My oldest daughter turned two back in mid-July, but since we weren't blogging then, I thought I would share with you how I made an elegant, Alice themed party without all the charactery-ness.
First, I thought about the colors I wanted to use. In this case, I loved the lime, purple, and bright blue together. For accent, I wanted to include hot pinks and white. I found fun pink and white paper plates that were square (bonus!...I love square plates). I couldn't buy my plates from the dollar store this time, but these plates were worth the fact that they weren't ringing up for a $1. :)
We have a six-eight seated picnic table under our tree in the backyard. So I borrowed my parents four seated card table and took our big kitchen table outside as well to create one long table like in the Mad Hatters Tea party scene in the movie. I used the purple, lime, and blue tablecloths to give each table a different feel. The chairs were mismatched and I added some pink or purple tulle to liven them up a bit. You can buy rolls of tulle for super cheap at AC Moore in all kinds of colors.
I only bought 6 balloons and staggered them randomly around the display. Less was more in this case.
I borrowed a silvery, giant square wedding cake platter from my Mother-in-law and placed the round cake on top of a disposable doily to break up the harshness of the cake and metal. The doilies were super cheap at Party City and came in a pack of 10. The cake was a "Cake Boss" premade cake from BJs warehouse and cost $15. Looked custom and tasted amazing.
I also made cupcakes and decorated a box of heart shaped pastries with writing icing and pink and purple edible glitter. I scattered the cupcakes across all three tables and the pastries had their own faux crystal bowls to rest in. You can get the bowls at the Dollar Tree, three for $1.
I used a three tiered display, also borrowed from my dear MIL, to put peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on. I just bought a box of the frozen circular sandwiches and thawed and cut them in half to make them look more "tea party friendly". Insert a giant bowl of fruit and you almost have yourself the perfect Alice in Wonderland tea party.
The final table, shown above, was so simple to create. I snatched a bouquet of beautiful flowers from Harris Teeter, put a pitcher of the most glorious tasting strawberry tea (recipe here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/iced-strawberry-tea), and scattered more cupcakes and pastries down the middle. Each place setting boasted a custom gift bag with an "eat me" sign affixed to the front and a plastic cup with an "drink me" tag on the handle.
Target had some awesome whimsical candies on sale at the end of an aisle. Be on the lookout for some more awesome gourmet candy sales at Target!
We had the party "play date" style on her actual birthday in the middle of the week. It was a 10am start time and ended right before lunch. It was probably the hottest, most humid day of the summer but I honestly don't think we could've had a better time.
Hope this post inspires you to think outside the charactery kid birthday box and give your child a memorable, creative party at home. And...always on a small budget. <3