This week my little Niece Taylor turned 13 (oh how the years fly!) To mark the occasion I decided to throw my heart and soul into giving her a party she'd never forget (after all, a girl only turns 13 once.. and being a Summer baby I have missed countless Birthdays of hers due to my back-and-forth-LA-lifestlye).
So here is my guide to throwing an original Birthday party (and on a budget)!
Step 1 - The Invitation!
Being your typical 13 year old, Taylor naturally wanted to have a sleepover for her Birthday... but of course we needed something to entertain the girls before bedtime! So we chose a Beauty Bar theme (with a retro twist!)
When it comes to invitations, I have always believed that the personal touch is best! Pre computers I remember spending hours crafting ones for my own parties... however as we live in a time where technology is unavoidable, I opted to create this particular invitation digitally (plus it's free!)
I drafted the design on powerpoint(?!) using photos I found that suited the theme.. then adjusted the hue and added aged effects.
The great thing about creating your invitations this way is that you can email them or print them out! No excuses for not receiving your invite :) (Or alternatively you could use it as the main photo on an invite website such as evite or if you are so inclined, a facebook invite).
Step 2 - Decorations!
Being creatively inclined (and also on somewhat of a budget!) I decided to make my own decorations... again this makes for a much more individual setting!
I made bunting and paper chains using handmade paper from the pound store (surprisingly they have a very impressive crafting section). The "Happy Birthday" bunting I made from a recycled book, using a permanent marker to draw the letters.
When it comes to paper chains, the more you use the better the effect. We were limited for space to hang them, so I decided to create a little archway above the door. For an extra personal touch I also made labels for the food & drinks
Step 3 - Nourishment!
When it comes to Birthday parties... traditional party food never misses (after all what's a party without cheese & pineapple...)
However, some fancy little embellishments were made (such as fresh fruit kebabs, teensy burgers and mini red velvet cupcakes)
For virgin cocktails, you can't go wrong with fruit juices and some good ole fashioned lemonade... let the guests get creative and come up with their own fruity concoctions!
Step 4 - Activities!
Ok, so now you have your invitations out and before long a group of teenage girls will be descending on your doorstep. Oh heavens! But fear not! For the secret to avoiding those charming teenage strops and blood curdling squeals is so simple - keep them entertained!
Naturally being a beauty parlor themed party, mini makeovers were planned for the girls... but before that they needed something to prevent boredom turning into chaos!
I pre-prepared 3 different craft activities for the girls... super easy, relatively mess free projects that all tied in with the rest of the day.
I cut out hundreds of different coloured feathers & love hearts in different sizes, which could be used for all 3 crafts (again the paper was from the pound store!)
I then made instruction sheets for each one... (as well as examples of what they could create)
The crafts were:
- Decorate your own cocktail goblet (I bought plastic goblets, again from the pound store!) using permanent markers, ready to be filled with the selection of yummy virgin cocktails available
- Decorate your own drinking straw
- Make your own name tag corsage (this served the purpose of being fun and also making sure everyone knew each others name... as with most gatherings, not everyone had met before)!
I provided glue dots to attach the designs together to minimize mess, and safety pins for pinning them to the girls.
After all the crafting and food was out of the way... it was time to turn to the main event of the day.. the makeovers! Unbeknownst to my Niece, I had planned a surprise activity to coincide with their new looks... one which I was certain any group of girls would adore... a photoshoot in the woods, complete with a box of costumes and props (some of which I had made in advance for the party)
It's amazing how such a simple idea can create so much excitement and enjoyment! And for next to nothing in terms of cost. (The food and drink was probably the most extravagant purchase made).
Here are a selection of my favourite photos from the shoot...
We were so blessed with the weather... as well as being incredibly lucky to live in an area surrounded by beautiful countryside.. perfect for photos at sunset!
I'll post some of the more personal photos at a later date... the grown ups had themselves a bit of fun with all the props later on in the evening!
Oh, and I should mention that this party idea is not limited to teens... if someone threw me a party like this I would be in my element!!!