Planning an average budget for our 1st Birthday Party

When I was pregnant I was hesitant to give my son his 1st birthday party because I thought he won’t appreciate it anyway. Basically it’s true. Adults and a number of big kids are the usual people who would appreciate and enjoy it. He wouldn’t mind it anyway if he had balloons hanged at the ceiling, themed cake for his candle blowing ceremony, themed loots bags with so much on it as souvenirs for kids, food carts and others. He won’t even remember it. 

But when Briel came to our life, things changed. I now wanted to give him his 1st birthday party. Based on our observation, Briel do like to be around with kids. He do really wants to play with them as if he can run as what the older kids do. He keeps on kicking and shouting and smiling at them. He also loves to stare at colorful objects and the people around him. I wonder what he is thinking when he stares at the person walking around or doing things. With that I believe he will still enjoy attending parties.

So as much as possible I would like to have as many kids as I can invited from our circle of friends and relatives’ kids.

We (hubby and me) started planning his birthday party. Nowadays, they said planning must start 6 months before the event. It’s the same concept why couples who are getting married starts their preparation 1 year ahead of time. Basically the reason is to get the best supplier at their current rate(price) before they increase. That’s what inflation can do these days.

Briel’s birthday party will be simple but happy. I still want my guests to feel the same way as they did during our wedding last 2008. Feel full in their stomach and bring home happy memories with lots of goodies hehe.

Okay, to start with, I surfed and joined forums regarding birthday preparations. That was my first time to prepare a birthday party for kids. I had some ideas in mind but I still wanted to get more ideas and experience in that area to make my simple birthday party a blast!

Well, I noticed that some suppliers for weddings are not the same suppliers for kid’s party like photo and video, cakes, and others but of course balloons and food carts are not for weddings generally.

Maybe suppliers who I get to meet in weddings are those who are already famous in the wedding industry.

Enough of the introduction. Let’s start planning.

Browsing through the net, I find these Elmo/Sesame Street themed parties and I so love it. Well in my time I seldom watched Sesame Street. Batibot baby ako e.


These are some inspiration pictures I got from the internet and have it made with some  changes with my cake supplier, Iko’s. They are the official cake supplier of Shakey’s for birthdays.

 I just have the 3D Elmo topper made but Iko’s but can only make the head for me. 

The box will have Sesame Streets characters (face only) with Briel’s name on top (all made of gum paste)

We roughly spent 3,000 pesos for this cake (one layer 12 inches round soft icing cake) plus free 12 pcs of cupcakes with Elmo face topper made in gum paste. The 36 pcs of  cupcakes plus 12 pcs free were also included in the 3k amount. The 36 cupcakes with free 12 pcs was a promo because I was a client of  Shakey’s.  The Cakes and cupcakes were all chocolate moist. Each cupcake cost 18 pesos. Additional of 16 pesos for any character topper. To sum it up I have paid 36 pcs cupcakes and got 24 pcs cupcakes for free.

The cup cakes look like this (I choose all red icing)


 The party was held at Shakey’s Makati Ave. branch at 11 AM. What I loved with the place is it had a separate function area at the 2nd floor exclusively for the party. Since we only have 50-60 guest (I hope since i mistakenly did not counted the kids), the venue can accommodate up to 100 guest. I am very thankful that Shakey’s particularly a that branch was very lenient regarding the themes. During that time, Shakey’s carried only two character theme for a birthday party, Power Puff Girls and Ben10. Though in our case we won’t be getting their party package. Instead we will be bringing our own tarpaulin, souvenirs, place mats and balloons among others. We were informed not to use any Ben10 or Power Puff Girls stuff in the party.

We paid 1000 pesos as reservation fee for the 30 guaranteed guests and added another 40 guests after a couple of months. 30 pax is their minimum order. The reservation fee is consumable in case the event will be canceled.  The package meal is cheaper than getting their bunch of lunch or fiesta meal alone with additional cost for the drinks and service charge. The package already included the use of their sound system and a party host.  We got package C at 154.00 pesos per head which is similar to a bunch-of-lunch meal with one round of ice tea. They also allowed us to get our own cake, food carts (ice cream- sorbetes type), face painting and others.

Ingress time is 1 hr before the event but they allowed us to start 2 hours before the event since there was no event before us. Egress time is 30-45 minutes after the 2 hours limit party time.


We reserved ice cream cart (sorbetes) from Bukas Palad. Bukas Palad is a non-government organization that provides sustainable development, education, livelihood, information and communication technology to needy children, elderly, urban poor, and victims of calamities and disasters.

(excerpt from

I was hesitant to push through our reservation with them because it seemed they were difficult to contact. They didn’t provide us a contract or any agreement that indicates the service we were getting from them. No down payment was required. Payment will be settled on the event day which I found it weird.  By June 2010, I requested Fred to visit them and see what we can get. Fortunately, they are indeed a legit organization. They even sell food products. They have this little “karinderia” outside their office. Fred was introduced to all the staff and he was able to meet the children under their care. With this we decided to still order our sorbetes from them. It costs 2200 pesos for 3 gallons of 3 different favors.

The face paint activity on the other hand was a gift from a friend. I didn’t have any idea on how much it cost but on some suppliers basic face painting cost around 1500-3500 depends on the paints to be used.


This is the first supplier we booked. I was with a friend in a bridal fair at Mega Mall last January 2010. This bridal fair featured weddings and kiddie party suppliers. Due to some negotiations and freebies   given to me by Nice Print courtesy of my friend (Nice Print was my friend’s official wedding photographer) I booked them at 9,000 pesos for a 8X10 size leather cover album with free 11X14 blow-up picture of my son in our choice of frame. I didn’t bother upgrading the package to include the video because it will cost 15,000 pesos. I can’t spend that much anymore. Though as my preparation progressed, I found some photo supplier that also provide the same service at a lower price (6-7k). I was tempted to cancel our reservation but 1K is 1K. The down payment was not refundable. So we rather stay with Nice Print.

I find Nice Print staff slightly difficult to talk to. They don’t even have our contract in their office when we visit the shop at Shaw Bldv to pay the remaining balance of the required 50% downpayment because it was with their Boss who was at the bridal fair during that time.

The second time we visited at their office, we requested a specific photographer who will cover my son’s birthday. We didn’t bring the copy of our receipt and the contract. It was surprisingly to know that the contract was still not updated. They couldn’t even find the copy of the receipt. Good thing the lady at the front desk has this messy notes with lots of things written there wrote that we indeed paid the 50% DP.

We were also told that the pre-event pictorial starts 2 hours before the party. But when we finalized the time of the party with them, they said it should be one hour before the party. Again, I couldn’t control my temper. I let my husband handle the talking. Luckily after explaining that we really would like to have our son’s pictorial for 1 hour only but we need a time for our son to rest first after the pictorial so that he is not tired during the party. The girl name Flor who is our main contact agreed on it and noted that the photographer will be arriving at the pre-event pictorial location at 9 AM.

Lesson learned: Always bring the receipt or contract/agreement signed when visiting the supplier’s office in finalization the details and some request. My husband also contacted them a week before the event for confirmation if they indeed noted all things we requested from photographer to call time.


I inquired from few balloon decorators mostly through online inquiry. Most balloon decorator hosted their business in Multiply and  Facebook and less expensive than those who have a shop.

I booked Jojo of Mr. Balloonatix after comparing the prices and works of different suppliers. Basically all of them are really good at their craft.

I got the package of 3500 pesos for 100 pcs balloons with curling balloons for ceiling, 1 pair of pillar and 2 customized character standee with free cake arc and 20 pcs balloons on straw. He informed me that the balloons in straw would have no prints but on the event day the balloons has this “Happy Birthday” prints. Jojo is easy to deal with and you can easily ask him for freebies. You can also have him copy a balloon decor.



Where else can you find lots of goodies at a very low price aside from Divisoria. From 168 to Divisoria Mall to the New Divisoria Mall (the building right across Divisoria Mall along Tabora St.)

We started buying few things months before the birthday event so that we wont need to shell out big amount of money at once. It will also help us save time for the next batch of items to be bought.

I bought these jigsaw puzzle at 30 pesos for 4 puzzles, crayolas at 8 pesos for 24 pcs of crayola but disposed it due to the smell so i changed it to crayola brand at 13 pesos for 8 pcs in a box and sticker at 5 pesos.

For these pencil cases, I found only one store at that time that sells this design. Most pencil cases found in Divisoria were those with usual cartoon character designs and cars. So I immediately bought this at 3 for 100 pesos.

Coin banks in cylindrical shapes cost 6 pesos each.

As for the plastic loot bags with Elmo print, the only shop that i saw that sells it is at Market Market in The Fort. It cost around 39  pesos for 10 pcs.  We used that for balloon burst prizes containing edible goods such as pop corn, marshmallows, chocolates and candies.



Balloon centerpiece for tablesIt cost around 68 pesos for this alone (35 pesos for the mylar balloon, 3.25 each for 5 inches balloon, 6 pesos for the pot, 1 peso for the stick) which I think is cheap enough. Though you can still look for a cheaper mylar balloon at 20 pesos at the basement of Divisoria Mall. Most characters available in Divisoria are Spongebob, Hello Kitty, Nemo, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse. You can also find a smaller pot at 2 pesos each near Juan Luna beside the stuff toy shop. There is a store there that sells paper plates, plastics etc.


Another table centerpiece. Using 7 pcs of 5 inches size balloons at 3.25, stick, pot, japanese paper for wrapping pots and white cement for 60 pesos in 1 kilo where i was able to fill 6 pots.

Thank God, I did know some basic lay-outing using Adobe Photoshop. I was able to customize all printing needs for my son’s birthday. I had the birthday invitation printed at Simply Touch in Divisoria mall at 12 pesos each. The store is located at the 2nd floor near the escalator. They used laser printer and the result really was good.

The tarpaulin I made was printed at Tarpaulin Kingdom near Abad Santos-Recto. They print at 25 pesos per sq. ft.

All guest sheets, program cards, sticker for envelope seal, name tags were all printed at a local computer shop near SM Manila. They charged us for an A4 sized photo paper print at 20 pesos. The sticker was 5 pesos expensive than the photo paper prints.

These themed loot bags were made of cartolina at 5.50 pesos from National bookstore transformed into a paper bag with a string bought at Carolina’s. I printed out a Sesame Street photo downloaded from the net and used it as a decor with some embellishments used for scrap booking

The candy cart was transpired from some real party photos taken from the internet. But due to the limitation of the budget, we decided to make our own candy cart. The jars and plates used were all borrowed from a friend for I find it not practical to buy those glass wares just to be used once. With the help of my brother-in-law who has experience in banquet arranged the candy table placing goodies such as choco mallows bought in bulk from Comfoods in Pasong Tamo Makati, gummy bears from Landmark, popcorn from Kettle Korn in small packs, waffle sticks and jellies. The candy table was open as soon as the guests arrived.


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