I don’t know the first thing about planning a party, let alone a children’s party. But Elle’s first birthday was a good time as any to learn, since I’ve got at least a decade and half left of party planning to do until Elle decides she’d rather spend her birthdays with friends or out of the country. (Getting way ahead of myself but you know what I mean.)
We ruled out spending the party at some village clubhouse or events place, so that narrowed down our choices to restaurants. We wanted something hassle-free, since I won’t be able to attend to the little details with work in the way. Ultimately, we went with Papa John’s because it’s not as expensive as Shakey’s but not as basic as Jollibee, which strikes the balance that we were going for.
For everything else—like the cake, the loot bags and others— it needed some serious research and a bit of DIY from my end. (Fair warning, my handiwork is nothing Pinterest worthy.)
We didn’t spend a fortune, but it turned out to be a great party for Elle! Though to be fair, I say any party that serves pizza is a good one. Haha!
Anyway, it has been since a month since then, and it’s about time I write everything down. I’m going to try to rate and provide information on all the “suppliers” for other parents who need pointing to the right direction.
View everything after the jump. 🙂
Papa John’s Tomas Morato, Quezon City
P18k (give or take) for 50 pax, 3 hours
They were an excellent and generous hosts. If you can’t afford Shakey’s but don’t want to settle for McDonald’s or Jollibee, Papa John’s is your best bet.
They have affordable packages and the party place in their Tomas Morato branch is spacious. You get the entire second floor plus the veranda, which will be fully decorated according to your theme–you can either avail theirs (Speedy cars, Fashionista, Animal friends, Princess & Pirates, Circus & Clowns, Sports) or you can go with your own, you just have to inform the manager. They will reserve the place for your for two hours, but you can pay P1000 for every hour extension, consumable. They include freebies like face painting or balloon twisting, which are always a hit with kids, party hosting and mascot appearance. (Lower your expectations when it comes to their mascot “Mr. Slice” though because it looked to me like it was some pizza slice forgotten in the oven. Haha!)
The food choices are not as extensive as Shakey’s (no garlic bread or mojos and they only serve chicken wings) but their pasta and pizza (yes, the garlic butter included!) more than makes up for that. I think most of Elle’s guests were able to enjoy more than a slice. But if you want to add more food, the manager said you could actually bring in at least two other dishes for free as long as they are not on their menu (i.e. Rice, Lechon). He also said that I could bring in at least two food carts or photo booth without corkage. We didn’t get to take advantage of this deal, though, but this is good for parents who plan to go all out of their kid’s birthday.
Honestly, I’d hold Elle’s second birthday party if it wasn’t awkward. Haha. But I think Papa John’s is trying to establish itself as a good party place choice thus the cheap packages, so I think parents should take advantage before they decide to stop being generous like Shakey’s did.
Pros: Customizable and affordable party packages, spacious venue
Cons: Food options included in party packages not as extensive
Sweet Home Bakeshop
#39 Pasig Blvd, Bagong Ilog, Pasig City
P700 for 6″ fondant cake, but prices depend of design
We badly wanted a safari-themed fondant cake to fit the theme of Elle’s party, but I wasn’t willing to spend an arm and a leg for it. So I scoured the internet for cakemakers in the metro, messaged countless of bakeshops and asked for quotation but only two responded with the price I could work with. I went with Sweet Home Bakeshop because their work with fondant looked cleaner and more refined than the other, and they gave me a really affordable price.
Funny story, I wanted to back out of the deal a week before, thinking that maybe commuting all the way to Pasig from Fairview is not worth it for a 6″ fondant cake. I thought maybe I’m better off with a standard Goldilocks dedication cake since 6″is too small. (Believe me I only realized that 6″ was too small just a week before. I PANICKED. How embarrassing is it to have a cake the size of my palm for my daughter’s birthday.) But lacking better options and time, I decided to just go with it. I though I’d just buy extra cupcakes to complement it all.
Pushing through with it was the my best decision that week. I was pleasantly surprised with how pretty and vibrant the cake turned out! And it didn’t look small at all. In fact, I even struggled to carry it all the way to Quezon City even with both hands. The diameter was 6″ but it was probably like 10″ tall.
I don’t usually have high hopes with taste when it comes to fondant cakes, but their chocolate cake was great, too! Everyone was raving about it when we demolished it back home.
I will definitely order from them again.
If you’re working on a budget, the major cuts are definitely going to come from your decorations list. That’s going to be hard, especially in this Instagram era when everything has to look good in photos. But I had to remind myself that people are going to this party for two things—food and my daughter—and it wouldn’t be a disaster if I didn’t have a grandiose cake table set up.
But I couldn’t not do anything, so I spent a (very little) fortune on Animal-themed buntings and foil balloons. The hanging and pillar balloons are already included in the deal with Papa John’s so I didn’t need to do much.
We were really going for a Safari party but that honestly just got a lost a long the way. Haha! The banner had pigs, owls, cows and others domestic animals you don’t really see in the wild.
Then, we used these Foil Balloons that spelled Elle’s name to spice up the “cake table” and it looked really good! I got them from the newly-opened Pops & Decos online shop. The foot-long letters cost P35 and the two-feet-long no. 1 cost P75. Pops & Decos are very responsive to messages and they deliver right away. I finally know where to go for my balloon needs next time. (National Bookstore wasn’t a big of help.)
P1000, 60 lootbags
I have never been a fan of giveaways that aren’t edible. No offense to my friends and relatives who have given us wonderful trinkets through all the years, we are nothing but grateful. But with such a disorganized home like ours, they all end up collecting dust in some random box unless they’re something useful.
So we went with food and you could never go wrong with chocolates and candies! Each loot bag contained a gummies, gold coins, jelly ace, chocolate mallows, choco sticks, milk powder (Mik-mik!), lollipops and candies. I had so much fun assembling these goodie bags as I got to munch on some gummies along the way.
I put the goodies in brown bag I got for P20 for 50 pieces at the wet market then sealed them with a Thank You tag that I made on Photoshop. To add a little bit of the “Animal Friends” feel to it, I printed out stickers of Safari animals clipart. (You wouldn’t believe the struggle of cutting and tracing those curves and details. Haha!)
H&M, SM Fairview
The Unique Bowtique PH
P1500, entire ensemble
Yes, H&M has a kids section and they’ve got a really nice and extensive collection. (They’re on sale a lot so take advantage of that.) The gorgeous pink tutu I got for P700 then the “Twinkle Little Star” top for P400. At least she can wear them again. 🙂
To complete the look, there has to be a headband. Elle has very little hair, so anything to draw attention away from that is a must. Haha! The idea is to make it seem like Elle is a bunny without having her wear those furry bunny headbands you can get at the banketa. Gladly, I found that a design that could work and The Unique Bowtique PH executed it to perfection!
I had to order around 2 weeks advance, but that was expected of made-to-order stuff. I let the owner decide on the color of the ribbon and everything else, and it turned out really pretty.
I had my friend Tristan, who is also my sports photographer at Inquirer, take photos that day. He doesn’t take photos at children’s parties for a living, but he did a good job nonetheless. I got the photos right away, and that’s the most awesome part. (Tristan, this is a paid advertisement. Haha!) But even with Elle’s Christening, I also didn’t hire a photographer. We got by with the help of friends who had DSLR cameras, and even if they weren’t professionals, all the photos turned out great. Thank you. ❤
It was a fun experience throwing my first-ever kid’s party! I didn’t go totally Momzilla like I was a Bridezilla during my wedding preps, but as with all things, it can get frustrating when they don’t go your way. Thank God everything went on without a hitch.
But the best thing about this party was we didn’t go overbudget! I think we spent roughly P25,000 on everything. It just proves that you don’t have to empty your bank account to pull off a great birthday celebration for your kids. (Although believe me, if I had money to blow, I’ll spend it all on my daughter. Haha.)