Last week was Eloise’s first birthday and last Saturday we had a super fun, pink picnic party at Eloise’s grandparents house in our hometown of St. Louis. I was SO excited for the party because I had obviously been thinking about it since she was about three month old… somehow I managed to rein in all my awesome Pinterest finds and decided on a pink picnic theme. I went into wayyy to much detail and am putting you on picture overload here but I included some tips along the way and hope that maybe this can help you with your little one’s first birthday!
Deciding on a theme….
We all know Pinterest is addicting. And while it is so helpful for party planning it can also be overwhelming – so many cute ideas, how do you choose? I was originally set on a chic beach themed party but quickly realized it wasn’t the best “fit” given the party was taking place in a landlocked state with no sand or ocean for thousands of miles. And while our venue had a pool it didn’t feel right for a one year olds birthday party. The logistics of a bunch of young children swimming was overwhelming and slightly freighting to me. Plus the birthday girl needed a party dress not a party swimsuit!
I thought a pink picnic would be cute, seasonally appropriate and fairly easy to execute without being too over the top (first birthday parties can get over the top, right?). Originally, I was reluctant to settle on a pink picnic theme because there was not much on Pinterest or the web to help me, which meant I was left to my own devices. I may have mentioned a time or two that I am stationery lover. Like big time lover. I wanted the invite to convey the theme and was at a loss at my usual favorite stationery stops. I called in the super, uber talented, Catherine of The Charm Studio. Catherine is a stationery designer who does AMAZING work. I know this sounds expensive but it was reasonable given the quality of work. To say I was happy with the result is an understatement.
Catherine was fabulous to work with and created the invite from my loose direction of “pink picnic” that is cute and girly without being to baby-ish. She designed the invite, envelope liner and these darling address wraps which were not only so super cute but made my life incredibly easy when mailing the invites. She also designed several coordinating items for the party which are equally as adorable.
Once I had my theme and invite I could really nail down the decor. I knew that I wanted some sort of feature table with a cute banner. Along with the banner I also wanted a coordinating “high chair” banner. I found the perfect ones from CM Handmade / SHRED Handmade on Etsy which were mostly burlap with lace lettering and the high chair had coordinating elements. Shop owner, Heather was great to work with and custom made the Happy Birthday Eloise banner. I loved the way they turned out and will definitely use the banner for future birthday parties!
Fringed Streamer backdrop.
I saw this DIY on Pinterest via 100 Layer Cake. Obviously mine would be smaller scale but I love the texture of the fringed crepe paper. I diligently ordered my crepe paper sheets weeks in advance and had decided I would make the backdrop at the venue a few days before. About half way to St. Louis I realized I forgot the crepe paper sheets. In a pinch I bought crepe paper streamers ($9 for 6 rolls) and hoped I could somehow make the fringe effect work. I am planning a separate, DIY post on the backdrop but basically but cutting my desired length, folding it over several times and trimming the “fringe” I was able to achieve my desired result. Hanging the backdrop was the most challenging aspect of it all. We bought 2 small dowels for $3 each and tied a string tightly across them. The dowels also served as the place to hang the Happy Birthday banner. The streamers hung perfectly fine on the string it was getting the dowels to stay straight and tight that was tough. Luckily, my husband is the world’s best problem solver and affixed some sort of support, string thing to make it work.
If you’re a regular reader you know I am a lover of our Baby Bjorn high chair. What you see at this party is not a Baby Bjorn high chair but a refinished, antique Jenny Lind high chair. I was inspired by a photo I found on Pinterest of a little girl in her pink Jenny Lind high, chair celebrating her first birthday. At that moment, I knew that we had to somehow find a Jenny Lind high chair for Eloise’s birthday. If you know anything about Jenny Lind high chairs, you know they are no longer manufactured and are impossible, like really impossible to find. I looked for weeks on Craigslist and ebay for one with no luck. I finally caved and told Tyler my idea, I thought for sure he would think I was crazy but he was 100% on board with is. Within the hour he had found three high chairs within driving distance from us (frustrating it only took him an hour but exciting). Two days later, we drove to Rockford Illinois, about two hours from here to pick one up at a resale shop. It was in decent condition but was in desperate need of refinishing. I have a DIY tutorial and an all about the process post coming up week after next but it was a fun, inexpensive, relatively easy process that yielded our first family heirloom. We plan to use it for all our kiddos first birthday’s and maybe even regularly someday. I was so pleased with how it turned out and love the way it looked in pictures.
Menu & more Decor.
At a first birthday party I feel like the food becomes as much the decor as anything. Catherine from Charm Studio created darling little food tents, drink wraps and favor tags that coordinated with the invite and theme. For kiddos we had: mini PBJ’s, mac ‘n cheese cups, mini hot dogs (full size hot dogs cut in half), mini bags of chips and child size, plastic milk jugs from Tom Kat Studio complete with striped straws. We had mason jars for growns up with coordinating wraps and straws. We decided it would be fun to put each guests name on their respective mason jar. While it was a great idea in theory it proved a bit chaotic upon guests arrival so I probably wouldn’t do that again. We had the grown up food catered by Tyler’s favorite St. Louis BBQ spot. For the tablescape we used white tablecloths we already had and accented them with 2 yards of inexpensive pink gingham fabric and a summertime favorite, sunflowers. All in all on the tablescapes we spent less than $20.
I was obsessed with the cake. I found inspiration via a similar design on Pinterest and took it to my favorite St. Louis bakery, Companion. They recreated it perfectly while making some “pink” adjustments to coordinate with the theme. As a secondary desert an as our favors Companion made iced watermelon sugar cookies. Half had bites out of them and half were normal which was a cute touch. The Cake was definitely the centerpiece to the decor and was probably the thing we splurged the most on. In addition to the steal-the-show cake we had a small, pink smash cake for Eloise.
Whew, that was a long post. If you’re still reading – thank you! It was so fun planning Eloise’s party and all of my analyzing, web searches and hours on Etsy were worth it. Overall, our party was very budget friendly and everything went as perfect as I could have hoped. Here are my tips for having an equally as smooth party:
– Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t try to DIY every last detail (Pinterest can convince you it is a good idea). Pick details you know you can execute well and run with it and call in the professionals (banner makers, stationery designers) to do what they do best.
– Consider catering or “carry out” food for the adults. If you don’t want to go this route than ask family to help. Trying to make all the food would be ALOT. It is enough during the party to manage and refill the food and drinks and making it could be hectic (I am sure it could be done but I am so glad we didn’t have to think about the adult food).
– To piggyback on the above don’t go overboard on food or drinks. Our party was at noon and while everyone was expecting lunch they weren’t expecting a feast or full bar. Have enough to comfortably feed your guests but don’t feel like you need a full sit down dinner. I only say this because I was really worried we wouldn’t have enough food (no apps, no salad, etc) and what we had (3 meat choices + 2 side choices) was perfect. Everyone was full and happy.
– Ask for help. Tyler, my sister in law, my mom and mother in law were instrumental in my vision becoming a reality. Every single one of them bought into my crazy ideas and did what they could to make it happen. Not to mention, everyone loved having a hand in making the party a special day for Eloise. I am usually a control freak that would rather stay up until 2am before asking for help – since I have become a mom I have gotten better at asking for help. And I am so glad I asked and delegated so many tasks to my gracious helpers because it really was a team effort.
– ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY. Do what you can before the party, run around like a crazy person but once the party starts forget about it and enjoy the party with the guest of honor and your friends and family.
I hope you enjoyed looking and reading about Eloise’s party as much as I enjoyed writing about it. Look for the highchair refinishing post and the crepe paper backdrop after the 4th of July!
Invites and Paper Goods: The Charm Studio / High Chair & Happy Birthday Banner: CM Handmade – SHRED Handmade / Cake & Cookies: Companion / Pink Chevron mac ‘n cheese cups, pink chevron paper plates, striped straws & mini milk jugs: TomKat Studio / Mason Jars: Amazon