If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I escaped my house for a little antiquing a few weeks back and stumbled upon a pink bar cart that I didn’t know I needed. I stayed strong and left the bar cart at the store, but not before posting about my love for it on Instagram. Wow. That was some positive peer pressure, folks. Everyone — including my mother — told me to go back and buy it. Mom decided to make it a “just because” gift to me, and so the bar cart came to our house — and I have party inspiration coming out of my ears.

I started thinking about a book of poems I loved as a little girl, When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne. I thought about my now 11-year-olds’ love (still!) for their teddies. And maybe it was the antiquiness (is that a word?) of it all that lead me to this bar cart party.

Colors

I love pink and red together, so that was an easy and obvious choice for Valentine’s Day. But I also wanted to keep things simple, so the only other colors were the black type on white, which reinforced the poem inspiration for the party.

Backdrop

For the backdrop, I knew I only needed something simple and poster sized (24″ x 36″). I chose my favorite stanza from Milne’s Teddy Bear — the poem that led to Winne the Pooh. (Did your kids sleep with every possible stuffed animal when they were little? I love the description of them all “crowded in”.) I just typed the stanza into PicMonkey and created an image for printing. (You can find all the printables I created at the end of this post.)

Office Max printed the backdrop and adhered it to foam core board for $34. All I had to do was to prop the backdrop on the top shelf of the bar cart and lean it against the wall. I draped a felt heart garland from A Felt Affair across the top. Backdrop done.

Stretch Your Dessert Table Budget

Tip #1: Add props.

Whether you are styling a dessert table or a bar cart, the easiest way to stretch your treats budget is to add props to your display. I added my girls’ teddy bears, my collection of A. A. Milne books, our sodas, and our plates. The result is a bar cart that looks generously styled, but doesn’t cost a small fortune in desserts.

This is Sandy. You can see the love. (Sandy became a little famous from my Christmas Tree Tissue Garland.)

Tip #2: Go store bought.

I LOOOOVE custom sweets as much as the next party girl, but the cost of handmade + shipping can add up. I’d rather save that kind of money for a birthday party. For this party, I bought candied popcorn and pretzels at Hobby Lobby. The cake was custom-decorated at our local Target, but that cost only $15. The cupcakes were from Smallcakes. All I did was make the Rice Krispies Treats, then dip and drizzle them in candy melts. All my treats cost about $50 total.

Tip #3: Dress Up Your Store-Bought Treats

Free printables and dollar store table-scatter can add impact. For my cupcake toppers, I just hand-cut heart from the printables I designed, then glued on foam glitter hearts. The cake got one big heart with a red grosgrain mini-bow at the base. Both styles of hearts are simply glued to lollipop sticks. Even if you’re not “crafty,” I know you can cut and glue!

Here’s the Finished Bar Cart

Top Shelf:

Middle shelf:

Bottom shelf:

Who Wants Dessert?

One of the best parts of styling parties early for you guys is that we get to share all the treats afterwards. On this day, my husband was setting up a basketball goal with a friend, and he actually brought Eddie in to show off the bar cart. Awww! We invited the neighborhood kids to come help themselves, and since our winter has been bizarrely warm, they all sat in the driveway, eating picnic style.

Free Printables!

Click the links to download PDFs.

  • Poster Backdrop – send this to print poster-sized and mounted on foam core; also print at 8.5″ x 11″ to make cake topper heart
  • Bottle Wraps
  • Wallpaper – use to cut out cupcake topper hearts

Vendor Credits

You’ll find my resources listed below. The Amazon links are affiliate links, so if you purchase through them, I’ll earn a small commission that helps fund my ability to bring you more parties. But most importantly, I only recommend products that I use and love.

  • Party Styling & Photography: The Party Teacher
  • Felt Garlands: A Felt Affair
  • 3-Tiered Stand & Cake Stand: Olivia Dru on Etsy
  • Bamboo Forks: Amazon
  • Foam Glitter Hearts & Pink Napkins: Dollar Tree
  • Red bows: WalMart
  • Pink Cupcake Liners: Amazon
  • Heart Plates: Hobby Lobby
  • Honeycomb Balls: Amazon
  • Cake & Soda: Target
  • Cupcakes: Smallcakes

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