Hi again! I am back with an update on the budget and details of my daughter’s fourth birthday party. Halen (yes- like VanHalen) decided this year she would like a Mermaid Birthday Party.
After months of planning and prep work I am happy to say this is by far one of my favorite parties I have done! I had Halen look through different invites on Etsy to get an idea of what type of mermaids she was thinking for her party- Ariel, cartoons, etc? And while we embrace all things girly and fun at our house I was a bit excited to see that her favorite invite included cute, vintage mermaids!
We chose our date and started working on the invites. I ordered the custom invites from Etsy (shop is Meghilys). We printed them out on a color printer and then added thicker card stock behind them to help make them a little sturdier. I took some Mod Podge Dimensional and added some gold glitter to make the shells and details pop a bit more. Michaels had these super cute clear bottles that they sell in the crafting department. They are plastic and you can mail them as is- what is a cuter way to get an invite?! We rolled the invites up and put them in the bottles with a little scoop of sequins. NOW- I had read online that since the bottles are light it cost about $.70 a bottle to mail them. NOT TRUE! Luckily I only had to mail 4 of them, because they actually cost $2.38 a piece! Yikes! Since I had already committed I bit the bullet and this cheapskate paid to mail those few out! At least they were a hit with our mailed guests!
Invitation Expenses: invites $10, bottles $4 (used coupons), postage $10 (had sequins, labels, Mod Podge) Total:$24- which is A LOT more than I usually spend.
For the party décor she said she wanted purple and aqua (her favorite color). I added little hints of gold throughout for fun! I always like to start party projects with paper crafts. I stalk the JoAnn’s and Michael’s ads for when they have scrapbook paper for 4 sheets for $1. Once it goes on sale, I go and pick the colors I know I will use! I try to never wait until the last minute for paper because it will end up costing triple!
When it comes to parties- I always try to mix up my décor. I try to choose a few things that are not too theme specific so I know I can reuse them for different parties. For Halen’s party I added to my spreadsheet the specific things I knew I wanted to create and the things I already had that just needed a little update or tweak.
Tables- For the big, adult tables and food serving tables I used just cheap plastic tablecloths. I added a strip of cute, aqua wrapping paper down the centers for a table runner! My favorite big Mason jars had already been decorated with gold glitter paper for Lola’s baptism and a Favorite Things party. I just added a little extra bling which took about 2 minutes! To fill the jars I wanted to incorporate the vintage mermaids, sea life, and Halen’s name and age. I found the cute mermaid print on Etsy as an automatic download. I also reused a few of my gold dowels that had gold glitter hearts on them. I just used my Cricut to cut out different sea shapes, H’s, and 4’s for the rest. I assembled and arranged them in the jars, adding little pieces of blue and purple curling ribbon that I already had on hand to add fullness.
For the kid’s tables I used leftover plastic tablecloths (taped down) and set each place with a wood treasure box. I like to have at least one organized project or game at each party. For this party we had the kids paint an unfinished treasure box gold and add gems with tacky glue. I ordered the treasure boxes here from Oriental trading. I bought a pack of foam platters for $1 at Fry’s to set each project on to keep my tables and rug clean! The gems I bought a huge bag of at Michael’s and used a 50% off coupon snagging them for $6.
The treasure boxes are actually borrowed from our church. We used them for Wisemen in our pageant. They are from Joann and are just spraypainted gold and have gems added to them. The jeweled necklaces are Mardis Gras beads from Dollar Tree. All of the shells are ones we have either collected or had laying around. I simply spray painted them gold.
Table cost: 3 tablecloths $3, dowels $2, paper $3, mermaid download $2, aqua chevron wrapping paper $4 at Target, gold bling $1 from Michaels, and misc jewelry $3! (had jars, gold sparkle paper and hearts, tissue paper)
Total Table cost: $18 for coverings and decorations for four kid’s tables, 2 adult tables, and 3 food tables (The plastic tablecloths are super long- I cut the excess off and use those to cover up the kids tables)
The main focal point for the party was the dessert table. In order to comfortably seat 14 kids and their parents I had to figure out how to get rid of some of our furniture without moving all of my house into the garage. For this party I decided to make a finlike tablecloth to cover up our regular kitchen table and use that as the dessert table. My trick for big fabric projects is thrifting. I hit thrift stores and look for flat sheets that are in awesome condition and are in my color schemes. To make this tablecloth I had already had the dark purple from Halen’s first birthday party. I found both of the blues at Goodwill for $1.99 for a King sized sheet AND they were half off! The only color I ended up buying was the lavender which I got using a coupon at JoAnn. It took some careful planning, some cutting, and lots of sewing, but I love how it turned out!
I also made a simple fabric garland using some of the leftover sheet material and some scraps I had in my stash. The lanterns are all reused from other parties, a few I spray painted gold to tie in with the theme. The big gold H was from JoAnn’s (with a coupon of course), a little spray paint and some purple, gold, and aqua gems glued on. I also made a slew of tissue paper tassels. I bought my tissue paper at Target after looking for the right colors, they had the best price and color/pattern selection. It was a perfect project to work on at night when watching a movie. I made large tassels and small tassels to hang around the house. A few small ones decorated the main cake and the other food items. Tissue tassels are a great way to add décor for very little!
Dessert Table: fin tablecloth (thrifted fabric in 3 colors) $2, one color purchased at JoAnn $4, gold H $2, tissue paper tassels $4 (everything else repurposed)
Total Cost: $12 for all of the table décor and tassels throughout party
For this party we used a main entrance table. I covered our regular sofa table with leftover fabric pieces and used all of the leftover decorations that didn’t have a set place somewhere else. This is where we set up favors for when guests leave and also where I set up Halen’s birthday book for guests to sign. We ordered the book, Can You Catch a Mermaid by Jane Ray on Amazon. I mentioned last month that each birthday I choose a book that goes with our party theme. We have guests sign the book and save them as a keepsake!
I used the same vintage mermaid download and added simple text for guests to know to sign the book, party favors, and also for labeling the food. (I love food labels at a party!) The picture frames I found for $1 each at Michael’s in the unfinished wood section. I simply added scrapbook paper and gems. For the party favors I had treasures for the kids to fill up their treasure boxes. They each got a ring pop, a necklace, chocolate coins, candy bracelets, and rings. All of the favors came from Dollar Tree.
The other planned activity was the piñata. I am way too cheap to spend money on something that gets trashed so I found a pin on how to make a piñata out of boxes. I have done one this way every year and they always work out awesome! Here is Halen’s mermaid tail one at the entrance to the party with a sign. The sign I made out of scrap wood we had laying around and LOTS of glitter.
The last big project was the underwater display. My friend Ana made these jellyfish for VBS for me and I had her make a few more aqua ones to hang up with them. They are time consuming (just ask her! Haha) but only use cheap lanterns and cheap tablecloths. I ordered the lanterns from Oriental Trading and the tablecloths came from WalMart for $1. When Christmas was over I hit Michaels to buy the translucent ornaments. I got 4 boxes of different sizes for around $6. We strung them on fishing line and hung them at different lengths to make them look like bubbles! So easy and so pretty. The other sparkly ornaments I got after Christmas for 90% off. They ended up being around $.10 a piece! I strung those on fishing line and hung them with clear tape as well. This is the pass through that the food lines up to- so it made a pretty backdrop! I set other decorations we borrowed from my parents Sea themed living room on the counter below.
Decorations: Birthday book $7, Unfinished treasure chests $14, Gold paint $3, gems $6, Party Favor Candy and Necklaces $8, Jellyfish (all 3 colors) $14, Ornaments $9 (piñata was all recycled stuff and sign was things I already had)
Total Decorations, Favors, Kid’s project: $61
Halen’s fourth birthday was so much fun. It has been a year of big changes for our family and especially Halen, as we welcomed her new sister Lola. She is such a funny, easy, smart kid and it has been so great to watch her grow into the little person she is!
Happy 4th birthday Halen. We love you!!!
Total party cost (not including food): $115 Not too bad! My budget before food was around $100, so I am happy with that. I spent a little bit more on the invitations than I usually do, but it all worked out well. And I have lots of gold accents to reuse for my Mom’s 55th birthday party and Lola’s first birthday!
Next month I will be back to tell you guys about party food on a budget and my favorite- desserts! I will be sharing my tricks for getting the most party food for your money and how to make Pinterest worthy desserts on the dime!
Until next month- party on friends!