Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Planning a 1st Birthday Party - The Party

The invites for my niece's birthday party were out - now comes the fun part: planning the party!

Our blue and green flower theme welcomed us with open arms at the party store - the plates and napkins we found fit the theme to a tee:

We picked up green and blue knives, forks and spoons at the party store and found an adorable way to package the flatware. My sister had picked up some flower ties from Michael's without knowing how we could use them. After some consideration, we came up with the idea of using them as napkin rings! So easy to do and it lent some organization to the food display table!
On top of that, it was easy to pick up green and blue cups and tablecloths. The community center we were hosting the event at had ten long tables that we could push together as needed. We ended up with 6 tablecloths to cover 3 tables for guests to sit at and eat, 1 food table and 1 gifts table. The last tablecloth was cut in half for smaller cake and photo display tables.

My brother in law's parents took care of a great food spread. We stuffed ourselves with bbq pork sandwiches and pasta and fruit salads.

No alcohol allowed in the park district, so my blue beverage tub was filled with soda and water only over an ice bed.
The cake was from Deerfield Bakery - if you are in the Chicago area I strongly recommend! We served this up with homemade vanilla ice cream - quite the endeavor by Ike's dad!
Ella got served the first piece of cake and it was quite the sight. If you have ever witnessed a one-year old eating their first piece of cake I'm sure you can attest! She started out weary at first but gradually picked up speed in putting the pieces in her mouth - and outside of her mouth. Interesting note - she ate the chocolate part first. We must be related!
Onto the centerpieces for the tables: I found brightly dyed mums at the grocery store and they were too perfect to pass up! I'm not sure if they had extra flowers out because it was Mother's Day weekend, but this  worked to our advantage! While definitely not shades found in nature, I loved the bright blues and greens they had available. $4.99 for a 5 pack of flowers: I picked up 4 shades and they filled the 6 vases perfectly. An interesting touch was that the dyed flowers ended up making the water colored the longer they sat in the vase!

Speaking of vases - I headed to the Salvation Army to find 6 to spread out among the three dining tables. Each averaged 95 cents. After I got them home, I realized that 3 of them were larger than the bud vase look I was going for. As I prepared to head back out to hit another thrift store I had a thought - what about my stemless wine glasses? I grabbed three out of the wine cabinet and filled them with 4 of the cut flowers. Perfect fit and oh so cute!

One plus side is that I had a great new centerpiece for my own dining table when I got home thanks to a switch out of our lemon-colored placemats to the green ones we had picked up at Target during the same sale.
Adding to the table centerpieces were picture frames containing photos of baby Ella throughout the year. I took the idea from the Baby Shower we threw my sister last year:
In this case, and to lend some interactivity to the tables (since there were no planned games) I made a folded over card that said "Ella at ? Months" on the front and the answer in the middle.
It is not a party if there are no balloons, right? We had a few helium filled friends sprinkled throughout the room including one fancy mylar that read "1st Birthday." In lieu of balloon weights for all of the balloons, a few were weighted down with the party favors for the kids in attendance. At this birthday party we had three children besides the party girl herself. Picking up an age-appropriate toy, we added the child's name with a label maker and tied it to a balloon or two they could take home (along with the balloon) at the end of the party.
We decorated the windows using crepe paper and a twist on regular streamers. We picked up about 6 flowery leis from the party store that matched our color scheme. I cut each one and tied them together to form one long streamer. In order to be able to tie the ends together, some of the flowers had to come out which actually added more decoration to the tables as we could scatter them about.
The photo display table held a few more Ella-centric goodies. This included a photo album filled with great shots from throughout the year and the scrapbook I've been writing about in several posts - stay tuned for one more post about a 5-page marathon run Alanna and I had the other weekend - here's a sneak peek at one of the Fashionista page with this shot of the book:
Music wise, we kept things pretty low key - as opposed to the birthday party going on in the activity room across the hall - full on DJ, life size Buzz Lightyear and Woody costumed adults and - at least I think I saw at one point - a conga line. Think more Harry Connick Jr, Michael Buble and Jack Johnson for our mix that played through my iPod hooked into some lightweight travel speakers. I downloaded a few kid-centric songs to plug into the playlist including Ella's favorites: "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" and "Old McDonald Had a Farm." "Birthday" made famous by the Beatles was added as well as a rendition of Happy Birthday that had Ella's name in it. Of course, this means my iTunes recommendations this week have been quite interesting. . .

During gift opening I took notes on who got Ella what so her parents could easily send thank you notes. She received several new dresses that she'll need some occasions to wear them to! Ike and Bob quickly got to work putting together a rocking horse that Ella wasted no time pushing around the room.

Being able to get into the room only half an hour before the party kicked off was going to be a challenge, but this meant we made extra efforts to prepare as much ahead a time as possible including having the flowers already in their vases, doing the napkin rings a few days before the party and delegating! It was great to have Ike's parents own the food part of the event so my sister and I could focus on decor and more!
All in all a great turnout and a happy baby - what more can you ask for? Should be interesting once she gets old enough to have a say in what kind of party she has. I suppose that is how one ends up with a full on DJ, life size Buzz Lightyear and Woody costumed adults and a conga line!

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe how old she looks!! She has gotten so big. Very cute.