I wasn’t going to do a Party Budget Run Down post - I didn't think anyone would be interested. However, a few people have emailed and messaged me asking how I did things, and I also have received a couple of messages saying it looks like a very over the top party, and that there is no way big bucks wasn’t spent.
I can assure you... this was a relatively cheap party to put together.
First of all, I have to clarify that my children do not get parties every year. At the maximum they can have one every 2nd year, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.
Secondly, I highly recommend shopping at OP shops. Remember my 3 gorgeous jars that I use for the Lolly’s? I used them for Easter, and now for the Wonderland party. I found them, when I wasn’t even looking, at a HUGE op shop for... $2 EACH!!!!! I collect ribbons from the $2 shops to decorate them, or you can get cheap ribbons from spotlight. You only need 1/2 a metre, and I reuse them (never EVER throw anything away!)
Things like the tea cups, costumes, table cloths (which are actually $1 sheets) and party favour boxes can be bought for next to nothing.
Did you see that not ONE tea-cup matched? One reason we decided to do a Mad Hatter’s tea party over an elegant high tea is that we could used mismatched stuff. I collected them over a few months, buying them for bugger all. At one op shop, I got 20 tea-cups and saucers and paid $8. EIGHT DOLLARS!!! I got another set of 8 tea cups for $5, and found 20c-50c ones here and there. I bought 2 large tea pots for $3 each! Hell yeah!!!
The White rabbit & the Mad Hatter costumes were purchased from op shops as well.
I found white karate pants for $3, a white fleece shirt, which someone had already put the lace on for $2, the mad hatters jacket was $4, and the pants were $3. The rest was found in our wardrobes. Spotlight had an after easter $1 bin that I picked up the rabbit ears and nose for $1 each. And I got the plastic favour boxes in a clearance bin - $10 for 30. I used one $2 sheet of heart stickers to decorate the invitations (printed at home) and the favour boxes.
The card soldiers costumes were $4.20 each (fluted board from bunnings). A 3rd sheet of the fluted board ($4.20) made 4 signs for around the neighbourhood.
The cheshire cats accessories were a set of ears, a bowtie and a tail for $2 at the cheap shop. She wore her own wondersuit. I used my black eyeliner pencil to paint her face.
The rabbit hole was made from weed mat - I used 2 rolls at $3.50 per roll, and 2 large rolls of streamers from the $2 shop.
The cupcakes I made at home using homebrand butter cake mix (I used 4x 69c packets), iced them with homebrand icing sugar, and one box of royal icing made the card suit decorations for the top - ($4.50 a packet).
The large chess set was something we bought for our driveway fun, and it happened to double for the party. It was another ebay purchase...
The biggest expense was my QUEEN costume, which I got again from ebay. It was $50. I was planning on re-selling it on ebay after I used it once, but I have decided to keep it for future events (I am sure it will come in handy for *something*) Then again... if I was to do it again, I probably would have just stuck to having the Mad Hatter, as he did most of the work entertaining the kids anyway!
Lucy's dress was a gift from my mum, who made it especially for her.
I found the heart topped bubbles from a wedding clearance centre - $20 for 48 (2 boxes) and the white rabbit pendants I purchased on ebay from china (including the chains they ended up being $1.10 each).
Party Boxes were $2.65 each COMPLETED!
.35c for the box
$1.10 for the chain & white rabbit pendant
.30c for the TWO heart shaped chocolates
.50c for the mini pinball like “card” games
.40c for the bubbles
BARGIN! I found that doing a traditional "lolly bag" ended up being the MORE money, but full of crappy lolly's!
The food on the day were my home made cupcakes, $10 worth of homebrand lolly's, and 2 loafs of homebrand bread and some ham. We kept the food very simple as it was an afternoon tea. We used 2 x homebrand 3ltr bottles of apple juice.
I found that adding $10/$20 here and there to the weekly shopping, and doing a weekly hop to a couple of op shops helped a lot with keeping it easy on the bank .
Oh, and I had 2 party game prizes... 2 travel chess boards purchase for $4 each. One was for the best dressed, and one was for a “find the white gloves” hunt, where we cut out a pair of white handprints from a sheet of computer paper and blue tacked them under the fort!
There was 15 helium balloons that were $15 from spotlight.
I also borrowed a few things from friends and family. Tables, chairs, cupcake stands, platters and other bits and pieces.
So, remember, start collecting a couple of months before the party. Check out your local op shops regularly and think outside the box when looking at items. Don’t go in looking for something in particular... look at what they have and find a way to use it.
With great early planning, lots of hard work (it took me 1.5 hours to transform our fence using $10 worth of stuff into a rabbit hole) and a whole lot of imagination, you too can have a Champagne party at a homebrand apple juice price! :)