Monday, February 18, 2013

A Birthday Carnival - Decorations

Earlier this month, we celebrated Big Brother turning 7 and Baby E turning 2.  Their birthdays are 10 days apart so they were gracious enough to let Mommy get away with just doing one party.  (Okay, really they just haven't thought to complain about it yet, but I'm sure that day will come!)  With such a big age spread, we wanted a theme that would be fun for all of our guests - the Birthday Carnival was a huge hit!

We used the Fellowship Hall of a local church and were lucky enough to have tons of wonderful vendors participate in our big day.  Kelley Craig Photography gifted us with her amazing talent and many of these photos are courtesy of her.  This was the first time I've ever used a photographer for a birthday party and I have to admit, it was ah-ma-zing!!  I was so excited to be able to chat with guests and interact with the kids without having to worry about who was taking pictures or if anyone was capturing all the special moments!  It's a luxury that I could definitely get used to :)

Throughout the week, I'll be sharing different aspects of the party (don't want to overwhelm anyone).  You can expect to see pictures and information about our party decorations, food, games, and entertainment.  I'll also be sharing tips for how I saved money when making everything for the party.

To welcome guests to the party, I used a large chalk board for our welcome message.

Next to the welcome sign, we had a basket with Party Animal Cracker Favors.  These literally only cost me the price of the animal crackers since I used scrapbook paper that I already had on hand.

Inside the room, we decorated the tables with red, blue, yellow, and green tablecloths and circus-inspired centerpieces.  The centerpieces were made of circus cardboard boxes that I found in packages of 6 for $2 at Michaels.  I used puppets that we already had at home and propped them up with rulers and paint sticks.  I weighted the bottom of the boxes with baggies filled with rice and covered them with tissue paper.  Then, we used helium balloons (courtesy of a gift card from a review I did for Party City).  So, out of pocket, I spent $2 on the centerpieces.  I ended up spending about $5 on tablecloths since the church already had many of them for us to use.

I added an 8x10 picture of each of the boys (courtesy of Brianna Lauren Photography) to the gift table to help us keep the boys' gifts separate.  I took these off of our photo wall at home, which concerned my husband a little until I assured him that I was planning to put them right back!

The second half of the room was dedicated to our homemade carnival games and a small stage for the wonderfully talented Tricky Person Productions and Glitterbugz Face-painting.

In the middle of the room, I did a simple crepe paper backdrop for a photo booth and set out a few small chairs from home.  I picked up two circus headbands from Michael's for $1/each to give the kids some props for the photo booth and we brought in some stuffed circus animals just for fun!  Right before the party started, we tied a few more helium balloons to the chairs and the photo booth was complete.

As you can see, most of the decorations were things I had at home (stuffed animals, puppets, chairs, pictures, scrapbook paper) or things that I was able to get cheaply or using gift cards.  I was really pleased with how quickly the decorations came together for the party.  Stay tuned tomorrow for ideas for DIY Carnival Games made from things you can find easily around the house.

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