In August 2012, we planned a surprise birthday party for my Mother in Law's surprise Birthday Party. The theme was Simple & Elegant Tea Party. I searched Pinterest for ideas and this is how it turned out. We were restricted from attaching anything to the walls.
Wrap utensils in doilies and twine(jute).
Floral Centerpieces: Food coloring and Mod podge painted then baked in repurposed jars like apple sauce and jams. The coloring will fad in sunlight over time. Out of season flowers (silk here) are cheaper. Keep an eye on clearance deals. ($70) If I had known the tables were going to be this big I would have made the centerpieces larger but that's another story.
Simple busy bag for kids. Doilies and bow to complete the top. Fill these with summer clearance crayons and colored pencils (Target .33 each). Printed coloring pages were provided from Nick Jr's website.
To the right of the brown bags are embossed matchbooks containing a tea bag as a Thank You trinket. I used pearlescent finished card stock ($21.90 w/ extra) and embossed the front flap in paisley and the back "Merci". I bought special an afternoon tea blend and packed the bags myself. ($26.47 w/ lots left over) Twine held the bag inside and kept the matchbook close.
Bouquet for the guest of honor in a lovely tin vase that you can hang on the wall. Clearance waxed candles and rechargeable tealight to complete the theme. Craft crate to create height. Shh don't tell my son we borrowed it. Hydrangeas are the guest of honors favorite garden flower. ($5)
This birdcage was used at my wedding reception for cards. I redecorated to collect "Memories" of the Guest of Honor. I sanded the paint for a more vintage look and sponged moss green ink. I used the cuttle bug to cut out of the tag and used a clear sticker "Memories". Trio of paper roses(store bought) on the corners. Birds nest with a beautiful blue colored bird and some plastic eggs. (<$5)
Birthday banner was printed then punched with a 3 inch circle punch and adhered to doilies. The invitations were printed in Word on speckled paper on top of strip of metallic paper and pearlized cream paper as the base. ($1 with left over invitation paper.)
Lemon Zest Shortbread tea cookies (The Joy of Baking). Would you believe there isn't a cookie cutter in a shape of a tea bag? You can try creating a template from cardboard but the weather wasn't in our favor. We resorted to hearts and dipped the tip in melted chocolate.
Table decorations: Under $10- Factory Direct Crafts & Blue bird and white bird cage candle were clearance finds at Target.
Floral Centerpieces: 12 of them cost less than one Florist centerpiece. $70 total through A Floral.
Handmade Invitations- Under $30 without postage cost. (35 total)
Tea favors- $50 for tea, bags and paper
Total of $165 for decorations, favors and invitations for over 50 people.
If you plan ahead, think out of the box and shop clearance racks, you can decorate for a party on a tight budge and still look beautiful.
*Photos enhanced & updated 1/3/15