I've been talking about my daughter's Luau for a little bit. She turned 10 and double digits means we need to CELEBRATE! Today, I'm going to show you everything we did, from invitations to party gifts.
The key to any good party is PLANNING. I would say a good event is 75% planning and 25% execution. I'm really not the best at party planning. I tend to procrastinate and wait until the week of the party to do all the shopping, decorating, and since I like to make my pennies scream, I do the cooking and baking too. The problem when you wait until the last minute is that your budget can spiral out of control. Before you know it, you can spend twice as much than you intended because something is always bound to go wrong.
It took me a few years, but I finally figured out this parallel . Wait last minute= go over budget. Determined to successfully stay within budget means I had to sit my down and get my party planning on!
Here's how it started.
CHOOSE A DATE & THEME & BUDGET
My daughter got to choose the theme. She was really torn between Hello Kitty and a Hawaiian Luau. In the end, she chose the Luau.
We chose a date about a month out and MADE our invitations. I emailed most of the invitation out and she gave the rest out to her friends at church. She wrote their "Hawaiian" names on the envelope of their invitations. I thought that was a cute idea. She found the names through this site. Here's a sample of our invitation, all made on publisher. I added some of the Hawaiian flowers by clicking images on google and hitting copy and paste.
My party budget is always dependent on how much food we're having and how many people. Sometimes we host just a cake and ice cream party which we can do for about $75 including her gift. Other times we serve a meal. For this special 10th birthday, we doubled the budget and decided to barbeque!
DECORATIONS: $20 approximately.
With a date and theme set, we set out shopping about 3weeks before the party. Our goal was to pick the colors and buy paper goods. I kept all my receipts in an envelope, so if over bought an item, I could always take it back later. She chose pink and orange which I thought were very festive Luau colors. I decorated one table for all the food which was inside. The other was outside for her and her friends. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the tables when they were done. I'm so bummed I can't show you how they turned out except for the table as we were decorating.
One of our first stops was the Dollar Tree. There we found umbrella and pineapple straws and other Luau party decor..
We found these colorful leis and hawaiin grass skirts at Target. They were just 2/$1and much nicer than the ones at the Dollar Tree and cheaper. Winner! Each girl was greeted with her own Hawaiian ensemble. She was also welcomed by our own DIY Aloha sign.
You can read about how I made it for free HERE. A week before the party I made the rest of the decorations.
Tissue poms are very easy to make and they look like they're just floating in the air. You can read about how to make them HERE.
I also made these flowers which we used throughout the party tables.
I made several of them and they only cost $1 because they're made by.....ahem...coffee filters. Read it HERE to get your own flowers in your favorite colors started.
GAMES & ENTERTAINMENT: $20
For games and entertainment, we bought a slip n slide and let the kids go at it. A big inflatable wet slide just didn't make it into the budget. The kids still had a great time getting wet and playing the typical party games. We decided not to give out prizes for each game won simply because it wasn't in the budget.
CHOOSE MENU- approximately $75 including cake and we had lots of left overs.
For food, I finalized the menu about one week before and shopped just a few days before when we knew the guest count. Mr. Lewisville barbequed hot dogs, and I made home made potato salad and chicken salad sandwiches. There was also chips, watermelon, lemonade, bottled water, and everyone was able to make their own fruit kabobs. I took advantage of all the summer fruit on sale, so our guest could kabob their way with strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mangos, and kiwi. The kids loved it.
I also made the cake myself the night before. I used a large round cake pan on the bottom then a 8inch square pan for the top. I'll put up a tutorial on this later, but here is my biggest tip when it comes to icing cake.
Make sure the cake is cooled and "dirty" ice it. I don't know if this is an actual term, but I hear the Cake Boss use it all the time.
This is how you "Dirty Ice". Ice or frost your cake like normal. This is when all the cake crumbs are covered but still show through. Try to make it as smooth as possible, but this layer of frosting is like the "primer" of painting. Once you've iced your cake, put it in the fridge for about 15minutes to set. After 15 minutes, take it out and and frost it with the color of your choice.
Getting it smooth is another post, so stay tuned. This is how it turned out in the end.
The palm tree trunks are cookies and the sand is brown sugar and crushed wafers. The flowers and shells are not edible-just decorative and another Dollar Store buy.
THANK YOU GIFTS: $10
Finally, the thank you gifts were these cute sandals also from the Dollar Store.
We wrapped them up and set them in a basket.
And of course, we made the thank you tags ourselves.
BIRTHDAY GIFT: $25
MY daughter LOVES Justice. Any mom of a girl between 8-12 knows all about this store. They have cute and appropriately aged/modest clothing for this special age group of young girls. Best of all, they really know how to have a sale. I always wait for their 40% off sales in addition to their end of the season sales. It comes out to about 70% off. Hello! And really....what girl doesn't love new clothes.
So there you have it. We had a fabulous Luau in Lewisville and my daughter was blessed to be surrounded by friends and family. Her smile says it all and we are blessed beyond measure by her sweetness these 10 years.