My niece Lauren is turning 4 years old in July, and she wants a Princess birthday party. As much as I cringe at the thought of all things “Disney Princess” it is what she desperately wants, and so she shall have it!
My sister is the one with questions this time, so I am going to do my best to give party planning advice. I know, Missy, that you are worried about space in your home for a party – if your guest list is 10-12 girls I really think you’ll be okay. Remove all extraneous furniture (maybe the coffee table? the leather club chair and side table), put away most of the toys and I think you will be fine. You could use your dining room table for eating and crafts if you wanted to, just cover the table with plastic (tape underneath) use a table cloth that you don’t really care that much about, and cover the chairs in a plastic/towel combination (tape underneath).
Your local scrapbooking store or craft supply store has a ton of 12x12 patterned papers to choose from that would make excellent invitations. Choose a few sheets of patterned paper preferably something pink and sparkly with maybe even a crown, and a matching/coordinating sheet of 8 ½ x 11 plain colored paper. I would choose something that is NOT cardstock because you are going to put this through your printer at home. For my sample here I chose a more dusty pink palette, but I would even go more sparkly if you can find it. To make the princess theme more noticeable, I’ve done some clever wording of the party details. When assembling your invitation, make sure that your patterned paper is slightly smaller than your envelope, and your plain color paper is then smaller still. You could even add a little bit of jewel stickers or (a tiny bit goes a long way) glitter to the front.
Stay simple, and yet mature. I would do small pink flowers in small containers, either vases or drinking glasses, and then wrap the container in pink tulle or ribbon. Yards of tulle or ribbon can be purchased at outlet stores or downtown (L.A.) at the mart very inexpensively and can be reused at future parties (baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties). You can drape furniture, chairs, windows, doorways and the “tablescape” (the food and cake table) with tulle. Shades of pink paper goods, pink (paper or tulle) table runners with glittery jewels sprinkled over them, tiaras as centerpieces.
You have so many choices here! Do you want to do a craft? Do you want a performer/storyteller? Why don’t you start with setting up a dress up area. Beg, borrow and steal dress up stuff from your sisters and friends, and create an area where the girls can choose a variety of clothing and accessories and try them on in front of a mirror. I used an old full length mirror from the back of my closet door and just leaned it against the wall next to the dress up chest. Even though the girls came dressed in very fancy party clothes, every single one of them put things on top of what they were wearing.
If you want to do a craft, I would suggest magic wands. You can buy kits from places like Oriental Trading company, or you can simply use plain cardboard or cardstock glued to a skewer/dowel. Supply the girls with ribbon, jewels, paint and glue (I would avoid glitter like the plague) and they will be in heaven.
You could even play a game – make sure you have prizes enough for each girl to “win” one. My favorite game at this age is “Freeze Dance”, easy and fun for all. Gather the girls to one central area and play music for a few seconds, when you stop the music all the girls must freeze where they are, if one moves she is called out to get her prize. And continue until all have won their prize.
I know you are not going to make the cake, and that is absolutely normal. I am the crazy mom who insists on making a ridiculous cake every year. So here is my suggestion: get a bundt cake from Creative Cakery or a 9 inch round cake from the bakery, and you purchase a tiara and wand (paper, plastic or real, just so long as they are glittery and sparkly) and put them on top of the cake. It will look spectacular!
Instead of cellophane party favor bags why not get some organza draw string bags from Fabric Barn. They are super cheap and you can fill them with stickers, rings, tattoos, pens and journals, bubbles or hair accessories.
Let me know how the party turns out! And as always, shoot me an email if you need any more advice :)