For Judah's 1st birthday, I was conflicted. I wanted to do something special without going overboard or breaking the bank. After doing some research and finding some cheap party decorations at Walmart and Target, I told Jordan that I thought we could invite everyone we want and make it under $100. So we went for it, and it was a fun challenge!
It really couldn't have gone better and I was super happy with how it turned out. I didn't do a theme, just wanted to make it Judah themed since he probably wouldn't have appreciated a theme anyway. :)
Firstly, the invitations. I've used Vista Print multiple times before and have been pleased with the value, speed, and quality. They almost always have some sort of coupon code to use if you search for one, and this time it was 25% off invitations. Perfect. Since you can customize it with pictures, the invitation doubled as a keepsake for us and people who care about that kinda thing like grandparents. We sent out around 30 invites and this was included in the budget.
I had some pictures printed off of Instagram from Walgreens and Parabo Press for this picture window.If it's your first order from Parabo you can get 25 square prints for free (plus shipping) and they are excellent quality. They are the ones with the white border. I have the window up all of the time and use it for cards and photos. It's an old window with lace behind it and twine with tiny clothes pins.
This is a chalkboard that stays in that spot all the time, so I changed it for the party. I used chalk markers from Michael's for the lettering. It was made from an old crib! Our good friend/relative made it and her pieces can be found here on Facebook.
This could easily be done just using black paper or foam board if you don't have a big chalkboard.
Instead of going all out with decorations throughout the house, I wanted to focus on one spot where I knew the most pictures would be taken. Here is my advice on that:
- Pick a place in your house/venue that gets good light
- Imagine the area in pictures or even take test pictures beforehand
- Think about the look you're going for and what colors you will use before you shop
- Pick colors that will flow nicely with the decor of your home/that room
- Go through your house or stash of party stuff to see if you already have things you can use
- Decide what you want the eye to be drawn to in pictures, which will probably be the birthday boy/girl :)
- Focus your time, money, and effort in that spot
Since his birthday is in March, it was difficult to plan if it should be outside or inside. The weather can vary so much. To ease my mind I decided to stick indoors.
We don't have a large, open gathering area in our home but we made do with the living room. The colors are neutral and I knew I'd love the white and gray background of the fireplace and wall. It gets pretty good light when the sun is out, and thankfully it was. :)
The banners/bunting were from Target and Walmart. I struck gold at Target when I found their adorable Spritz line of party decor on clearance, and then an extra percentage off clearance through the Cartwheel app. This included plates, napkins, party hats, paper straws, the cake topper, garland, and banners. Everything was from Target except the chalkboard picture banner from Walmart. Some of it isn't available anymore, I guess that's why it was on clearance!
Here are some of the items I purchased along with ones I didn't end up using but will in the future:
I was going to make a banner for Judah's monthly pictures, but found this chalkboard flag banner at Walmart for only 2 DOLLARS. Craziness. I got two of them since they had 10 flags each and used some leftover to make the tiny "ONE" banner for Judah's chair. I just cut the flags down smaller for that one. It even came with chalk.
I had his monthly pictures printed in squares from mpix and simply taped them onto the banner. Afterward I took them off to put in his baby book.
We were going to use his big high chair for cake time but then realized it would be easier to use his portable Ingenuity booster seat strapped onto one of our dining chairs. It was less bulky and we could take the tray off and keep him in it for presents if he obliged. (He did for a while.)
This ridiculously cute chalk board banner cake topper was included in the Target clearance haul and I can't find it online. I can't find a similar one either. You could always make it with some time and effort, but I'm glad I didn't have to. Haha. :)
The DELICIOUS AMAZING INCREDIBLY YUMMY cake is from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Cannot rave about these cakes enough, they are so perfectly moist with just the right amount of icing. A little goes a long way. Judah's little cake was a "bundtlet" from there and he loved it (after getting used to it).
We had an amazing time celebrating our boy and the joy he's brought us in the past year. Shout out to our moms for bringing some delicious finger foods which was a huge help, both to me and to our budget. :) We had the party in the afternoon so we didn't serve a meal. We served fruit, veggies, finger sandwiches, cheese and crackers, pretzels, sausage dip and chips, doughnut holes, angel food cake with strawberries, and birthday cake. YUM.
Judah had a blast playing with his little buddies and seeing his friends and family. We were overwhelmed with love.
Will we reuse everything for baby #2's first birthday? Hmmm....probably. :)