For my daughter’s third birthday party, the theme was “A secret garden.” As we have a large garden, I wanted to create a magical outdoor setting, and to create several outdoor “rooms” with different themes. I had a vision in my mind, but I also did not have an unlimited budget. So I had to be creative. I found cheap white curtains at Ikea, and thought that we could make a fairy tent hanging from our large tree in the front garden. Luckily, though, my husband found a better option – a gazebo, for around $50. This turned out to be just what we needed.
I made bunting in feminine colors using scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. For the cost of about 30 sheets of paper and the glue, we were able to make enough bunting to drape across several sections of the garden, and to decorate the inside of the gazebo. There were even some leftover for the inside of the house.
Next, we decorated the gazebo.
Paper lanterns and bunting draped across the ceiling, and looked lovely in the breeze. For the table setting, I used pink polka-dotted candles, and put my trusty laminating machine to work. I printed cute flowers on A4 paper and each girl’s name to make place mats that the girls could take home. Little flower pots (from Ikea) in pastel colors held the drinking cups to avoid spills (though we still managed to have one incident), as well as colorful straws decorated with laminated flowers, clothespins and a Zose Designs hairclip, all party favors. The girls decorated the flower pots and clothespins later with cute washi tape and took their creations home.
We stayed in the gazebo for lunch (mini quiches and finger sandwiches) and opening the gifts. We then moved on to the other garden “room” for a crafts session.
I draped the curtains and around 8 meters of mesh fabric around another tree in the side garden using clothespins to create another “room” and some nice shade. In this area we have a playhouse, and I also hung paper lanterns and tissue paper pompoms (easy to make) liberally from the tree. We had a huge box from a treadmill that I covered with a pink plastic tablecloth and secured with a glue gun. This was our craft table, where the girls decorated their flower pots and clothespins and also made beaded bracelets. We have two chickens that added to the garden ambiance. Oh, and I also made ribbon wands for the girls to play with.
A few additional touches were a bubble machine and glitter all over the paved areas of the garden, so that everything literally sparkled in the sunlight. We did splurge on the birthday cake, which they decorated in a forest theme (cake from Fleischer Cakes in Melbourne).
The party was a success, and my daughter still talks about it dreamily. A beautiful garden party on a relatively small budget and some “crafty” planning.