I know it’s cliché, but it’s true what they say that time flies fast when you have a baby. Back when I was pregnant, it felt like time was going by soooooooo slow (it actually felt like more than a year to me!), and I just couldn’t wait to give birth and see my son. But as soon as he was out, it seemed like the clock was ticking a lot faster. July is almost over, and still I wonder at how the tiny little “embryo” inside me a mere 20 months ago is now a walking, talking, thinking human boy!
This a month-late post coz Kobe turned one last June 8, and we had his birthday party on June 12, which is actually his Dad’s birthday. I just want to share with all of you my personal experience of mounting a DIY kiddie party. What began as a simple get-together for our family and closest friends turned out to be a somewhat big celebration. I’m just glad we were able to pull it off!
Tip#1: Decide on a theme and a working budget
Our party theme was a no-brainer – basketball theme for our boy Kobe (who Bistek will insist was named so because he is “Bistek” beefsteak and his son is “Kobe” beef, hehe). It was perfect too that his namesake (and Bistek’s favorite NBA player) Kobe Bryant decided to retire this year so we were all still on a Kobe-high. Bistek also wanted to pay for the party so he gave me a budget that I can work with.
Tip#2. List down your “must-haves”
If you have a limited budget, make sure you make a list of your priorities or “must-haves.” For us, this was good food and entertainment for our kiddie guests.
- Yummy food – Usually, food will eat up a large part of your budget, especially if you decide to get a caterer. But thanks to my good friend, Fr GC Carandang, who is the current rector of Don Bosco Tondo, we were able to get Ate Len (their very good cook) to prepare her yummy Filipino specialties for Kobe’s party. Our menu consisted of: pansit na puti, kalderetang baka, butter garlic shrimp, lumpiang shanghai, chicken lollipop, hotdog on stick and kiddie spaghetti, and buko pandan for dessert. I also ordered our all-time-favorite pork barbeque (at P25 each, pero malaki at malaman) from Mang Ambong’s BBQ (this used to be along Dona Soledad Ave. in Better Living, now he is selling from his house at Annex 35).
- Bouncy castle for kids – We have been to a lot of kiddie parties, and I know that bouncy castles are always a hit with the kids, so we decided to get one. We got one from EJ’s Inflatables Party Rental. They have a lot of different styles to choose from, plus their prices are pretty affordable. Good thing we decided to get one, super benta sa kids!
- Venue – Since it was a basketball-themed party, we decided to get the covered basketball court in our village as our venue. The drawback is that it is not airconditioned, so we had to rent a couple of those Iwata air coolers to make sure our guests were comfortable. Another drawback is that the court was HUGE so we had to think of ways on how to decorate it with a minimal budget. The biggest advantage though is that the rent was really affordable.
- Cake – A birthday party will not be complete without a cake! Thankfully, Tita Pinky Fernando of Fernando’s Bakery always rises to the occasion! I asked her to make a basketball-themed cake that would fit within my budget, and lo and behold, she made an actual basketball cake! She also gave Kobe her signature “letter cakes” that spelled K-O-B-E-1 for free. Since it was Bistek’s birthday too, I also ordered a caramel cake for him from Estrel’s, our favorite.
Tip#3. List down your “nice-to-haves”
These are the things and party elements that you would like to have, given that it still fits within the budget. Most of these I DIY’ed for the sole purpose of saving money. Honestly, if you have the budget anyway, you can delegate these to event coordinators and other party suppliers, but where is the fun in that? Hehe.
- Basketball-themed décor and balloons – I looked for party decor suppliers and asked my mommy friends for their contacts, but the quotes I got were way out of our budget. So I did what all tipid-moms do – went to Divi! I am not a newbie to Divisoria (I have been going there since the early 2000’s to shop, hehe), so it was not a daunting task anyway. I drove there early one weekday morning, and parked at the basement of 168 Mall. Most of the things I needed were inside 168, but I also went to the side street (in front of 999 Mall) to buy some party favors as well. I was done by lunch time! I bought balloons (P200 for 100 pcs if I remember correctly), paper lanterns/pompoms, and party favors at really cheap prices. Since I have a little knowledge of Photoshop, I made a layout for tarpaulin backdrops for the entertainment area, buffet area, and candy buffet. I even found a tarp printer online that only charged me 10 pesos per square foot! We wanted to put some banderitas to make the venue look festive, so Bistek suggested that we borrow the banderitas used in our parish fiesta. They gave them to us for free!
- Candy buffet – This is one of my favorites whenever I go to my friends’ kiddie parties. Candy buffet setups are sometimes pricey too so I decided to DIY this as well. I bought candy from a party supplies stall at 168 Mall, where they sell candies by the kilo (ranging from 150-175 pesos per kilo!). These are exactly the same ones that candy buffet suppliers use – and they are made in Thailand. For the containers, I bought really nice ones from S&R at only P549.00 for a set of 3 jars, which I can reuse pa.
- Giveaways and prizes – We wanted to give all our kiddie guests a basketball as giveaway, but the cheapest I found in malls was at P100+, which was too expensive for me. I found relatively-good quality basketball toys (they are made of rubber, not plastic, so they bounced) plus it has a ring and a net at a toy store near 168 Mall and 999 Mall, that sold at P35 each, not bad! Plus they inflated them for us, so minus the hassle. I also bought cute plushies and other toys for game prizes at around P50-P80 pesos each.
- Street food booths – Bistek wanted to have sorbetes and fishball at Kobe’s party. We got the number of our neighborhood sorbetero and manong fishball and got pretty good deals. The sorbetes cost us P3000 for two full tubs plus 100 pcs waffle cone (I bought extra cups), and the fishball cost P2500 for at least 150 servings. It was sulit ‘coz we even had leftover ice cream that we took home, plus the fishball/squidball/kikiam was a big hit, and I think everyone was able to get one or even two helpings.
- Basketball game – Since it was a basketball themed party, we also got a basketball shooting game. It was also a hit especially for the “bigger” kids (and dads).
- Bubble show – kids love bubble shows and we are lucky we got one that was very affordable.
Tip#4. Enlist the help of your family and friends.
Decorating the basketball court was no easy task. We are lucky coz my in-laws’ helpers were able to assist us in setting up the venue the night before. The actual setting up of the tables, chairs, the banderitas, tarp backgrounds, and even inflating the balloons took more than a few hours before the party. We wouldn’t have done it without them! Also, we are very lucky to have generous friends, like Kobe’s Ninang Doctor Celia Faustino who sponsored the appearance of Barney during the program, and Sir Norman of Qubiertos who sponsored our magician Wang Lu of Talentadong Pinoy.
A big, big thank you too to Ms. Charisse of Niceprint Photo for covering Kobe’s party (and to Sir Rupert who was there to capture our moments). He was the one who shot our prenup photos, too!
We asked our guests to come in their favorite jersey (and a lot of them actually followed the dress code), so we wanted our own matching jerseys too. We had our jerseys custom-made by MNL Kingpin, which they sell at around P850 each.
I downloaded LA Lakers basketball-themed printables from simonemadeit.com for only $12. I was able to make my own invitations, name tags, and thank you tags by using this PDF template. Since we had a nice inkjet printer (I am a very satisfied user of an Epson L355 Inkjet), I just bought specialty boards and photopaper to print everything at home. This saved me money (from hiring a graphic artist) and time (should I have decided to make it myself, layout and all). You might want to check this out, coz they have a lot of themes too!
We visited a lot of supermarkets and groceries for the cheapest but nice quality paper plates and utensils, and the best ones we found are in S&R. You can also buy 1.5 or 2 liter softdrinks there or at Unimart.
You don’t really need to print and send out invites for kiddie parties. We opted to just send the invite via Viber or email, and I also created a Facebook event to invite our friends. I also messaged them individually to make sure they get it, if in case they don’t check event invites on FB. Others who don’t respond via FB or Viber should be contacted via text or call, to make sure they get the invite. Be sure to have a relatively realistic headcount at least a couple of days before the party to make sure the food and giveaways will be enough.
That whole week leading to June 12, it was sunny in the morning and raining in the afternoon. We prayed for good weather but unfortunately, it rained very very hard 30 minutes before the party started. We thought a lot of people couldn’t make it, but I guess most of them were already on the way so immediately after the rain stopped, our guests arrived, yey! To all our guests who made it, I really hope you all had fun like we did. To all our friends and family who helped, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To those who weren’t able to make it, see on Kobe’s 7th birthday, hehe! To everyone reading this post, especially parents who are also planning their kid’s party, I hope I was able help a bit with your planning. Shoot me an email if you have other questions!
Mommy Princess, Daddy Bistek, and big boy Kobe
Contacts and Suppliers:
- Niceprint Photo – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fernando’s Bakery – email: email@example.com
- MNL Kingpin – mobile: 099988559657 or 09989768910
- EJ’s Inflatables Party Rental on FB
- Mang Ambong’s Barbeque – mobile: 09153017637
- Ate Len of Don Bosco TVET – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested
- Printables – simonemadeit.com