From the beginning I knew I wanted to do something really special for my daughter’s first birthday. When I came into my stepson’s life he was 3 and I don’t plan to have another child so this was my one and only chance to plan a first birthday. I started planning in January, meanwhile Delilah’s birthday wasn’t for almost another 6 months. I started by picking a theme and then making a Pinterest board. I chose Minnie Mouse which ended up being a great choice because 3 weeks after Delilah’s birthday we were going to Disney World! Although I didn’t know that at the time.
I started making some simple DIY decorations in the months prior so I felt more connected to the event. I made a high chair banner using black elastic, ribbon, a hot glue gun and some paper. For the Minnie in the center I cut paper and glued it on with the glue gun. I adhered it to the high chair with double sided foam tape. Here’s a picture of it from her party:
To not feel such a financial burden from the party I spread my costs out over the following few months. In February I ordered her birthday outfit from Etsy shop Selenalockwood. I ordered it in the 18 months size because Delilah was in bigger sizes (fitting into 6 months by 3 months old and 9 months by 5 months old) but she could have fit in 12 months too. Luckily the 18 months still fit her just as good.
In March I booked the venue. Delilah’s birthday party was held at Bay & Bee which is a Montessori based baby play area that hosts private birthday parties every weekend. I had the option of paying $275 to rent Bay & Bee for her party or join as an annual member and have the birthday party included, I chose to do the membership. I already paid month to month to be a member as this was one of my favorite places to bring Delilah and this brought my monthly payments down too! Another major perk of Bay & Bee is that they allowed me to serve alcohol which allowed my party to appeal to my friends with kids and my friends without. I’m very lucky to live next to a place like Bay & Bee.
The next two months I started buying more decorations and party supplies sporadically. I would go to the dollar bin at target and pick anything cool up, I got these cool silver and buckets that I hot glued a pink ribbon too and I put the utensils in them. I also bought a pink and white chevron banner and decorated it with chalkboard paint in the shape of mickeys head and used chalkboard markers to write ” Happy Birthday “. While garage sale-ing one day I found an ugly canvas on sale for $2 and covered it in chalkboard paint and used it to make a Minnie Mouse themed stats board.
I decided to make personalized invitations from Vistaprint. I planned on using my photographer to take the pictures for the invitation but then I realized that would be a lot of extra money for pictures that would be so small anyways so I grabbed my DSLR, put Delilah on her birthday outfit, took one balloon we had bought to Publix and had it filled with helium, grabbed a stuffed Minnie Mouse, and I took Delilah to a small nature trail. I could have done the pictures at the beach too but I wanted something different. I took about a dozen pictures and if you look at them really closely the quality isn’t amazing but on the invitation the pictures were so small that they looked great. It was about $40 after shipping for 25 invitations with envelopes.
My mom was in charge of party favors and instead of doing set bags we just got some random Minnie and Mickey themed items and set them on the cake table. At the end of the party we told everyone to make sure they grabbed from the table. We had 5 stuffed Minnie’s (at $7 a piece), Minnie and Mickey tin boxes ($4 each at party city), Minnie and Mickey cups in a Minnie bag with gummy snacks inside ($1 each from target), cotton candy, and my cousin had a friend make these cute Minnie pencil toppers which was random but cute and also free for me so I didn’t mind. I preferred just doing a favor table because that way I didn’t have to make gift bags filled with stuff no one really wants.
In June I started to buy the food. My menu for the party was just a light snack since the party was at 2 PM and I figured people would have already have eaten lunch. I served cheese and crackers, a fruit platter, brigadero (a Brazilian dessert), Rice Krispy treats, birthday cake and at the last minute my parents also supplied quiches from Sam’s Club. Four weeks out I bought the non perishables like crackers, juice boxes, mini water bottles for the kids and big water bottles for the adults, Rice Krispy cereal (left it closed) and marshmallows to make treats, and 2 cans of condensed milk. Then 2 weeks out we bought two 24 packs of beer, Yuengling and Bud Light; 2 bottles of white wine, sprite, and peach lemonade to make sangria; and tequila, triple sec, and strawberry jello to make strawberry margarita Jell-O shots. What can I say, I like to party. Not really, I didn’t even have time to drink but I wanted to make sure my guests were taken care of. The week of the party I bought the food which included 2 blocks of cheese, a watermelon, a pineapple, a mango, grapes (which never even got used), blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, a peach and lime for the sangria. I made everything either the day before or the day of the party.
I also ordered the cake that Monday from Cinotti’s Bakery which is a locally owned bakery in Jacksonville Beach. I paid extra to get the Minnie decorating package and ordered the 10 inch option (I didn’t realize how big it was!) so it ended up coming to $80 which was well worth it. The cake was so delicious and beautiful! And it came with a free smash cake.
I used Meredith Rowe Photography for the pictures. She gave me a great rate of $150 for 1 hour of shooting and gave me ALL the pictures (over 200!) from the party. Photographer prices vary locally but most other photographers charge $200 for an hour and only give 20 pictures. I have used Meredith Rowe Photography for family pictures and for a mini Valentine’s day photo shoot and her work is top quality. I will always use her for my photo needs!