let me dive into this a little deeper:  Most kids have things in common; sometimes this happens to align with adult obsessions too (Exhibit A:  Lilly Beth’s pink and purple flamingo party). Some of us “party moms” have a problem with doing “overdone” party themes, but I think you can take whatever your little one loves and spin it to make it perfectly uniquely them without having to choose something totally obscure that’s impossible to source for. Seasonality helps, too — flamingo swag is everywhere these days, as we’re approaching the warmer summer months!

2. Take advantage of holidays near their birthday. Discounted Easter candy? Perfect for filling a piñata! (Allergy mom hack: Tootsie Roll treats are gluten-free, peanut-free, and tree nut-free!)

3. Don’t be afraid to opt for some cute solid color tableware, since that will ultimately be used and disposed of quickly. I tend to like cute patterned napkins (or sometimes just cake/cocktail napkins) and straws with solid plates/cups/utensils in a party hue. I’m super picky about the exact shades I use (robin’s egg blue, peach, citrusy orange for AC’s mermaid party and orchid, lavender, bright flamingo pink for Lilly’s ‘mingo party) but if you hunt around you’re likely to find something in the perfect shade.

4. Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. DIY baked goods and food spreads can be great (esp in families like ours dealing with food allergies and diabetes, but time is money and it takes a lottttt of time to make all the things. I love outsourcing a fancy bakery cake (which is what I did for both girls’ 1st bdays) and using it as the primary design focus for the party. I am not proficient with a piping bag so when it’s simply not in the budget to fork over $$$ for a bakery cake I stick to simple designs in attempting to decorate a cake on my own (and make it fancy with a cute topper, like these mini lawn flamingos). And since that’s my undertaking for this party, we’re ordering delivery pizza for the toddlers and calling it a day.

5. Balloons, balloons, balloons and practice, practice, practice are instant impactful decor tools. You don’t even need helium! Get a plastic balloon arch strip, become a pro at constructing the perfect structure, and marvel at your inexpensive masterpiece that brings joy and delight to the tiny person you’re celebrating. Which brings me to…

6. Don’t overdecorate. Not every surface in your party space has to be decked out. Be selective about what you’re going to “party-fy” and do that area well!

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