I did it! As I shared last week, I planned and hosted a birthday party with less than 24 hours notice. It was wonderfully stress-free and fun. To keep this low-key brunch birthday party easy and fun, I kept the decor simple. But, even simple homemade parties should feel special. I had a couple tricks up my sleeve for making the party special in no time.
How to Add a Special Touch in Under 10 Minutes
1. Chalkboard Menu Tray
I used a cheap tray I had on hand and cut a piece of chalkboard vinyl to fit inside. You can find chalkboard vinyl at most craft stores. When you need a quick chalkboard fix, it is much easier than messing with paint. I propped up the tray on a plate stand. With a piece of sidewalk chalk (it’s all I had) I wrote out the omelette bar instructions.
A chalkboard tray is also a great place to share a dinner menu or drink menu. If you don’t have a tray, you can add the chalkboard vinyl to a simple dinner plate or a platter.
2. Chalkboard Art
Continuing with the chalkboard decor, I took advantage of our chalkboard pantry door. Years ago I added chalkboard vinyl to the front of our pantry door. It has held up so well. With a piece of my kids sidewalk chalk, I made a sign for the birthday boy. Since we had the rest of the decor and food staged in the kitchen, this sign was in the perfect place.
With more time, I could have projected or transferred and image onto the chalkboard. With less than 10 minutes to create this sign, I just free-handed it.
If you don’t have a spot to add a chalkboard door or wall, consider using a piece of black foam core (the thicker poster size boards) and create a fake chalkboard. It won’t be reusable, but it will be cute for the party.
3. Photo Booth Backdrop
I hung up this atlas tapestry for the photo booth backdrop, but any large piece of fabric, sheet, or tablecloth would work. I used large brass binder clips to clip the backdrop to the top ledge of the board and batten in our dining room. I hung the happy birthday banner from the same clips. To finish off the photo booth I put a small bench in front of the backdrop. I think sitting photo booths are better when the height difference between your guests is dramatic… like anytime you have little kids.
The board and batten in our dining room was a convenient place to clip up the backdrop. In the past, I have used 3M Command Picture strips to hang paper and lightweight fabric backdrops without damaging my walls.
4. Using Props
With a last minute party it was tempting to just throw out the food and call it good. But in under 10 minutes, I shopped my house for a few props to spruce up the party. I propped up a small globe on my decorative storage books. I staged the omelette bar on a large stenciled tray and added one of my DIY gold-leaf stars. Simple, but effective touches.
5. Arranging the party food
It only takes a few minutes to make party food look special. With less than 24 hours to plan, I had to go with whatever was readily available at the grocery store. I was inspired to make a donut tower. I bought two packages of mini donuts, powdered and chocolate. I took 5 minutes to arrange them into a striped tower. The birthday boy begged to have the top one.
There are only so many ways to put out ingredients for an omelette bar, but an ombré cheese tray was a simple way to bring in some style. I just arranged the different cheeses on a long tray from dark to light.
Party Ready in Under an Hour
If you are doing the math on the above projects, you can see I pulled together this brunch birthday party set up in about an hour. Since I had not been planning for weeks ahead, and had no preset idea of what the party would look like, it was surprisingly stress free and fun to create this party.
Congrats on this wonderfully adorable party for your little one! And extra kudos for reminding all of us that a simple and loving party at home surrounded by family surely beats a million dollar party with the whole neighborhood any day of the week. I just love it.
Since we move so much, my boys have often had to leave best friends behind that can make it tough to have a big party. Yet they always know we pull out the red carpet for them–even if it’s just the 4 of us–and those birthdays seem to remain the most memorable ones.
After reading both of your posts, I wish I had been invited! :)
You’re a special mama, Jackie. Loved reading this.
Wendy, Thanks for the super sweet comment. The cozy at home parties definitely take the pressure off having lots of friends to invite over. You are right, no matter what their birthday should be special. I love that they see me decorating even for small family gatherings. And, I think the small intimate gatherings are always more memorable, too! Have a great week!
amy michaels says
what and where did you get the glass bottle display? super cute and i want one. please share….
Amy, It is a bottle drying rack from World Market.