My daughter just turned 3, and it was the first birthday party where she actually got it. She loved opening the presents, seeing the people, and blowing out the candles. The next day, she kept talking about how everyone sang her happy birthday.
My heart is so full, but flashback to two months ago, and I was in a bit of a panic. What should I do for her party? What theme should I go for? How can I make this a super special day, especially since we did absolutely nothing last year due to COVID-19?
As you can tell from the title of this article, I landed on a princess-themed birthday party. If you’re leaning the same way, I’m here to share everything I did, bought, and made for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party.
There’s a lot of information in this article, so I’ll include some links if you want to jump ahead:
- Princess Party Invitations
- Princess Party Lunch Menu
- The Princess Cake
- Princess Party Favor Bags
- Princess Birthday Party Decorations
- Princess-Themed Party Activities
Princess Party Invitations
Before I planned anything else, I knew I had to get the birthday invitations done. For a lot of our parties, we just send a mass text and keep it simple.
But for this, I really wanted to send physical invitations in the mail. They’re so special, and it’s nice to get something in the mail that’s not medical bills or credit card ads.
I looked around online and ended up going with Minted. I’ve used them in the past with great results, and they had an amazing princess-themed party invitation.
I also love that you can upload your address list, and they print them on all your envelopes. That saves so much time, though you still have to stamp and mail them once they arrive.
I made my guest list and ended up ordering 15 front-and-back invites for $60.51. I originally didn’t have anything on the back, but at the last minute, I decided to have the Minted designers add a little blurb about my daughter’s interests. People always ask about what to get as a gift, and I thought that would help.
Stay-at-home mom perspective: I love the idea of including a small snippet that shares your child’s interests. This is a great way to subtly give gift ideas!
I also included a link for my family to contribute to her college fund. We use Acorns and love it.
Once the invitations were mailed, the pressure to plan everything really hit me. We were about 1 month away from the party, and I know how quickly those weeks fly by.
Princess Party Lunch Menu
I decided to have the party at 11 am to better accommodate my kid’s sleep schedules. They nap around 1-2 pm, so a lunchtime party seemed perfect.
As soon as I decided on a princess theme, I knew I wanted to have sandwiches. Cue Frozen: “I mean it’s crazy – what? We finish each other’s… sandwiches! That’s what I was gonna say!”
I decided to make chicken salad sandwiches, and at the last minute, my fantastic in-laws picked up a Honeybaked ham so there’d be another option.
My husband even made a little sign to tie in the sandwich line from the Frozen song, but I’ll get to that in the decorations section.
Cinderella’s Castle Salad
We also made Cinderella’s Castle Salad – that’s right, a direct copy of the salad on the menu at Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World. It included mixed greens, toasted pumpkin seeds, riesling-marinated golden raisins, pink lady apples (we mixed with lemon juice so it wouldn’t turn brown), and balsamic vinaigrette.
I used the balsamic vinaigrette recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen. Homemade dressing is always the best, and because this has dijon mustard in it, the oil doesn’t separate.
Mac & Cheese
Because there would be kids, I made sure to have Mac & Cheese on the menu. I like making Mac & Cheese using the roux method, and I used this recipe to make sure I got the proportions right. I didn’t end up baking the Mac & Cheese since we had other things in the oven, but you certainly could!
We made two dips – a Jalapeno Popper Dip in the Slow Cooker (SO GOOD!) and my mother-in-law’s famous Crab Dip.
Here’s her dip recipe:
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- ½ c. mayo
- ¾ c. sour cream
- 1 ¼ c. shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ tsp. Ground mustard
- 1 tsp. Lemon juice
- 1 ¾ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 lb. lump crab meat
- 2 dashes hot sauce
Combine all ingredients. Bake at 375º F for 25 minutes.
Fairy Pretzel Wands
For some sweet treats, I made fairy pretzel wands, which are just long pretzels dipped in white melting chocolate and rolled in sprinkles. I did this with my daughter the night before, and she had a blast!
Definitely splurge on the Ghiradelli white melting chocolate, though. The generic one was nowhere near as good (we bought both and compared them).
Finally, we made macarons. I thought macarons just felt right for a princess party, and if you’ve never made them before, it looks more intimidating than it is. It’s not a walk in the park, but it’s doable! Plus, so many people commented on how good they were!
Shirley Temple Bar
I usually do some kind of special cocktail at our parties, but since this was a lunchtime party, I figured we’d stick to beer, wine, and hard seltzers (who else loves White Claws and Michelob Ultra Hard Seltzer??).
Instead, the special drink of the day was a Shirley Temple bar, perfect for the princess theme. We set out Sprite, grenadine, and maraschino cherries. And hey, you could slip some vodka or rum in that if you had to. 😉
The Princess Cake
I try to save money as much as possible, but this time, I decided the one thing I’d splurge on would be the cake. I’ve always made birthday cakes in the past, but it’s very time-consuming, and the kitchen is a wreck when I’m done.
I ended up getting several quotes in my area for a princess-themed cake that would feed at least 20 people, and I settled on a two-tiered cake from a local baker. The cost was $225, which seemed like a lot to me, but apparently, that is the going rate these days! That said, it was worth it.
It was beautiful and so delicious. We got vanilla on the bottom and strawberry on the top.
Princess Party Favor Bags
I always like having party favor bags – the kids get so excited about taking something home with them. You don’t have to spend a lot on them, either – I spent a total of $56.99 on mine (I made 15 bags total).
I think they turned out really cute!
Princess Birthday Party Decorations
The decorations for this princess-themed birthday bash were definitely a group effort. My mom made this incredible birthday banner on her Cricut, my husband did some woodworking to make a sign to go with our sandwiches, and my dad was even blowing up balloons for hours on the morning of the party.
Shout out to my family!
I’ll take you through all the decor for the party, including the party banner, balloon arch, princess dresses on a rack, Frozen sandwiches sign, ingredient cards with place card holders, and more.
We Finish Each Other’s Sandwiches Wood Decor
I wanted to have some kind of sign to tie in the Frozen lyric, “We finish each other’s… sandwiches!”
Yes, I couldn’t just typed it out and printed it, but I’m lucky to have a husband who loves a good woodworking challenge. First, he designed the sign in his CNC software.
Then, he used his CNC machine (brand is Onefinity) to cut out the letters.
Here is a picture after it was cut, but before sanding and staining:
And here is the final result!
If anyone is interested in more details related to how he did this, just ask in the comments and I’ll pick his brain for you.
DIY Princess Birthday Party Banner
The birthday party banner was a labor of love. My mom is a master on the Cricut, and she made this amazing Happy Birthday banner along with these intricate dress cut-outs featuring all the Disney princess dresses.
The Happy Birthday Banner uses a free SVG cut file from Gina C. Creates.
And the princess dress cut-outs are made from these princess dress templates.
She got some glitter paper from Hobby Lobby, but she did have a money-saving tip for you. Hobby Lobby has discontinued their 40% off one item in-store coupon, so if you need to buy paper, wait until the paper goes on sale.
She did her thing on the Cricut to make all these lovely dresses. Because they turned out so amazing, she decided to turn them into a book rather than stringing them into a banner. You could do either one, but they are definitely something to treasure!!
For some of the embellishments, she took a bag, put the small pieces face down in it, and sprayed them lightly with spray adhesive.
She spent days fussing over this, and she said she loved every second of it! 🙂 🙂
If you are not a Cricut person, you can find similar princess banners on Amazon, like this one from Maplelon ($7). An online store called Maisonette also has a princess-themed banner ($12) that’s really cute!
Princess Balloon Arch
For my husband and son’s birthday party (they are 1 day apart), we did a whiskey-themed party and ordered a balloon arch from a local business. It was amazing, but it was almost $100, and I just didn’t want to spend that this time around.
I found this DIY balloon arch on Amazon for less than $12 and decided to go with it. I was so busy making food the morning of the party that I put my dad in charge of it, and he was blowing up these balloons for probably two hours straight. The assembly of it was also confusing, so we ended up just creating our own arch on our wall.
I almost want to advise just buying balloons, because it would be cheaper, but this kit came with balloon tape, which allowed us to stick the balloons to the wall and make our own balloon design. It turned out really cool! And the colors were perfect for a princess party.
Bonus – the kids loved playing with the balloons!
Princess Dresses on a Rack
My daughter already had a lot of princess toys and dresses, so I thought it made sense to just utilize those to add some decor to the party.
I bought a small clothing rack and displayed her dresses next to our gift table. Some other little girls there ended up putting some on, so it served two purposes!
Special Cake Stands
I also decided to order two special cake stands to display the macarons and whatever else needed to be set out.
They are both from the Pioneer Woman, and I love them! We displayed our pink macarons on the 10-inch cake stand, and the mini-one is sooo adorable – we ended up putting some mini cinnamon rolls in it.
Ingredient Cards with Place Card Holders
When I go to events or restaurants, I feel like the devil is always in the details. It’s the little things that stick out to you and make you say ooh and ahh. That’s why I always make ingredient cards and display them on place card holders when I host parties.
They’re cute, they let people know what each item is, and they also help if someone has a food allergy and needs to know what’s in each dish.
I use Canva to design them (it’s free), and I use the “Pinot Noir Label” text design. I print them on thick, 80lb paper and stick them into a custom place card holder my husband made with scrap wood. You can find similar place card holders on Amazon (I like this rustic wood option, but perhaps this one is more princess-y).
For our last party, I used regular paper and laminated each one, but this time around, I found that printing them on thicker paper allowed me to cut the laminating step.
People always comment on how cute and handy they are!
Beauty and the Beast Rose
Last but not least, I really wanted to have a Beauty and the Beast rose. When we go to Disney World, I always love going to the Be Our Guest Restaurant, and the way they display the rose in the far dining room is so cool. Even though mine wouldn’t be as elaborate, I still wanted to have it to display with the food.
I found this one on Amazon, and while it is a little pricier than I was hoping (around $65 when I bought it), I read pretty poor reviews of cheaper versions and decided to splurge. This one is made of a real rose that has been preserved. It is really high quality, and we just use it as regular decor in our house now that the party is over.
Princess-Themed Party Activities
By the time I had figured all of the stuff out in this article, I was whooped. I didn’t plan any special activities, and everything turned out perfectly fine. The kids all ate and played with the toys in our living room while the adults ate and mingled, and we quickly went right into the party stuff, like opening presents, singing Happy Birthday, and eating cake.
After that, some people left, and those who stayed hopped in our pool and we had a nice, relaxing afternoon on our patio.
That said, I found some adorable princess-themed activities I would’ve loved to do if I had the time and energy left, so I’ll put those here for inspiration! I also think these activities would be better for older kids. My daughter was turning 3, so orchestrating an activity like this might’ve been chaotic.
- Assemble a princess crown craft
- Making your own wand or shield craft
- Beauty bar with jewelry, perfume, and lip gloss
- Olaf snowball toss game
- Fairy princess treasure hunt
Stay-at-home mom perspective: Although premade activities are not necessary for an awesome party (as evidenced by Bekah’s super successful princess party!), I highly recommend the Olaf snowball toss game. I created a similar snowman version for my daughter’s 1st grade Christmas party at school, and it was a hit! I bought a white display board from Dollar Tree, painted on a snowman, and cut out a hole for his mouth. We used crumpled-up paper for snowballs to feed the snowman but you could use bean bags, styrofoam balls, marshmallows, anything! Ta-da: low-cost, easy party game!
I hope this helps you in your quest to have an amazing princess-themed birthday party! If you’re anything like me, you’ll panic in the days leading up to the party and start spending money on frivolous things to make sure the party is amazing. Resist the urge – all your birthday girl needs is you!
If you throw a princess party, please post your photos!! You can upload photos to our comment section below or tag us on Instagram @thetwomamabears.