Budgeting & Planning for a Minnie Mouse 1st Birthday Party
Back when my daughter was just a newborn, I remember thinking about the day she would turn a year old and how it seemed so far away. Slowly, the time went by and I started counting down. One month, then two months, then three months… and so on. Soon she was nine months old and now, instead of waiting for her to be one, all I wanted was for time to slow down, and not just to have more time with her as a baby. Even more than that, I felt the pressure to start planning her FIRST birthday party.
I was super scared to plan another giant party, barely a year after a stressful wedding experience, but that’s a story for another day. I tend to overspend, and be under-impressed with the outcome.
This was my first time planning a kid’s birthday party, and still I felt this burning need to give my baby girl the best of the best, even though she’d probably be oblivious to what was happening and would never remember it. So I enlisted my aunts, who each have 2 kids to help me plan. We started with a master list, which was almost ten pages long. Let me tell you, it’s not very motivating to look at a list that giant, so I basically got nothing done for the next month. Then a month before the party, I realized that I was in a tight spot. WIth nothing ordered and no concrete plans, I had to start doing some actual work.
First on the agenda, the guest list. We reached the 100 guests mark pretty quickly with both mine and my husband’s families and friends. We decided to keep the number of guests at a strict 100. The guest list determines all of your subsequent decisions, especially on a budget.
Next in line of priority was theme. We tussled between Minions, Mermaids, and a million others, but we finally settled on Minnie Mouse. My daughter had developed an obsession for Minnie over the last few months, but we had no idea how long it would last, considering her likes and habits changed almost on a daily basis. We stuck with Minnie Mouse, only because we couldn’t think of another surefire option. Luckily, as the days grew closer, so did her obsession with Minnie Mouse. (And who knew, that Minnie obsession is still strong today at 18 months.)
Now, the party budget. My husband set the budget, and worried I might not come under, I set off to shop on Amazon. As I looked through Amazon, Etsy and Oriental Trading websites, I realized that I had no clue what to buy. Also this party theme and size has so many moving parts that it was hard to keep track of what I was buying, from where, and how much. So I made a giant list of all the things we would need, organized into all the different tables and components of the party.
So the big question was WHERE? With a tight budget, and with 100 people to invite, I knew venue would get tricky. Every venue was either $25/per person, or it was the usual community center room with a 3 hour time limit. I decided that the best way to do this would be to keep this event at maybe a park or backyard. My parents had been offering up their home for a while and they had a beautiful giant backyard so I decided why not.
We knew an affordable tent rental that we had used during our wedding and it just seemed like the perfect idea. The tent by itself looks plain, so you just have to spruce it up. This is how a simple birthday party turns extravagant.
Ziya’s Minnie Mouse Birthday Outfits
I knew I wanted Ziya’s outfit to be immersed in the theme. I quickly realized that it had to be made, not simply bought. So I recruited a friend to help. She had a Cricut machine and was able to spin out a quick draw up of what I wanted, and went to work. She took a simple white onesie ordered off of Amazon and ironed on the pretty gold design. To match, I purchased a pink tutu and headband from Etsy to go with it.
I also wanted Ziya to have a more comfy lounging outfit for the party, which I found a great clearance item at target: a simple Minnie Mouse onesie!
Now like a total cheeseball, I wanted my husband and myself to semi match with my daughter so I bought a simple lace maxi from Amazon, and gave my husband a simple white linen shirt matched with blue shorts.
Desserts / Sweet Tables Setup
I have a weird soft spot for sweet tables/ cake tables, and I like mine EXTRAVAGANT! I knew I wanted the colors to be pink and gold, and that even though it was a children’s party, I wanted it to be classy, but fun and playful. So I immediately thought of my parents extra dining table they had stored away in the basement. It had a glass table top to it.
There was only one problem, the post on the table was silver, it would look extremely tacky if we had one random silver object amongst a bunch of gold. I had to get creative since my mom did NOT want her table spray painted. I found these cool gold round decals on Amazon and thought if I stuck them all over, it would give the appearance of gold polka dots which would help the table from sticking out like a sore silver thumb. Next, we had to think of all the components of the delicious sweet table.
Chocolate covered pretzels
Minnie Mouse shaped PB&J sandwiches
Popcorn, Chocolate covered Rice Crispy Treats, Rock Candy
Glitter cake pops
Chocolate covered strawberries
Minnie Mouse Birthday Cake Ideas
At first, I didn’t think we’d have a cake at this party. Instead, I thought the sweet table and all the treats it held would be enough. Also, this was the one way I was able to convince my husband to splurge on a sweet table, by giving up the cake. But as the day grew closer, I started running into all these really cool pics of Minnie Mouse cakes, and I kept feeling my sweet table was incomplete. So a week before the party I decided a cake was a must and with that, a cake smash was a must as well (typical me).
So I started reaching out to everyone I knew regarding where they have ordered their cakes from. I remembered this cute little bakery in Wilmette not too far from my parents house. I called Lawrence Dean Bakery and asked if they could help me. They said they didn’t do cakes like the one I wanted, but they referred a lady by the name of Sophia, who owns a small business from home called Freya Cakes. She also lived in Wilmette and delivered the cake as well. I was a little hesitant considering I didn’t know anyone who had ever used her and wondered how she would be able to create such a large detailed cake in four days along with a smash cake.
Considering I had no choice because of my last-minute decision, I placed the order. Much to my surprise, her prices were extremely affordable and she was super easy to work with. And when it came to the actual day of the party, I have to say I was absolutely floored with the cake and how beautiful and perfect it was. It surpassed every expectation I could have ever had for the cake.
Minnie & Mickey Mouse Decorating Ideas
Minnie & Mickey Mouse Balloons
To add a bit of pizazz and to make the theme apparent, I had to add some clear signs of Minnie Mouse. I looked for cardboard cutouts thinking they would be perfect, but everywhere I looked, they were upwards of 40 dollars. Which in my mind was way too much, especially if I wanted to incorporate a few different variations of them throughout the party. Also, they were not as big as I wanted them to be. I wanted my Minnie and Mickey to make a grand appearance. Luckily I saw these great Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse balloons on Oriental Trading and they seemed the right size and pretty cute. I ordered them being optimistic, but also a little scared, so I went ahead and ordered some cardboard cutouts as back up, hoping I wouldn’t have to use them and would instead be able to return them.
When the balloons came in they were at first a bit confusing. Every part of the balloon had to be filled with air separately, and then the limbs and head had to be attached to each other along with the weights to hold the entire thing down. The end result, however, was so cute and admittedly, they were as tall as me!
We needed some glitz to really throw this party over the edge, and I knew the perfect way to do that would be to add a shiny sequin backdrop. The obvious option was to buy a gold one considering gold is shiny and over the top, but all the ones I saw seemed tacky and I was unable to tell the shade of gold while shopping online, so I started looking into the pink ones just to see what they looked like, and I can’t overstate how they had the perfect amount of shine. With that, I also realized that I had been so focused on gold that I could really use some splashes of pink.
DIY Minnie Mouse Pom Pom Backdrops
This was a project I had been dying to do! I found it on Pinterest, and made the grave mistake of not pinning it. When it came time to execute, I spent hours and hours through Google Images trying to find it again. I am not the most artistic person around, so I asked my aunts to lend a hand.
One of them is great at understanding symmetry, and making perfectly round Minnie ears and head was a must. We bought several poster boards and pom poms in shades of pinks and white, and went to work! The pom poms were cheap, and opening them up so they formed flowers instead of balls, really helped with setting them properly and making them look nice and full. It was definitely a labor of love though, opening hundreds of pom poms. We wanted to make these backdrop pieces large, so we taped two poster boards together and drew in Minnie’s head and ears using a simple trick.
We anchored a piece of yarn to the center and attached a pencil to the other end, and swooped it all the way around the center to make the perfect circle. We then used Elmers glue to stick things that look like white-out strips to glue each pom pom. These were so easy to use and flat, so there was no bulge when gluing and no mess. The end result was beautiful. We ended up making two of these; one in light pink and one in a more vibrant darker one. We used the darker one as the backdrop for our sweet table to contrast the light pink sequin.
Tables / centerpieces
I really wanted the tent and the party to look cohesive but I wanted to do that in the most budget friendly way possible. I had originally planned to do either tablecloths or a quick runner but I got lucky and found that the runners were on clearance for 75 cents so I was able to get both, which truly added to the whole room and the feel. Now we had long rectangle tables so I needed at least three pieces to make each table look full. I didn’t have time to DIY everything so I went ahead and bought centerpieces off oriental which were cute and perfectly Minnie Mouse themed and were playful. I put one on each table and to create symmetry on each side of it I added homemade glitter jars which my brothers girlfriend was super sweet to make for us.
Minnie Mouse Balloon Arch
Doesn’t every party need a grand entrance and especially with a dull white tent, I felt the need to really spice it up. Enter google lol I searched and searched and searched and I couldn’t find anything that beat this beautiful Minnie Mouse shaped balloon arch I had seen online but the catch was that it was very very tricky. I didn’t actually understand how to make it at all and it required these rods that you would bend and create this arch and every rod I found available to buy was for a table top. I had pretty much given up on the idea when my uncle had his brilliant idea. He apparently had a giant tent from his camping escapades and he said he had the same rods that held that tent up. He brought those over a few days before Ziyas birthday and came with some of my other aunts and uncles and everyone got to work blowing hundreds of balloons and twirling them and placing them and last but not least, anchoring the whole thing. In the end it was the most magnificent thing I have ever seen and I was so impressed that it was made all my my family.
The next order of business was food. With our giant families and my husband’s family being vegetarian, I knew we would need quite the array of food. My mom volunteered to cook for the hundred people and it was godsend that she did, because it saved us thousands of dollars from the budget. She was going to make biryani (a one pot meal with rice and stewed chicken), Nihari (a beef stew cooked for hours), and kebab (minced meat spiced and baked in the oven) along with several appetizers and desserts.
There was one problem here, we didn’t have a main vegetarian option. So we went to my mother-in-law and asked her to make a main dish, so that everyone had options. She made ragda patties (an Indian street food consisting of potato cakes topped with a green pea stew). With the menu ready, I made sure we had plenty of hot plates, and to make the food table seem festive, I added pink tablecloths and gold plates and cutlery.
I also wanted to add some non-Indian, non-Pakistani food to the menu, and I thought what better way than a cheese platter, which quickly turned into its own cheese table. I went to Jewel and got an assortment of crackers, pita chips, and crostinis, as well as all sorts of different cheeses. Along with that, I made a quick trip to Trader Joe’s for their Thai lime cashews, and Gochujang almonds. And to add some sweetness: cranberries, apricots, and Turkish figs. It was quite the cheese table!
Kids’ Party Activities
Cotton Candy Machine
Cookie Decorating Station
From the beginning of this party, if there was one thing I knew I wanted for sure, it was a bouncy house. It adds so much fun, and would give all the kids an activity to do.
Up until a couple weeks before the party, I had the bouncy house all booked up and everything looking peachy. Then I got the most drastic of news… IT WAS GOING TO RAIN… and not just on the day of her party but that whole week. So I quickly canceled the bouncy house, because I only had a couple days left to be able to get my full refund. As the days got closer, it got gloomier and gloomier and I felt the need to find something fun for the kids to do so I searched high and low for a magician or someone to come to body art or balloon twisting but everyone was either booked or charging a ridiculous minimum for the hour.
I finally saw a local rental company which was renting cotton candy machines, now I didn’t know how this would work exactly but I did know the kids would thoroughly enjoy it. So I went ahead and booked it but it just didn’t seem like it was enough so I resorted to the typical classic activities.
I went on Amazon and quickly bought a pinata and candy, I went ahead and put together a cookie decorating station by simply ordering Minnie Mouse shaped cookies from the Lawrence Dean Bakery, and bought several different colors and types of cookie/cake decorations, including sprinkles and pens. I wanted to put together the perfect goodie bags, so I went ahead and bought a personalized stuffed animal on Amazon, for each kid along with a bag full of little knick knack party favors from Oriental Trading.
After all this planning on how to replace the Bouncy House the weather turned around the day before my daughters party and I was luckily able to rent a bouncy house for the next day. It was beautiful 75 degrees and super sunny! It was a hit, there was someone in it the whole time and at the end of the party even my husband and I enjoyed it with a bottle of whiskey.
Bonus Minnie Mouse Party Supplies & Favors
Personalized Water Bottles
I have always loved the thought of cute little personalized water bottles, I wasn’t able to do that at my wedding but for Ziyas birthday with a smaller group of people it seemed totally doable. So our friend Lindi Haws of Love the Day drew up an awesome graphic, which we then printed and used the man power of our entire family to cut out, and stick onto over 100 water bottles. (Check out Lindi’s printables library for just about any celebration.)
Personalized Goody Bags
Lindi was also sweet enough to draft up some other graphics with Ziya’s face on them, so we also had those printed, and then stuck them on all the goody bags, and the envelope holder we made 10 minutes before the party started.
These were super affordable from Oriental Trading, so I ordered from them.
Cake Stands and Platters
These were bought from an array of places, and I won’t lie I spent a pretty penny on them. Most of them were decorative pieces meant to be used around the house but I used them to put all sorts of desserts and cakes and treats on.
Rock candy/ food decor
I think rock candy is the prettiest candy, not gonna lie, it definitely doesn’t taste great in my opinion, but it made a great bouquet! Along with that, we tried to use a bunch of the sweets as decor like the chocolate-covered popcorn, and the Minnie Mouse shaped PB&J’s.
This was the handiwork of my 15 year old cousin, she made a huge batch of slime (here are some kid-friendly recipes for making slime) which we put into tiny glass jars with gold tops. We placed these as favors/giveaways and they also served as decor, because we placed them all over the tent.
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