Hi everyone! It’s been a busy couple of days as we’ve been celebrating my husband Ryan’s birthday all weekend! He turned 27 on April 22. I just can’t get over that! We started dating when he was 19! Time is flying, my friends!
Every year Ryan’s birthday rolls around Easter so it can sometimes get forgotten with all of the family and holiday festivities going on, and last year his birthday was three weeks before our wedding so we all were a little preoccupied with other things. But not this year! Even though his actual birthday was the day after Easter, I wasn’t going to let this stop me from celebrating him.
Ryan is an incredible husband. Every year for my birthday he gives me multiple birthday gifts, celebrates for days on end, and just makes me feel like a queen! So this year I wanted to go above and beyond for him to return the favor. I decided to throw him a surprise birthday party!
But here came the challenging part. I wanted to make Ryan feel so special on his birthday, but my bank account wouldn’t allow it. We have a lot going on right now with Ryan being a groomsman in an out-of-town wedding, booking a little getaway for our one-year wedding anniversary, and bills, bills, and more bills. I knew I was going to have to make this a budget-friendly celebration. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t going to be amazing! Here are 4 tips for throwing a great party while on a budget:
Select the venue: One of the first things you have to decide on when planning any type of party is where it’s going to be. Picking the venue is a big deal. It sets the tone for what kind of party you are going to host AND can be one of the most expensive parts of throwing a party. Try and find a place that doesn’t cost much or is free to use. A great and easy option is to have it at someone’s house. I wanted to have a fun atmosphere with minimal setup and decorations needed. I decided to have Ryan’s party at Wrong Iron on the Greenway. It’s a new and fun patio bar in New Orleans, and is one of our favorite bars to go to so I knew this would be a great place for the party. I was able to reserve the party area free of charge because it isn’t fully done being built, but you couldn’t even tell so it was a win-win situation! Make sure to shop around when it comes to finding the perfect venue for your party.
Invite everyone: I love printed materials! Working in public relations I’m surrounded by different types of paper and designs every day. I’m an even bigger fan of stationary and invitations. They can just be so adorable! But, if you’re on a budget, this is an area that you can absolutely save money on. Let’s face it, invitations ultimately end up in the garbage. Two solutions on how to inform your guests of the party without spending any money: Evites or Facebook event pages. I opted for a Facebook event page for Ryan’s birthday. I was able to inform our guests with all of the details for the party, post reminders and updates, and manage the guest list. Super simple!
Decide on decorations and party activities: Ryan and I were recently rewatching “How I Met Your Mother” for the umpteenth time. We were on the episode where it’s Lily’s birthday and Marshall plans games and activities centered around Lily. Since my goal for Ryan’s party was to make him feel extra special, I thought having decorations and activities centered on Ryan was just what I needed!
I created a game called “This or That” where guests had to choose between items that Ryan likes more. I created this worksheet in Microsoft Word and printed out the copies at home. We also played a memory game where guests wrote down a personal memory with Ryan on an index card. I then read them outloud and Ryan had to guess who wrote the memory.
As for decorations, I kept it pretty simple as the rustic-decor of the party space was already visually appealing. I purchased balloons from Party City to add to the birthday vibe. I knew I wanted to have Ryan’s face everywhere so I decided to have his face on sticks for people to take pictures with! I purchased these online from a company called Shindigz that specializes in personalized party supplies. They had great items at low prices. These were a hit at the party, and all of our guests took pictures with them all night long. Between the games and decorations, I spent under $40. If you do your research, you can find activities and decorations to fit any budget you have.
Choose one “wow” factor: Ryan is not a big sweets person. However, his mind has changed a little because of our groom’s cake from our wedding. He constantly says it was the best cake he ever had and that he was so bummed he only had one bite of it at our wedding. He brings this up all the time so I knew I had to get the same cake for his birthday! The cake was a chocolate cake with hazelnut mousseline filling and buttercream frosting from La Louisiane Bakery. Was this cake going to cost more than your average birthday cake? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely! I knew this was something that would bring joy to Ryan so it was important to me to make it happen. When planning your party, think about what is important to you and/or the guest of honor. What is that one thing you have to have no matter what? Your “wow” factor. Even though you’re on a budget make it a priority to make this happen.
I’m all about the glitz and the glam when it comes to throwing a great party, but at the end of the day it’s all about the people that are celebrating with you. So remember that when you feel like you don’t have the budget to throw this big, elaborate party, it will be a blast no matter what!
Thanks to my mom and sister, Kristen for setting up the party the day of and for taking pictures!