In the past I have had the luxury of weeks of devoted party planning. This year, we have a three month old baby and time was not on my side. So this year I challenged myself to make Maddy's party as easy and cheap as possible for myself. I am not a "that'll do" kind of person so it was going to be a challenge for me but once I got started I absolutely loved it and I became completely frugal.
So here it goes...
I didn't have time to design the invites this year so I enlisted the help of Anders Ruff and their Fairy Tale Collection Printables. For just $20 I was sent a fully customized party invitation that I could print myself. I used Erin from printing.com in Albany for my printing.
After a particularly boisterous play date with Maddy and her cousin Archie we decided to host the party elsewhere this year. We decided on the hall at our local Salvation Army. The building is only a year old and the hall is light, bright and concrete - perfect for a group of rowdy three to six year olds.
I purchased a four metre length of fabric from Spotlight to cover two trestle tables. I came across this fabric in the sale section for only $3 per metre.
Decorations were kept simple as I was aware of having to transport everything to and from the venue plus the time needed to set up and take everything down. I tried to "shop from home" as much as possible - make use of what we already had. These frames are from our girls bedrooms. I printed pictures of some of the other characters from Cinderella and popped them in.
I printed a couple of old Cinderella movie posters from Google and popped them in a stack of nested suitcases that I already had that I purchased from Bubbalooz.
I also had an old copy of a Cinderella Golden Book on the table which was mine when I was little. I may or may not have scribbled on the front cover in pen when I was small :)
In the centre of the table was a framed silhouette of Cinderella. The frame was an old mirror that hung in my bedroom when I was little. I pinched it from my old room at Mum and Dads house (yes, my parents still live in our family home where we all grew up. Over 40 years in same house. I'd be absolutely devastated if they ever moved!), removed the mirror and spray painted the frame white. The Cinderella silhouette is from Anders Ruff.
We're going to pop the mirror back in the frame and hang it with all the dress ups in our Play Room now that the party is over. I think I might paint it yellow.
For previous parties I have made trays and trays of food from scratch for our guests to choose from and honestly - it nearly killed me. This year I decided to make each child a little picnic box and it was one of the best ideas ever.
I really wanted to use white gable boxes but they were $4.00 each. I ended up going with these kraft lunch boxes with clear lids from Hello Paper for $1.50 each and they were perfect! Here was the picnic box production line...
I lined each box with a polka dot napkin (I loved the Paper Eskimo ones but they were $8.00 per packet. I got three packets of these ones for $6.00 at the $2 Shop). Each picnic box had a sandwich kebab, marshmallow kabob, a cupcake liner of popcorn, a cupcake liner of pretzels and two slices of fruit puff slice. I haven't worked it out exactly but the food in each box cost between 0.50 cents and $1.00. So cost effective and nothing went to waste.
Each child also received a personalised bottle of water. I got these in bulk from Countdown for about 0.80 cents per bottle.
The birthday cake was inspired by two different cakes - the first was a wedding cake from BridePOP with two bluebirds holding ribbon in their beaks which reminded me of when the mice are making Cinderellas Ball Gown and the bluebirds fly in holding a ribbon for the dress.
And the second cake was a Ombre Ruffle Cake from Make Fabulous Cakes. The scalloped ruffles reminded me of Cinderellas Ball Gown.
Here is what I ended up making. I had a go at making the Bluebirds in fondant. They were okish but I had this cake bunting left over from my online store and thought it looked way cuter. I didn't bother tackling the ombre for the ruffles (ombre means shaded in french) and just stuck to the one shade of blue. I was pretty happy with how it turned out - simple and sweet.
Note to anyone going to attempt a ruffle cake - apparently ruffles are "girly" and boys don't like ruffles. I had to remove the ruffles from the boys slices of cake. What a cheek! ;-)
The cake was a Madeira cake. I inserted precooked blue cake pops in to the raw cake batter and made it in to a polka dot cake. It turned out perfectly. I just wish I had put a few more cake pops in there.
I first came across the idea on Snowy Bliss where they made a chocolate cake with orange polka dots for Halloween.
I wasn't 100% sure how the cake would turn out so in case it was a disaster I made two dozen chocolate cupcakes as well using the absolutely delicious Crabapple Bakery Vanilla Cupcake recipe and adding Equagold Cocoa. I used Donna Hays Buttercream Recipe on top and it is delicious. So light and fluffy and beautiful to pipe out.
I came up with heaps of fantastic party favours to give to our little guests but I couldn't pull any of them off.
I wanted to give each family a copy of the storybook of Cinderella. But I left it a little late to order them from Book Depository.
Then I found these gorgeous Cinderella Carriage necklaces on Trade Me for really cheap. I forgot to bid on them and the seller never relisted them. Argh!
Then I found these sweet carriage favour boxes which I was going to fill with lollies but the website owner was out of the country until after the party and couldn't fill my order.
So hopefully someone else can use those ideas if you do a Cinderella party. In the end we went with these giant bubble wands (think biddedy bobbedy boo - fairy godmother - wand) which were a great hit with all the kids and only $2 each from K-Mart. Bargain!
I had two games for the kids to play - Pass the Parcel and Musical Statues. Everyone joined in Pass the Parcel and a very small group played Statues - but the kids really made all their own fun. There was a basket ball hoop with plenty of balls, hula hoops and life size plastic dogs already in the hall to play with. I was initially going to hire some toys but there was no need. My family and I took along some bikes, trikes, scooters, wagons, a moon hopper and swing ball. There was plenty of space and the kids just all went mad with it all. Perfect!
Our Cinderella had an absolutely brilliant day. She kept saying "Lets do the party again". That makes all the hard work so worth it.
I'm really happy with how it all turned out. I left out alot of things that I have included in previous years and compromised on alot of the details but I stuck to my budget and time limits and am really happy with how it all turned out. And most importantly our girl loved it all.
I think that about covers most of the details of the day but if anyone has any questions about anything I'm happy to help.
Lastly, happy happy birthday to our big 3 year old. Mummy, Daddy and Maisie Boo love you so much xxx