Party: Spring ice cream 5th birthday party
Invitation: Made by me, using the artwork from the July 2012 printable calendar page from Creature Comforts. Envelopes stamped by my daughter using a kikki.k stamp kit and paint colours that we mixed to match the invitation.
Cake: Made by me - a layered chocolate and lemon coconut cake with buttercream frosting and natural-coloured hundreds and thousands. Both cake recipes were adapted from the free August 2012 Coles supermarket magazine (Melt 'n' mix chocolate cake and Lemon coconut cupcakes). I topped the cake with mini marshmallows and white pom poms that I made and attached to skewers. I also made another mini cake with leftover chocolate cake batter from the preschool cupcakes, and topped with Persian fairy floss and a jaffa.
My sister made balloon ice cream cones by wrapping a waffle cone-printed A4 sheet of paper into a cone shape and attaching to a balloon on a stick with sticky tape. I have seen helium balloons displayed this way on Pinterest, but to keep costs down we re-used balloon sticks that we had collected from shopping centres (you can also buy them from grocery stores).
Budget Tips and Advice: Start early. I made the cupcakes, mini cake and preschool cupcakes in advance and froze them until the day before for last-minute frosting. The Persian fairy floss was fun, but it melted very quickly, so I wouldn't recommend using it, unless you plan to serve it straight away. The mini cake was cute but I forgot to slice it up, so it wasn't eaten. Keep costs down by using seasonal fruit and flowers. Use what you have on hand and spend your budget on an attention-grabbing item (my $15 was spent on the Robert Gordon ice cream cups, cupcake wrappers and goodie bags).
Something special: We were so lucky to have my parents visit from interstate and my sister visit from overseas for the weekend to help celebrate. It was really special for all of us. Everyone helped prepare for the party, thank goodness! I was also lucky that my sister took so many great photos (many of which I used above), as did my friend Renay. Thank you!
P.S.: Although we weren't able to use the goodie bags I received, I had exceptional customer service from online party goods store Sweetest Soiree. Samantha was more than helpful, communicative, and went out of her way to keep me updated on my order and offer suggestions. I recommend her highly.
I love pretty party food and decorations, but as you can see, my talents lie with a more casual party vibe than a perfectly styled dessert table. My cakes are often a little lop-sided and I'm always still icing cupcakes in the kitchen and stringing up bunting when people arrive. I like to make my cakes from scratch, but that's because the taste is more important to me than the look. Budget-friendly is a priority, so I like to re-use props and use seasonal fruit and garden flowers. I hope that it makes our parties seem less precious and more accessible, and that our friends feel relaxed, and hopefully provides a little inspiration too.
I would love to hear all about your parties, what you loved about them and any advice you have. I have a submissions page here if you would like to share yours too. The smaller the budget the better!
Images: Steph Bond-Hutkin | Bondville