There are lots of different ways to interpret princess party ideas for a kid's birthday or tea party, from traditional Disney characters such as Cinderella, Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, or Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog to more comical ones such as Princess Fiona from Shrek. Regardless of which type of princess is your child's favorite, there are lots of imagery that is common to all princesses.
So, below are lots of universal princess party ideas, which you can always tailor to a particular Disney character if you wish. Personally, I always think it's better to create your own individual princess party theme rather than rely too heavily on Disney-branded merchandise—a few little touches are fine, but you don't want your birthday / tea party to look like an advertisement for a film.
princess party Invitations
Tiara / Wand Invitations
You can pick up plastic tiara's really cheaply nowadays—for around $1 each—so I would suggest sending these out as the invitations. It's certain to get people excited about your princess party ideas. Plus the guests can wear the tiaras to the tea party.
Just write all the party information onto a decorative shipping tag by hand and tie onto the tiara. Alternatively, you can have these printed quite cheaply ($19.95 / £12 for 100 cards) incorporating your own photograph - see printed mini cards for more info.
If you want to make these even more special, lay them on some pink tissue paper in a small gift box and tie up with ribbon. You can always hand these out on the school run to save posting.
There are lots of great pre-designed invitations available, including ones that can be personalized either with or without a photo, that will tie in nicely with these princess party ideas.
For a budget alternative, there are also some pretty decent fill-in invitations that would also work well with these princess party ideas.
To compliment your princess party ideas, don't forget to include lots of formal words and phrasing in the text of your princess party invitations, for example:
'By order of Her Royal Highness Princess (name) of (town), all subjects are formally requested to attend court to celebrate....'
'The festivities will commence at....'
Spell out the date and time in words, ex, One O'Clock on the afternoon of the Seventeenth of May Two-Thousand-and-Eleven.
Refer to the address as The Royal Palace of (name of your town), followed by your address
Refer to the finish time of the birthday party as 'Carriages', ex, Carriages: Four O'Clock
'All subjects are expressly requested to send word of their reply by messenger to...'
Don't forget to include information on the dress code, especially if you want everybody to come dressed as a Prince or Princess, ex, 'Dress: Royal Attire'.
Princess Postage Stamps
A really nice touch that shows attention to detail is to embellish your invitations with personalized princess themed postage stamps. You can even upload a photo of your child dressed as a princess to some of the stamps (see below right).
Note: These stamps are only available in the USA
Below are some drinks ideas to go with these princess party ideas:
Tea parties are synonymous with princess party ideas, so you might want to serve the drinks in some old fashioned tea cups with saucers. You probably don't want to serve normal tea, but there are some nice fruit flavoured ice teas like those from Snapple which make flavors such as peach, raspberry and lemon tea. Just remember these still contain caffeine, although they do make a caffeine-free Pomegranate Raspberry Red Tea which is probably the best option.
Even if you don't serve fruit tea, present your drinks in teacups. Ideally you want to use old fashioned granny style teacups with saucers like these (below left and center) which you can pick up for around $20 for a set of 6 - which works out just over $3 each. Alternatively, use plastic kid's tea sets, or for younger kids there are these plastic tea cup sippers
(below right, USA only). You can always take the screw top and big bendy straw off and replace with a regular straw to make them look more delicate if you wish.
Alternatively, make all your drinks pink by serving things like pink lemonade. This looks great in a big serving jug or punchbowl with just some simple lemon or lime slices as garnish (see photo below left by Quentin Bacon on My Recipes).
You can still let them drink this out of tea cups with saucers so they feel more like a princess. Alternatively, use these cute royal goblets (below right) to tie in nicely with these princess party ideas.
Check out some of these great recipes I found to give you some inspiration for your princess party ideas:
For princess party food you could look to the English tradition of 'Afternoon Tea' for inspiration. Little princesses will love this as everything is so delicate and lady-like. Traditionally, afternoon tea comes served in teapots with tea cups and saucers alongside bite-sized sandwiches cut into small triangles with the crusts removed. Traditional English fillings are cucumber (but you could add cream cheese for children), egg and cress (substitute with egg mayo for kids), ham, or smoked salmon.
All the sandwiches are usually presented on a tired cake stand (see Food Presentation section below for princess themed cardboard cake stands) accompanied by a selection of small cakes or scones with jam and Devonshire (clotted) cream. See video below, from Joy of Baking for how to make the scones.
Over the past few years, traditional English Afternoon Tea has become really fashionable again. The Berkeley Hotel in London has gone one step further and created Prêt-à-Portea, which is a modern afternoon tea with cakes and biscuits inspired by dresses, handbags and shoes from the current season's catwalk collections (below). It's then all served on china designed by British designer Paul Smith. So you don't just have to think in terms of traditional afternoon tea for your princess party ideas - mix it up with some cute shoe or dress shaped cookies, cakes and candies.
If you want to make the sandwiches a little less formal, use cookie cutters to shape them into crowns, castles and glass slippers to turn them into princess party food. Don't forget to include some frog shaped ones too. See here for princess cookie cutters.
Pink cotton candy or strawberries dipped in white chocolate with pink sprinkles are also perfect princess party ideas.
Or for something a little more unusual check out this amazing step by step guide for how to make Cupcake Stuffed Stawberries! (Yes, you did read that correctly. Below left by Jasmin at 1 Fine Cookie) or this variation of Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries (below right, by Melissa at Sugar Derby).
You might also want to let the kids get involved in making some of the princess party food for their birthday, so let them try their hand at these cute Edible Teacup Biscuits (below right, from Planning with Kids) or these Fairy Princess Wands (below right from My Recipes).
I had to include this recipe for Pink-Lemonade Cookie Pops (below left, by Cathy Cook from Red Book) because they just look so cute—perfect princess party food. Alternatively, try these beautiful looking Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes (below right, by Josie from Pink Parsley) made with a strawberry swiss-meringue buttercream.
Use these cute tea cup molds (below left and center) to bake and serve your cupcakes in - perfect for a royal tea party. Alternatively, use these crown shaped cupcake holders (below right). See here for both.
For a simple way to theme your cupcakes in keeping with these princess party ideas use these cupcake wrappers with castle and glass slipper picks (below left), or these crown cupcake rings (below center) or Disney princess jewel ring toppers (below right). See here for these.
Alternatively, you could make these really cute Rapunzel Tower Cupcakes (below, by Robin at Bird on a Cake). The cake is baked inside the ice cream cups.
One final pink-themed recipe to add to the princess party ideas is this cute Pink Popcorn (below, by Erin at Erin Cooks).
No princess party food would be complete without some reference to a frog (that might just turn into a prince). There are lots of great recipes around for Frog Cupcakes of varying complexity, but this one (below left, by Bright Ideas) is a very simple. Alternatively you could make Frog in a Pond (below right, by Dixie Elliott from Taste) which is just a chocolate frog in a simple green Jell-O. Don't forget to serve them on lily pads cut out of green card.
Another cute dessert is this Sherbet the Frog recipe from Disney Family (see video below).
See the video below for step by step instructions for how to make fruit bouquets.
Alternatively, try these simplified Fruit Flower Pops (below, by Lindsay Ann at Dollhouse Bake Shoppe).
If you're not really a baker, these
personalized edible cake images (USA only) are a really quick and easy way to theme the birthday cake in keeping with these princess party ideas. Just roll out onto your cake.
You can also decorate your cake with these princess themed cake toppers. There are lots of different designs available depending on your child's favorite princess character.
You can also get lots of cute princess themed candles such as this Disney princess set (below left), these crown candle (below center) which are small enough to use on cupcakes too, or these individual Disney princess character candles (below right) - other characters available.
Food & Drink styling
Below are some suggestions for how to style and decorate your party in keeping with these princess party ideas:
Buffet / Dessert Table
To create a dessert / buffet table like the one below, folllow these step by step instructions:
Hanging tissue paper garlands vertically is a great way to create a delicate backdrop for a princess themed dessert table (see pictures below from Martha Stewart Weddings for inspiration).
When using tissue garlands for a backdrop they look best when there are lots of them, so have some overlapping or curled up towards the sides. Use several different types of garland to give the arrangement plenty of texture. In the illustration above I've used a mixture of arcade garlands (below top), leaf garlands (below middle) and paper tissue garlands (below bottom) in a mixture of lavender, white and classic pink. See here for where to buy. To avoid a candy stripe appearance, be sure to use a mixture of 3 different colors, rather than just 2.
To dress your table, I'd suggest using a lavender tablecover with a matching table skirt (below left). Then pick up some lavender tulle by the yard and lay this over the table skirt to create some texture. Then add some pink feather boa trim (below right) - also available by the yard - around the perimeter of the tabletop. Obviously you could also reverse these colors if you prefer pink to be your main color. See here for where to buy all these items.
You could also arrange some white string lights (the type used to dress a christmas tree) in between the table skirt and the tulle to add some sparkle.
Use a mix of square and rectangular pink and white plates and bowls to display the food on. I recommend these disposable Premium Plastic Plates (below), they're great value and are really handy if you don't have enough serving platters and trays to match the colors of your princess party ideas.
These life size Disney Princess stand ups (below, other Disney Princess characters available) are a great way to help decorate the dessert table. I've used 2 in the illustration above, but you could get away with just using one. The great thing about these is that you can use them as a photo op too, so the kids can have their picture taken with their favorite princess.
This princess centerpiece (below left) is really cute or alternatively you could use this castle pinata (below right) as the centerpiece and then bring it out again later once you've started the party games. Both of these would look best raised up to give some height, so you could just cover a cardboard box with gift wrap or use the princess cake stand pictured below in the Food Presentation section.
Alternatively, there are lots of large 32"+ tall balloons that fit with these princess party ideas which you can fill with helium and use as a centerpiece (or arrange a row of three running along the back of the dessert table). See here for a full range of princess themed balloons.
If your birthday party falls during pumpkin season make a homemade centerpiece by carving this beautiful Disney style Pumpkin Carriage (below, from Hallmark Magazine).
Complete the scene by hanging a personalized princess themed banner above the dessert table, such as the ones below. There are lots of different designs available, including ones where you can upload of photo of your child.
Alternative Dessert Tables
If you're on a tight budget you can create a variation of the dessert table above by substituting the tissue paper garlands for crepe paper streamers. Just twist and hang a mixture of lavender, white and pink streamers in tight vertical lines from floor to ceiling (see below left from aestheticoutburst. blogspot.com and below right from mandjsherry.blogspot.com for inspiration).
One final idea, is to use scene setters to decorate (see below).
This dessert table is almost entirely made up of a princess theme scene setter and add on's which makes a perfect backdrop. The great thing about it is that you can either buy the entire kit as a package, if your budget permits, or just buy individual sections to build up the scene as you prefer. Plus, the pieces are so big (the background images are 30ft long and the prince and princess approx 5ft tall) that you'll be able to cover huge sections of a room with it (not just behind the dessert table) so you may not need many other decorations to go with these princess party ideas.
The background is made up of the following pieces:
Then you can add the princess themed add ons:
If you're using the above scene setters, bear in mind that all the decorations sit flat against the wall. Therefore, I'd recommend using something three dimensional as the centerpiece so that all the decorations don't sit on the same plain.
Below are some food styling and presentation tips to go with these princess party ideas.
Dress up regular soda and water bottles with these personalized labels (USA only). Lots of designs are available, just type in the text you want or include a photo.
There are a few different cardboard cupcake stands that fit nicely with these princess party ideas. You can use them just for cupcakes on your dessert table or arrange several of them on the dining table in order to serve sandwiches, cakes, and cookies on in traditional 'Afternoon Tea' style (see Party Food section above).
Alternatively, use this princess cake stand for larger birthday cakes. Or you could use this to raise up your centerpiece to add some extra height.
Create your own labels for food on your dessert table with these princess stickers. Just add a sticker to small pieces of colored card / paper with the name of the dish on, then wrap around a food pick.
Use these princess stencils to decorate the corners of food trays using either colored confectioners sugar or icing. Check out the video below for a basic demonstration.
If you want to go for traditional princess party ideas, dress the table using a palate of pink and white—with perhaps a small amount of lavender as an accent color (below left). Alternatively, lavender and pink also work really well together with white as the accent color (below right).
Alternatively, if you want something less traditional for your birthday / tea party I particularly like the color combination used in the merchandise for the Disney film The Princess and the Frog (right). The combination of light blue, lavender and purple—with a few pastel green accents still feels very princess-like without being as obvious as pink and white.
There's also this range of princess partyware, which has a more delicate style and matches the fill-in style invitations and dessert table centerpiece mentioned above.
If you have a gazebo / pop-up canopy at home I would always suggest you set up the dining table under this. Having a roof overhead helps define the space and you can focus the party decorations around it. Hang swags of decorating fabric such as gossamer or netting around the outside of the canopy to enclose the space and give it a more decorative feel—or hang some transparent bead curtains to give it a bejewelled look. Crystal beaded strands can add a really magical touch. When I produced Elton John's very first White Tie and Tiara Ball I worked with Swarovski to dress one of his gardens, turning it into a enchanted forest, using strands of their 'Crystal Rain' hanging from the trees. You can do something similar by hanging strands of crystal beads down from your canopy in clusters at varying heights.
It's always a good idea to have some decoration overhead too—to fill the empty space above the table. Some simple paper lanterns or tissue pom-poms work well. Always hang these in a cluster at varying heights.
If you don't have a canopy or you're holding your party indoors you can still create a similar effect by swagging strips of decorating fabric (such as gossamer) down from a light fitting and out to the side walls of the room to help lower the ceiling.
If you want to give your party a really professional look, pick up some disposable chair covers to give all the chairs a uniform look. Often, if you're using mis-matched chairs or the color doesn't fit with the theme of your party it can really detract from the overall aesthetic. The reason the table styling always looks better at professional events or weddings is because the chair covers match the tablecloth. If your budget allows, use these stretch fabric chair covers which are approx $7 each in black or white. Then tie a sash to the back of each chair in whatever your chosen accent color is.
Finally, tie a helium-filled balloon to the back of each chair so it sits above the child's head. There are lots of different balloons available that fit with these princess party ideas, see here for a full range.
To identify who sits where, pick up some cheap plastic fairy princess wands or glass slippers and attach small tags with each child's name on it and lay one on each place setting. Alternatively, use these cute carriage treat boxes and fill with some pink candy. All these products are available here.
For the birthday girl, cover a high backed dining room chair and turn it into a throne and position this at the head of the table. Choose an ornate photo frame and hang this on the throne with 'Princess (name)' printed on paper inside the frame or use this foam princess decoration.
if budget permits use this pink princess throne chair.
If you're using these princess party ideas for a 1st birthday, use this cute highchair cover to decorate your child's highchair to make it a bit more special.
For a centerpiece, carve the pumpkin carriage from Disney's Cinderella (as detailed in Food & Drink Styling above) or use this Color Your Own Castle activity (below left). Let the party guests color this in while they're waiting for everyone to arrive then use it as the centerpiece. Alternatively, you can pick up some simple ready made centerpieces such as the ones below. All of these items are available here.
Another option for a centerpiece is to use these princess themed cups as vases and put some simple flower arrangements in them.
Finish the table styling by putting one of these cute princess hats at each place.
Fortunately there are lots of great decorations available to go with these princess party ideas—especially if you're having a Disney themed princess tea party. Below are my recommendations.
To browse a full range of supplies suited to these princess party ideas, including lots of additional products I didn't have space to feature on this page, see the links below. These are the best suppliers I've found and between them they cover the best range of products for all budgets.
Always start your party decorations outside so there's a bit of a build up to the entrance. There's nothing worse for your guests than arriving at a bare front door.
This could just be bunches of balloons starting along the pavement and leading guests up your drive to the front door, a personalized yard sign (below left, different designs available, USA only) or personalized banner (below right, different designs available).
This pink carpet runner is a great way to create a special entrance for your princess party, and can be used indoors or outside.
Another option is to print a life-size cut out (below left) of your child dressed in a princess costume to position at the end of then drive or at your front door. These are surprisingly cheap at around $20. Plus you can add a motion-activated voice recorder (USA only) for around $10 extra which enables your child to pre-record a short welcome message which starts to play as people walk past the cut out.
A budget alternative to a personalized banner is to use one of these jointed banners. They're also cheap enough to use as general decorations to hang around your party space.
There are also lots of great princess themed balloons available, from simple latex ones (below left), to shaped foil balloons (below center) and Disney princess balloons that can be customized with your child's name - including one that sings Happy Birthday!
There are some great cut-outs and stand-ups you can pick up which are useful for decorating. These range from small princess themed cut outs (below left), to stand-ups of Disney princesses (below center) and some simple and reasonably priced castle stand ups (below right). All these are available here.
Twinkly white fairy lights are also great for these princess party ideas (hang them behind some sheer fabric to soften the look), or pick up a cheap bubble or smoke machine to really give a magical fairytale feel to your birthday party. All these are available here.
You can buy pre-filled party favor boxes to tie in with these princess party ideas, such as the one below (lots more designs available) which usually works out more cost effective.
Alternatively, you can fill your own using these empty princess treasure chest or handbag style boxes.
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Matt James is a professional party planner and owner of event agency DNA Productions, which has produced events for Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Spacey, Stella McCartney, David LaChapelle, John Waters, and Elvis Costello & Diana Krall. Since 2004, DNA has won 24 industry awards for excellence including Production Company of the Year.