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On August 1, my tiny baby who was basically born yesterday turned 3.
To celebrate, we invited family and some toddler friends to a nearby park for a low-key birthday party.
Truthfully, I didn’t go too far down the road of a “theme.” In fact, I was kind of like, meh, party in the park, everyone show up, we’ll bring the food. But then, I asked my friend Jennifer of Flying Pinwheel to design the invitation, and when she showed me the colorful picnic invite, I knew I had a theme to run with.
But let’s talk about this invitation first.
Isn’t it adorable?
Jennifer sells several reasonably priced printable invitations in her Etsy shop (I was actually torn between this one, this one and the eventual winner). She has 14 design templates available — covering many themes perfect for little kid parties — but she’s also able to custom design an invite if you have something specific in mind.
The process was stress-free and smooth — Jennifer and I exchanged a few emails, and she made updates to the text and a few tweaks to the design to make sure it was special for Emme’s day. She sent me a proof to approve and then final files — one PDF version with that could be printed with the invitations two-up, and one jpeg, so I could email the invite as well. I actually did both, so having the jpeg file was a nice bonus.
Going this route cost me about a third of what I’ve spent on invitations in the past. It also meant I could skip the hassle of waiting for personalized invitations to ship and could do all the printing at home or take the file to the local whatever-Kinkos-is-called-now and have them print it. (I, of course, chose the latter… and it took about 20 minutes). Yay for less hassle!
For the actual birthday, we kept it pretty simple — mostly because I waited until the last minute to do anything other than the invitations. We covered picnic tables in the park with gingham table covers. This was cheaper than buying separate tablecloths; I could cut them to whatever size I needed, and I still have the majority of the roll leftover. I also purchased tablecloth clips, which held the table covers in place and were tremendously helpful as it ended up being a windy day.
Because we were in a section of the park that was far from the playground, we brought toys for the kids to play with, including a few hula hoops and beach balls. We sprang for a bubble machine, which was a big hit (if you ever purchase one of these, make sure you get the refill; the bubbles go fast). For favors, we gave out novelty sunglasses, which proved popular among the toddler set as well.
Joey grilled burgers and hotdogs, and we had a princess cake, off-theme per the birthday girl’s request, from Costco — which got rave reviews, FYI.
Despite a quick costume change because the birthday girl fell in the one muddy spot in the entire park, the party was a success. And I’m glad it’s over.