Have y’all heard of Sophie the Giraffe? If you have a toddler girl, I’m going to go with probably yes. My daughter has three media loves right now: Curious George (or “Monkey George” as she calls him), Daniel Tiger and Sophie the Giraffe (aside from Frozen, of course). So when I asked her if she wanted to have a Curious George, Daniel Tiger or Sophie birthday party, I was thrilled when Sophie was her top choice because it’s girly, fun, frilly, sparkly… All of those happy things little girls are made of, and set in Paris!
I’m usually on top of planning events like this, but I found myself this year three weeks out and only just having sent out invitations! It’s a busy season, what can I say? Still, creativity wins out every time and I had so much fun planning out all the details of Ashlyn’s party!
The invitations I chose (available on Etsy here) were my inspiration for the party decor.
My mother-in-law has a closet full of silk flowers and is wonderfully generous with them, so I came away with literally bags full without spending a dime!
To incorporate some gold and sparkles, I found gold and burlap chevron ribbon at Walmart, of all places, and wrapped those around mason jars to hold all of the cutlery. Of course, what French party is complete without an Eiffel Tower? This was a struggle for me (because who can afford to spend $50 on a three-foot tall Eiffel Tower for one birthday party? Not me). Thankfully, I stumbled on a beautiful Eiffel tower jewelry holder that was black and fit the theme perfectly. Where did I find this gem for $14.99 plus 40% off with a coupon? Michaels. Yep!
I had this idea from the get-go of using white tablecloths with French phrases written on them, but when I saw the invitations, I knew I had to use black and white stripes or polka dots or something more pattern-heavy, too, with splashes of gold. The gold tray came from the Party Store, as did the polka dotted plates and napkins. The pink cutlery and black and white polka dotted ribbon I found at Walmart.
My next quest was bunting. I pretty much love all things pennant banner, and stumbled on these beautiful MDF pennants at Hobby Lobby for half off $1.99! I was not in love with the font on the gold and white ones, so I went with pink for the letters and gold and white to separate. (Don’t judge the fact that my shelf is unfinished. It has since been painted a beautiful white to match the rest of the house. If you love the shelves, Shanty2Chic has a great tutorial on how to build these!)
The other pennant banners I bought in a package from Michaels (again, for 40% off). They were in the party section, already cut into triangles! I just glued twine to the back and hung them with tape. Super easy.
For the table covers, I went to Walmart and bought $1 white rectangular tablecloths then used a sharpie to write french phrases all over them. We have an awesome beginner hand-lettering tutorial that you can read here if you’re not sure where to start.
Does anyone else think balloons are ridiculously expensive? Especially the oversized ones! Here’s a great tip. Hobby Lobby has oversized balloons like this pink one (they get as big as 36″ round) for between $2 and $5 depending on whether or not they’re on sale (a lot cheaper than the $10+ you’d pay at a party store). Take these to Kroger or your local party store and ask them to blow them up for you. They’ll charge between $.49 and $.99. If you’re into foil balloons, Hobby Lobby and Michaels have gold and silver foil numbers and letters, too! It’s a great way to save some money.
Probably my favorite part of the party decor was the photo backdrop. I found this paper at Michaels in the wedding section. While I was at Hobby Lobby, I stumbled on Eiffel tower sticky decals for half off. (Similar ones can be found here.)The only problem? Where to hang the backdrop… I don’t happen to have a 5′ x 8′ blank wall hanging around, so I improvised by gluing the backdrop onto a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood. Yes, there are lines, but it’s not obvious in the photos!
Then there’s the buffet! I used tiered cake stands, one that I purchased at Home Goods a few years back and another that my grandmother gave me, to give the dessert buffet some depth. These held the cake pops. You can read my tutorial on making those here. The “happy birthday” toppers are from Hobby Lobby as well.
The jewelry holder Eiffel tower was put in the center of the buffet, and to bring Sophie the Giraffe into the mix (because apparently no decorations currently exist out there for a reasonable price), I printed clip art graphics onto cardstock, cut them out and taped them to the table and the pennant banners.
This was a simple, but beautiful and girly way to celebrate Ashlyn turning two. I hope it inspires you in your own party planning!
If you’re interested, Ash’s dress is from Old Navy. All of their toddler dresses were on sale for $10, and this one with the tutu was too perfect to pass up for her big day! The matching bow is from Walmart.