A Ballerina Birthday Party on a Budget

Happy Monday, friends! I am SO excited to share our weekend events with y’all! Our little one’s 2nd birthday is technically today (how did time get away from us so quickly?!), but we celebrated with our wonderful family and friends Saturday, and it was a beautiful day.
I said in the very beginning of planning this that we weren’t going to make it a huge over-the-top event, and what did I do? I got carried away, as usual. I won’t even deny it; moms throwing parties for their two year olds are totally decorating for the benefit of the people who will appreciate it. My kid won’t remember any of it. But the great thing is I didn’t have to spend a truckload of money to decorate her party.

So here’s the decor breakdown:
Sweets table– A thrifted dresser that I madeover for her bedroom.
Curtains– I made these for her bedroom too, which I’ll be sharing the tutorial for later on.
Curtain rod– I already owned the rod and spray painted it Rustoleum Heirloom White and hung it with 3M Command Hooks that were just hanging out in our junk drawer.
Banner– Burlap banner made from twine and burlap scraps that I created on a computer printer.
Cupcake stand– A Goodwill find that cost just $3.
2 white pitchers/vases– A thrift store find for $2 that I filled with faux Walmart pink peonies at $2 each. I already owned the faux white flowers.
Pink scroll chargers– A Goodwill find for $3 each that were originally ceiling medallions. I painted them using Krylon spray paint in Ballet Slipper. They will be used as wall decor later.
Gumball jar– A repurposed apothecary jar we already had in our bathroom holding cotton balls.
Tutu garland– Twine, clothespins, and tulle bought by my mother-in-law. Tulle typically costs about $3 per spool.
White cake stand– We already owned this but I made it a year ago for about $5 using a candlestick, dinner plate, spray paint, and super glue.
Pointe shoes– I had in storage from my ballet dancing days in middle/high school.
Lace craft tablecloth– Found with the other plastic tablecloths on the Walmart party aisle for $3.
The entire setup cost me:  $45.00 Crazy, right?! (I didn’t count the dresser and curtains since they are being repurposed from Olivia’s bedroom. They will live on for a long time after this party.)

The tutus doubled as favors at the end of the party.

Sweet little party guest Joslyn modeled it for us. Check out this tutorial to make it! It took me about 20-30 minutes per tutu and cost $3 each.

We bought cupcakes from the grocery store bakery at less than 50 cents each and simply dropped them into some nicer looking wrappers.

I made the sugar cookies using mostly ingredients we already had.
I had found the gumballs in Target about 2 months ago at 50% off. And I made the dipped Rice Krispie Treats by just following the traditional recipe, sticking a cake pop stick through them, and dipping them in pink candy melts.
Easy and cheap, and it still looked like it cost a pretty penny.

I love that my old pointe shoes got a change of scenery from the depths of our closet. (Something always told me to hold onto these in case I ever had a girl. I’m so glad my hoarding self listened to my gut on that one.)

I’m kind of sad we didn’t get around to doing our craft activity. People were ready to eat! So I nixxed it. And we didn’t have as many kids as originally planned. It was a busy weekend for everyone. But we used craft supplies we already had.

I used even more pointe shoes and a Goodwill white pitcher with Walmart flowers for a centerpiece. We have had the burlap runner on our table for months now, so I used it here too.

This was the finished product! I want to frame it in Olivia’s room eventually.

I made all of the sweets table signs and craft table sign on PicMonkey. I just printed them from our computer and they were done!

In case you’re wondering, I painted the blue fish bowl for our boy guest to make a handprint goldfish in case he wasn’t a fan of the pink tutu craft. 😉

For the favors, I included a tiny plastic tiara, a bottle of bubbles, a small containter of Play-Doh, and a ring pop. All together, the favor box cost $2 thanks to 4 packs of items from the Dollar Store.

But really, y’all, favors aren’t necessary. If you have to cut costs, get rid of the favors. I never think about favors at others’ parties, and I’m always a bit surprised to get one. I mean, really? You fed me and you’re giving me more goodies? You’re too generous.

To keep from going broke on food, we held the party from 3:00-5:00 (after little ones’ naptimes and between lunch and dinner) so that we wouldn’t have to provide a full meal. We served appetizer foods, and, from what I could tell, everyone was completely satisfied.
We all devoured the food before I could snap a picture of the spread. It was yummy stuff. My parents and a few other guests brought a couple of appetizers too.
Here is what we served:
Stuffed Mushrooms (for any vegetarians in the crowd)
Mini Chicken Salad Sandwiches (Using a $4 container of deli chicken salad and a loaf of store brand white bread)
Potato Chips and French Onion Dip (Using store brand again- There is usually no difference between store brand and name brand.)
Veggie Tray with Carrots, Celery, and Cherry Tomatoes with Ranch Dressing
Fruit and Cheese Tray
Cheese Ball with Pita Points
Olivia LOVED every second! It was so much fun to see the joy on her face the entire day.
Our silly girl now poses for photos. Stop growing up so fast!

Aaaand…after having cupcakes, we went out in the backyard to show her the big birthday present from her grandparents. Remember the “Mack Daddy” Project? I don’t think her little legs could carry her fast enough. I’m amazed we were able to keep it a secret for an entire week.

Pure joy.

“Grandaddy” got to do the honors on the slide.

And the bubble machine was a huge hit (which I got in exchange for a store return last week…it wasn’t technically free but if it didn’t come out of my wallet at the time, it totally counts).
I’m so happy with how it all turned out. But even without all of the “froo froo” it was perfect simply having so many of the people we love there to celebrate. Your toddler will not hold a grudge because you didn’t all out decorate for his/her party. Having around those you love is all that matters in the end. 🙂
I don’t think I’ll ever get over how emotional our daughter’s birthday will be for me. It will always be exciting for her, but, for me, I’ll never forget that exactly on this day, I first met this sweet little girl who changed my life forever.
Now, we’re off to stuff our faces full of leftover cupcakes and play for hours on end in the rain on the playground! This post turned out way longer than I had planned.
I hope you take a moment this week to act like a kid again, to dance in your living room, to eat chocolate without thinking about calories, and to count your blessings for what you have. That’s at least what we’ll be doing. 😉
Love and hugs,

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  1. Awwww, everything looked stunning!! And I’m TOTALLY doing that tutu handprint project! So cute. So much love went into that party…she’s a lucky little lady 🙂

    1. Thanks, Heather! I wish we’d had time to do it with the other kids but Olivia and I still had fun doing it ourselves. There are so many insanely cute handprint projects out there! I try to do one once a month. 🙂 They’d be cute to hang up a bunch of different ones in a playroom and see the handprints grow over the years!