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pink candy bar

Tonya Coleman here from Soireé Event Design, and I’m back with the “Look for Less” series sharing how you can get a fabulous high-end designer party for less by hiring a professional party planner.  That may sound backwards, but believe me, I am breaking down my daughter’s “Kitty-licious” Party to show you exactly how much every single item cost to put this party together AND how you can get an entire party for less while hiring someone else to do it for you!

All over the web are fabulous parties, either real or styled that don’t tell you how much it exactly costs to recreate. Money and budgets are something people rarely want to talk about, but today I’m pulling back the veil and giving you a real look into how much it really costs to put together one of these designer parties.

Let’s breakdown my recent Kitty party I did for my own daughter’s 10th birthday party. Yes, I am a professional party planner and own almost all of the decor used in this party, but if I were the average mom that does not have a warehouse full of party props and supplies, and saw this fabulous party online and wanted to duplicate it, this is the real breakdown of what it would cost to purchase every single item I used.

milk and cookies bar

kitty party activity


pink milk


*View more photos in the full party recap here



Party for 8 guests

Printables: $132
DIY printables package: $55 (Soiree-EventDesignShop.com)
printing: $25 (Staples)
fancy paper punch: $17 (TomKat Studio)
circle paper punch: $17 (TomKat Studio)
jumbo circle paper punch: $18 (Michaels)

Dining Table: $539
1 table 6′: $68 (Costco)
2 custom pink leopard velboa fur tablecloths: $40 ($20 each CNCfabrics.com)
8 pink folding chairs: $80 ($9.99 each Target)
2 denim runners: $42 ($21 each TableclothWorld.net)
2 led crystal trees: $180 ($90 each: Shop Wild Things)
1 plush Aurora stuffed animal: $15 (StuffedSafari.com)
4 white plastic cat bowls: $4 (Dollar Tree)
1 pack pink rhinestone stickers: $3 (Walmart)
8 silver chargers with bling: $29 ($3.60 each CV linens)
1 pack of premium plastic clear dinner plates: $10 (16 ct. Party City)
8 mini dessert glasses: $30 (Pier 1 imports)
8 bling sticks: $8 (Made by a Princess)
300 pcs pink acrylic rocks: $15 (Efavor Mart)
3 packs of 12″ round pink leopard print cake boards: $15 ($5/pack Michaels)

Beauty Bar: $710
2 tables (4′): $60 ($30 each Walmart)
2 custom pink cheetah tablecloths: $40
1 denim runner: $21
2 led crystal trees: $180 ($90 each Shop Wild Things)
1 directors chair: $50 (Pier 1)
1 fuzzy pillow: $10 (Michaels)
1 full length mirror: $80 (HomeGoods)
1 5×7 pink shag rug: $30 (Walmart)
1 mirror on front of display cosmetic case: $15 Michaels
8 black cosmetic cases: $160 ($20 each from surplus store)
1 stemmed pillar candle holder: $8 (HomeGoods)
8 packs glow in dark necklaces: $7 ($1/pack Michaels)
8 pink striped paper cups: $6 (20/pack Creative Kids)
1 bag of Starburst: $3 (Target)
8 pink cosmetic bags: $8 ($1 each Michaels)
8 bling compact mirrors: $8 ($1 each Dollar Tree)
8 black headbands with cheetah bows: $24 ($3 each Halo Heaven)

Breakfast Bar: $126
1 pink plush cat bed: $30
2 plush Aurora stuffed animals: $30
1 silver 8×10 frame: $10 (Walmart)
2 white ceramic trays: $10 (TJ Maxx)
3 glass carafes: $3 (Dollar Tree)
3 fancy stemmed glasses: $12 ($4 each TJ Maxx)
2 boxes frozen pancakes: $4 (Target)
4 packs frozen smoothie mix: $7 (Target)
2 packs mini muffins: $4 (Target)
1 pack plastic cups: $2 (Target)
1 pack pink striped paper straws: $5 (TomKat Studio Shop)
1 pack plastic reflections silver cutlery: $2 (Target)
1 pack white paper plates: $1 (Dollar Tree)
3 containers of jelly: $6 (Target)

Candy Bar: $293
1 round resin table: $20 (Walmart)
1 custom pink cheetah tablecloth: $20
1 crystal tree: $90 (Shop Wild Things)
1 plastic riser: $21 (eFavor Mart) $6 + $7 + $8
1 black cosmetic case: $20
8 cotton candy bags with labels: $32 (Soiree-EventDesignShop.com)
6 custom cookies: $24 ($4 each: Sugar Cravings)
1 pack cello bags: $3 (Michaels)
2 white serving trays: $16 (TJ Maxx)
1 round glass bowl: $1 (Dollar Tree)
1 sparkly pink frame: $6 (online)
8 Shimmer Gumballs in 8 Clear Candy Tubes: $24 ($3 each: TomKat Studio Shop)
8 pink lollipops: $2 (Dollar Tree)
8 pop rocks: $2 (Dollar Tree)
1 pack of Jolly Rancher lollipops: $2 (Target)
8 pink striped paper cups: cost already accounted for above
1 pack Jolly Ranchers: $3 (Target)
2 glass square vases: $6 (Ikea)
2 styrofoam disks: $1 (Dollar Tree)

Dress Up Bar: $246
1 wire 3 tiered stand: $40 (Beverly’s)
2 wire frame dress forms: $50 ($25 each Craigslist)
1 table (4′): $30 (Walmart)
2 fancy stemmed glasses: $8 ($4 each)
1 silver 8×10 frame: $10 (Walmart)
1 plush Aurora stuffed animal: $15
1 pack Color Freedom fabric markers: $10 ($10/pack of 10 Creative Kids)
8 white tank tops: $40 ($5 each Target)
8 cheetah tutus: $32 ($3 each Halo Heaven)
Kitty Collar Activity:
1 spool ribbon: $3 (Michaels)
4 packs of bling buckle sliders: $6 (Hobby Lobby)
16 velcro tabs: $2 (Dollar Tree)

Favor Bar: $151
2 silver tables: $50 ($25 each Target clearance)
1 sunburst mirror: $25 (Michaels)
1 free-standing shepherds hook: $10 (Michaels)
1 glass horizontal vase: $10 (Michaels)
1 5×7 sign holder: $8 (Staples)
8 denim bags: $16 (Oriental Trading)
8 notebooks: $8 (Dollar Tree)
Custom monogrammed buttons:
8 plastic buttons: $3 (Michaels)
printable favor monogram labels: $20 (Soiree-EventDesignShop.com)
1 sheet scrapbook paper: $1 (Michaels)

Cake: $66
1 Strawberry Passion ice cream cake: $28 (ColdStone Creamery)
3 bling sticks: $3 (Made by a Princess)
1 lb bag of large pink shimmer gumballs: $7 (TomKat Studio)
2 pawprint custom cookies: $8 ($4 each: Sugar Cravings)
white cake stand: $20

Cookies & Milk Bar: $143
8 white plastic cat bowls: $8 (Dollar Tree)
2 pack pink rhinestone stickers: $6 (Walmart)
24 custom cookies: $96 ($4 each: Sugar Cravings)
1 gallon strawberry milk: $3 (Target)
12 glass mini dessert glasses: $30 (Pier 1 Imports)
pink striped paper straws: cost already accounted for above

Nail Bar: $197
1 storage trunk: $44 (Walmart)
1 custom pink cheetah tablecloth: $20
4 pink floor pillows: $84 ($21 each Walmart)
1 white serving tray: $10 (TJ Maxx)
1 5×7 sign holder: $8 (Staples)
1 round black bowl: $3 (Target)
6 bottles of nail polish: $12 ($2 each Walmart)
2 packs nail stickers: $6 ($3 each Walmart)
assorted manicure supplies: $10

Activities: $65
Glitter Tattoo painter: $65
1 hour

Now let’s add up all the costs AND add in 24 hours of your time that I estimated at the minimum wage hourly rate. Your time is worth atleast that…right? All those hours spent on Pinterest searching for ideas, online and driving around town looking for all the items and vendors you’ll use, hours of crafting decor, assembling printables and of course the time spent on setup and breakdown of all the decor.

Cost to purchase all the decor items: $2,000
** does not include shipping or tax
Cost to purchase all consumable items: $700
24 hours of time @ $7.25 min wage: $174

This comparison is based on if the party planner already owns all of the decor items. If the party planner does not own the items already, their fees may increase to cover purchase of additional items. The party planner fee below is only an estimated average and may be higher or lower in your area.

Cost to RENT all the decor items: $500 (25% of retail)
Cost to purchase all consumable items: $700
Party planner’s average fee: $600

SAVINGS: $1,074

I hope sharing the real cost of a designer party was helpful in seeing just how pricey some of these featured parties you see all over the web actually are and to give a realistic picture of the value in hiring a professional party planner when you want to achieve some of these high-end looking events for less. There are many other ways to get a Look for Less alternative like making some of the items yourself or using some of your own personal decor. But for those busy moms out there who don’t have time to craft or the space to store all the decor after the party, hiring a professional party planner to do it all for you and take it all back with them allows you to actually enjoy your party, let the planner do all the work and save you money! WIN-WIN-WIN!


Want more “Look for Less” tips and party inspiration? Click over to my blog “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Party Planning” for more party inspiration and tips!



– Event Styling & Photography: Soiree Event Design
– “Kitty-licious” Printables: Soiree Event Design Shop