her first birthday party, of all things!
I can't begin to tell you why my mind went there. Maybe it's my real love of hosting others in our home, of all things gold and glittery, or maybe I was already secretly anxious about keeping up with our Pinterest crazed world's new idea of what a first birthday party must be. Regardless, my crazy, sleep deprived brain went there....on day ONE of her life!!
Somehow, though, as the months went on, it faded in its importance. (Or maybe got slightly interrupted by real life- diaper changes, long nights, doctors visits...you know, all the stuff that never makes a Pinterest board.) In fact, I never gave it a second thought until a few weeks before the big event. I like to think we were too busy making memories to spend precious hours crafting party favors and designing invitations.
But when it came right down to it, I did want it to be special!
With a little creativity, a few trips to Michaels and a LOT of imperfections, Elle's party came together relatively quickly.
So for any other new moms who, like me, want to keep it simple, classy, special but somewhat inexpensive, here's some tips that I hope will help:
1. Skip the expensive cake. Most likely your sweet one won't smash it at all. When I was first scrambling to find the perfect cake, I called several bakeries in town. Most quoted me $75 or more to feed our 15 guests and a small cake for Elle.
Not realistic! (for us at least)
Plan B....call Publix (or a similar grocery instead). They usually only require a 24 hour notice and will make a cake exactly to your specifications if at all possible. In our case, I wanted the cake to be symbolic of the party as a whole - simply yet stylish.
With this in mind, I had them skip the fancy decorations, edible flowers, and Disney toppers. Instead, we got a a PLAIN WHITE CAKE. I figured I could take it from there.
The kind-eyed older lady behind the bakery counter must have felt sorry for Elle:
"You mean no color at all? Not even some pink balloons on top?"
"No, ma'am. Just plain white please. Thank you."
(Definitely not mother of the year in her book, I can tell you that!)
Opinions aside, she sweetly obliged and for $20, we had our white cake and a free smash cake for Elle!
After adding some of my own decorations and a touch of edible glitter from Michaels, we were on our way:
2. Make it by hand! This was hard for my Etsy-loving, non-crafty self. But I just dove right in, knowing that it would be far from perfect and accepting that in my mind before-hand.
(Working on giving up perfect these days, if you couldn't tell!)
I even let Elle join in on the fun and what could have been just a click of a button turned into a great mother-daughter experience.
Don't get me wrong, I'll be back, Etsy.
These are inexpensive letters from Michael's that I spray painted gold.
And then added some extra tissue paper from the tassels that I made for the backs of the chairs:
The tassels probably cost $5 max but added a great pop of color to otherwise seating.
Here's a quick and easy TUTORIAL on how to make these!
Next, I bought some colorful felt and cut quick shapes and letters to dress up Elle's chair a bit.
The chair, by the way, was hiding in our garage! It was its original brown color; but nothing a quick can of spray paint couldn't fix (I believe the color is Valspar's Catalina Mist).
3. Fill the room with people you love and that love your baby well...they'll forgive you if the food isn't exactly perfect.
We opted for a Southern BBQ theme. We were able to feed 15 people for about sixty dollars!
-Homemade barbecue and sauce (made by my talented husband)
-Corn on the cob
-Crock Pot Mac n' Cheese
Nothing fancy....but what we all really wanted was cake anyways, right Elle?
To add a hint of gold, I sacrificed a few of our ball jars that we have laying around the house. If nothing else, I can pull them back out at Christmas.
The table runner is an unused drop cloth that was hiding beneath some piles of fabric in my closet.
This high chair got a makeover and added just the right pop of color to balance out all of that pink!
"Ellie" the Elephant added some whimsical charm and pink straws are always a good idea!
Elle's wagon held gifts and was very helpful in containing them all after she'd opened them as well.
An old ladder that usually holds baby blankets in her room, showcased a year's worth of Elle pics for the guests to remember.
5. Take some time to thank the ones that have made this first year so much more wonderful!
Because, really...it takes a village!
Each of our guests were greeted with a small gift....a Shutterfly book of Elle's first year highlights along with a letter thanking them for all that they've done to make this the best year of our lives!
I wanted to be purposeful in making this day - not just about Elle- but about the appreciation we feel towards all that love her so well.
As I heard one of my favorite authors- Shauna Niequist- say at a conference a few weeks ago:
"When people leave your home, the heart of hospitality is for them to feel better about themselves and not better about you."
Because at the end of the day, it was never about the decorations, the cake, the food, or even the budget...it was about creating a warm space for those who love our daughter so well to be appreciated, to be loved, and to be nourished.
THAT is what made this day special!
Well, that....and this sweet thing:
Happy Party Planning!