A little bit more
Tonight Ash and I are sitting here with the guys watching the World Series so I thought I'd try and finish up the Carnival Detail posts. Not promising this is it, but I'm trying to answer the questions that are coming my way.
My biggest tip is still to make lists. The next tip is to know your budget. My party planning spread out over a year which enabled me to do more than I had originally planned. We also did all the work ourselves because we enjoy doing it, but that really cuts down on cost. I can't really give you a good estimate about the cost because I didn't keep up with it that well. Much of what we used we had such as the drapery fabric, some of the wood, etc. I would encourage you to have in mind what type of games, booths, props you want to have and keep an eye out. A great resource for those of us that live in east Texas is First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Tx. I found old bottles, vintage chairs, coke crates, bowling pins, fabrics, prizes, the old black and white poster on the front of the kissing booth, and much more out there. If your in this area then I recommend you plan on getting dirty out at "tent city" in Canton and dig, dig, dig through the piles of junk. My next tip is to use google images. I could brainstorm and dream and come up with idea after idea just looking through other peoples events. Lots of fun!
I'm going to cover a few more areas in this post and show in a little more detail a few of what I've already been over in hopes of answering questions. Lets start with...
Center Pieces. They were made out of party boxes(from Canton). We glued Styrofoam in the base of the box and then filled it with shredded paper. We added a large red pinwheel(had to paint all of these since we couldn't find red ones) a popcorn box(filled with real popped corn:), a box of animal cookies, box of cracker jacks, large sugar cookies in the shape of lollipops and ice cream cones, a red clown nose, and tickets. I LOVED them. We placed two per table on opposite colors of paper. We had lime green tables and red tables and we had lime green and white polka dot boxes and red and white polka dot boxes.
Seating. We had four 6 ft tables on the concession side of the yard. Each table had chairs on each side for eating, but then we had the blessing of borrowing a set of BLEACHERS! Such a great idea. It provided lots and lots of seating for the party and allowed the crowd to gather for the magic show. It was the best!
Decorations. We added a huge yellow banner to the front of the house that said Happy Birthday Ashley Kate along with a large balloon arrangement. I ordered 600 balloons in sized from 12" to 3 ft. Balloon are so much fun. We also added the long, squiggly type(picked up at Dollar General). We had a large Happy 6th Birthday poster printed at Walgreens that showed pics of Ash over the last year. It sat at the front walk on an A frame built out of foam sheets. I spent a few days sewing pennant banners out of fabric. I regret not having a good picture to share of those because they were really sweet, but I did show one pic above of the layout of the yard and you can see them hanging between the trees. We hung several sets of them all around the grounds. You can also see how we laid out the cake walk in that same photo. Hope that helps.
Volunteers. A party this size requires help. Lots of help. I can sum it up in one word...TEENAGERS! They were awesome! They did everything from acting as vendors, running carnival booths, painting clown faces, and performing as clowns. I LOVE the kids who showed up to help at Ashley's party. We have the honor knowing each one of them very well since they have grown up with our kids or have become close friends of our kids. I can't thank them enough for being there for us. Such a blessing. One way to recruit kids to help is to remind them that its a great community service project. They are busy doing lots of things these days to add to all those scholarship and nomination applications.
In addition to the teens our parents and sibling were a great help. They all worked in the concessions and kept things running smoothly allowing Dave and I to visit with our guests.
Photography. I can't emphasize this enough...You need a photographer. You just do. We have the blessing of having a close friend in our lives who knows everyone. Seriously, she does and she blessed us the last two years by contacting friends of hers who happened to be photographers. It has been the absolute best thing to ever happen at one of our birthday parties. The photographers gifted us with their time. HUGE blessing. I will cherish this collection of photographs for a life time. Capturing Ashley's birthdays and knowing we have the memories preserved makes my heart smile. Never to be forgotten. If you don't know of one then hire one. You won't regret it. Trust me.
Also I want to emphasize adding a Photo Booth to your party. No matter the theme. It is such a great idea. So fun for your guests. So fun for you to have. I LOVE the groups of photos we have from the booth. It is simple to do. Collect hats, boas, sunglasses, silly wigs, scarves, etc. I made the lips and mustaches out of felt, stitched around the edges and glued them to dowels. Love, love, love how they turned out. I found those black hats in the foam crafts at Michaels and glued a large flower and a strip of ribbon on them. Simple.
Guests. This birthday was so important to us. We were so unsure Ash would live to celebrate her 5th birthday last summer and so to make it to her 6th with all that we had been told to expect her life to be was so AMAZING. We wanted to celebrate her life, but we also wanted to include and to bless those who have loved, supported, stood by, prayed for, and even stepped in during our absence over the last year for our kids. We simply wanted them to have a good time. That was my goal. Make memories for our family to hold on to and to have friends be a part of that.
As I look back through the photos of this party I can't help but smile. The children had a great time. It was so fun to watch them all run from this to that and to host them at our home. It blessed my heart to see Ash there with all of them.
We had 103 guests attend Ashley's birthday carnival. We will forever be grateful for the role each one of them has played in her life and in ours.
I'm going to wrap this post up tonight. I know there are a few questions I haven't gotten to yet, but I will get there. Just not tonight. Hope you enjoyed the photos. I'm enjoying them as I sort through them all again. Such a wonderful memory.