It was Owen’s first birthday this past Saturday and I can’t believe he’s one already! We had a nautical themed party mixed with patriotic because it was near Independence day. In this way, we were paying homage to our anniversary, which is actually July 4th, and to my deceased mother who loved all things nautical. While pinterest is always my go to for party planning, I went really nuts in the creative department and I’m hoping these ideas will inspire you for your own parties!
I had a ridiculously low budget for this one. I’m really astonished I made it work honestly. But I’ve learned to cut corners through the years by making things myself and keeping it simple. Now that doesn’t mean it isn’t fabulous because you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the “ah” factor for simplicity.
Here’s some of the ways I have found to keep the costs down:
- If you can make it yourself without hiring out-do it!
- Find free printables-they’re everywhere!
- Use things you already have or buy in neutral shades. This applies to platters, servers and tableware. White or translucent is really ideal for this since you can add pops of color with foods, printables or decor.
- Have the party time AFTER lunch time so everyone has already eaten and you will only need to provide finger foods like fruits, snacks, or candies.
- Instead of using card stock, print on standard paper and glue onto construction board. This way, your party still gets that personal touch with the look of quality.
- Buy your disposables at Wal-Mart or The Dollar Tree. You can find designs for as low as .94 cents at Wal-Mart and The Dollar Tree offers great seasonal patterns.
- Make things personal with free editing softwares like PicMonkey and Pixlr
- Utilize the heck out of your Dollar Tree! I found a TON of stuff I used for my party-all of the platters and serving utensils, the hemp string for the banners and treat bags, the cardboard cutouts I used to make the pirate and the mermaid, the blue bucket that holds the water bottles, the duct tape, the rope candles and blue lanterns that are on the food table, the patriotic pin wheel decorations, the treat bags and some of the treats, the picture frames- ALL of these I found there! The hemp string was actually a 3 pack and I found the same thing at Wal-Mart for 3.48. Saving even just $2 helps when you’re on a low budget!
Everyone had such a blast at the party and I’m really pleased with how everything turned out. Take a peak and get inspred!
For the food labels and cupcake toppers, I used Adobe PhotoShop Elements and PicMonkey to create the images then printed them off with a laser printer on standard printing paper. I then used two-inch circle punches and a circle cutter to cut the images and glued them onto poster board (.33 cents a sheet at Wal-Mart). After drying, I then cut them out using the same circle punch and circle cutter. This process is MUCH cheaper than buying card stock to print on. I want to add that I’ve found laser printers to give the image a crisp finish instead of a slightly pixelated one. And I highly recommend investing in circle punches and circle cutters because they are worth the extra time they save and the precise, clean lines they create! I purchased my two inch circle puncher from Michael’s craft store when they had a sale going on. The circle cutter is really neat because you can create perfect circles from 4 inches in diameter to 12 inches in diameter! I got mine on clearance, I was lucky, but Amazon sales them here!
I found this easy Twinkie Sushi recipe on pinterest and the combination of sweets was surprisingly delicious!
“The Admiral’s Popcorn” is a recipe SeeVanessaCraft.com andit’s really good! I used kettle popcorn for both popcorn buckets.
I made the boat by using the free printable and instructions from bigdotofhappiness.com
The “Have a Whaley Good Summer” tag is a free gift tag printable I found at Just Another Day in Paradise
Here’s what the food table looked like. I found the banner at PattiMurphydesigns.com (again, FREE!). I tweaked mine a little to allow for more red options. You can easily do this yourself in Pixlr by using the paint bucket!
I think the kids and adults alike enjoyed these pirate and mermaid cut outs! They made for super cute pictures!
I think this was one of my favorite parties for the kids. It was an absolute blast! Can’t wait for the next one.