Simple & Sweet First Birthday

On October 12, 2016, our daughter Aria Noel turned one.

Like every other set of parents, we wanted to throw her the perfect birthday party. Like every other young couple, we wanted to save as much money as possible!

Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on activities and/or party favors, we made sure to spend less than $100 on decorations, games and prizes combined. This post WILL NOT show every decoration we purchased, so it goes to show that you can have a cute little set up for your little one’s birthday party for less money than us! Let’s face it – our little one-year-old will not remember if we had an extravagant party that had free pony rides or a bounce house. We decided, lets keep the party simple, sweet, and intimate with our closest friends and family members!

Majority of our decorations were incredibly cheap – even from the local dollar store! As far as food goes, almost everything was homemade.

Want to know how we pulled this party together? Keep reading below!


The older a child gets, they start to have favorites: a TV show, an animal, a favorite color. Since our daughter was only one and had no way to communicate what theme she wanted for her party, we just chose a color scheme ourselves: black, white, gold and some pops of pink.

I like to think our party was vintage with a mix of Audrey Hepburn’s style. We ordered some black balloons and a metallic number “one” balloon from Michael’s. To be honest, the balloons were probably the most expensive of the decorations. But hey – what is a birthday party without balloons, right?!


The birthday party began after lunchtime, so we chose to have a “dessert” party and make a snack bar out of it. We bought oreos (since they matched the color scheme), various types of chips and dips, and Grandma made homemade spinach & artichoke dip and pink vanilla cake pops. As for drinks, we made pink lemonade (also to go with the color theme).

We also spent some extra money on a giant pizza, just in case our guests decided to stay later for dinner!

Most of the Snack Bar decorations were from Michaels. We bought:

  • Plastic Cups (on sale, under $5, buy one get one free)
  • Pink Plastic Forks/Spoons/Knives (under $5)
  • Gold Metallic Mason Jars (under $10 for 2)
  • Black Table Cover (approx. $10)
  • Black and White straws (under $10)
  • Gold Star Confetti (under $5)

Some other items for the snack bar decor:

  • Mini chalkboard ($3 from Target)
  • Old, vintage books (free or check out your local thrift shop!)


Our idea for a Photo Booth is definitely achievable for anyone! Here is what we did:

  • For the backdrop, we used a plain, black blanket and pinned it to a wall.
  • All you need is a room with good lighting. We had some lighting that we typically use for photography sessions, which is why we spent more money. However, that is not necessary.
  • We wanted some fun masks, silly mustaches, and other items to be used in our Photo Booth. To go with the “gold” color theme, we went to the 99cent store and bought gold cat masks, headbands, silly glasses, etc. Seriously… we spent under $10!
  • You can set up your Macbook on a desk in front of the backdrop if you want to save money and take photos. We used our own camera and took turns taking pictures!


We pretty much spent $2 altogether on games, and they were so simple!

We bought two large white paper boards, and wrote questions on each one.

The first game was called “How Well Do You Know Aria?”

  • The questions included “What was Aria’s first word?”, “What is her favorite thing to eat?”, and “How much did she weigh at birth?”. Whoever answered the most questions correctly, we gave them a Starbucks gift card as a prize!

The second game was called “Aria’s Firsts”

  • There were many of Aria’s first moments written on the board, such as her “first step”, “first time saying mama”, and “first trip to the beach”.
  • The object of the game was for people to write these ‘first moments’ in the correct order in which they occurred. The winner also received a Starbucks gift card as a prize!

To get more details on Aria’s First Birthday, click here to watch it on our YouTube channel!

We hope this blog post either inspired you and/or gave you some party ideas!


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