Princess Tea Party {Monkey turns 5}

The first birthday party that I remember was a tea party for my 5th birthday. I thought it would be fun to do the same for Monkey. She, however thought that a Disney princess party was the way to go. So I thought, why not a Disney princess tea party! I grabbed some princess invitations from Hobby Lobby and invited 9 little girls to come over for the backyard party. Before I tell you all about it, I thought I would share some of my party planning strategies. I really love to plan parties. The DIY aspect and the preparations, seeing it all come together and the execution are all part of the fun for me. So generally I start with a basic idea or theme, in this case, Princess Tea Party. Next, I consider some activities. Opener, games, craft, etc... I try to estimate how long each activity will take and set the party time from there. For Monkey's party I over estimated a little and had to come up with some games on the fly, but with 4 and 5 year olds it's pretty easy. Throw in some hide and seek and a good 'ol game of Princess Says {aka Simon says} and everyone is happy! After the activities are planned I start thinking about decorations. I try to mainly use things I have around the house, or things I can make with cheap supplies. Food is always a big deal at a party. Everyone likes to eat! For a lot of my parties I ask the guests to bring something along. A side dish, drinks, ice... But I kept it simple here and just served cupcakes and lemonade.   Finally, I put together an agenda in my head and make sure to have some help on party day. PS. Don't forget your camera!

So after all that planning, the payoff was one happy little birthday girl with 9 of her lovely little friends! Happy 5th Birthday Monkey!

Monkey's Princess Tea Party

Before the girls arrived I hid 10 princess picture around the front yard. I downloaded some Disney princess songs to my ipod and we all waited on the front porch as the girls got there. When everyone arrived we had a princess search. Each girl searched the yard for one picture and brought it back. Then we headed inside to find ten princess dresses, with cards attached matching the ones they had just found. Each girl found their matching card and changed into that princess dress. This served as the opening game and also as a way for the girls to get a dress without fighting over which on they wanted! No drama, mama! I told the girls they could either put the dress on over their clothes or change completely. If they changed, we put their clothes on the same princess hanger so we could keep everything straight.

In case you were wondering, I didn't have 10 princess dresses lying around, nor did I spend $200 stocking Monkey's dress up box. She had Belle and Rapunzel, and a Barbie dress up dress that we used as human Ariel {as opposed to Mermaid Ariel}. I used fabric from my scrap bucket to make Cinderella, Tiana, and Aurora. We used a white flower girl dress for Cinderella's wedding dress, borrowed Snow White and Mermaid Ariel, and I elicited my friend's help to make Jasmine with fabric I purchased for $4.

When the girls had their dresses on, we headed out to the backyard to put on jewelry. My mom brought all of her vintage costume jewelry. It was awesome. The girls had fun trying on different pieces and looking in the mirror.

I think this was their favorite activity as the kept coming back to this table throughout the party.

Then the girls decorated crowns. These came 8 in a package with the stickers and stick-on jewels. $5 from Hobby Lobby.

After they were all dressed up I took them over to a frame hanging from the trees and took their picture. My plan is to print these out and send them with the thank you cards. Here is one with all the lovely princesses.

At this point we were a little ahead of schedule, so we let them play on the swing set for a little while.

Then it was time for the tea party.

The table was set with vintage porcelain tea sets. One from my childhood, one from my mom's childhood, and one from my great-grandmother's closet. I covered the table in white butcher paper and tied sparkely tulle bows around it like a present. Simple. The chairs had tulle tied around them and fake flowers from my stash. Above the table hung tissue poms. Martha taught me how to make them, there is really nothing easier. The lanterns are from a baby shower I threw a few years ago, and the curtain backdrop is tulle and ribbon. Everything is hung with kite string, another thing we have in abundance at my house. We served strawberry cupcakes and pink tea {lemonade}. My mom filled up the tea pots and we let the girls pour their own. What fun is a real tea set if you can't play with it?

Next we opened presents. Monkey was super excited about all her gifts. She got some really cool stuff. And she was very gracious, she made mama proud.

After that came games. I had planned princess musical chairs. Don't they look elegant?! Even during games they all acted like little ladies. They really took the princess theme to heart! They waltzed around to Someday My Prince Will Come and Kiss the Girl and had a great time. But when two rounds had come and gone we still had an extra 40 minutes to kill, so my mom played Princess Says with them and then we played hide and seek. In the time remaining the girls filled up on more pink tea {sorry moms}, played on the swing set, and checked out Monkey's new stuff.

So that's the party!

What about the boys? Sadly, they were forced to take naps and then banished to the basement for the whole party. I guess I was their evil step mother in their version of this Disney movie. But I did leave them cupcakes and new cars from grandma... so how evil could I be?