ok, first, let me just tell you that i am a party animal, so dd's 1st and second birthdays were for me and the other parents, too.
*for my birthday this year (same month as dd's) i had people who wanted to give me a gift pool money for a housecleaner to come make my house shine the day before the party. $135
*i always do parties potluck, i refuse to stress myself out.
*i made almond butter brownies instead of cake-easier, cheaper, healthier. $20 for organic ingredients.
*champagne and oj, we do it as a brunch, as the kids seem to be at their best in the a.m. $100
*decorations, have been in my closet fo years, so i have no idea what the initial cost was- i think they are hand me down decorations from sil.
*party jump, $100 for all day. super value- fun for kids and adults.
*art supplies $10
*invitation materials, handmade $15
total-$380. is it excessive? well, here's the thing, as far as i could tell it was super fun for everyone. kids were, for the most part happy and relaxed, as were their parents. we dont spend anything on gifts other than the party, because the best present is a gathering of people we love. so it's worth it to us. but if need be, we could spend $0 and be just as happy. the stuff that costs is just frosting on the cake, but when we can do it, it's nice.
and, yep, like mother, like daughter, dd lives for parties. she often talks about party,cake, candles, happy birthday.