When you plan kids’ parties for a living, and have even written a book called “Stylish Kids’ Parties”, there is a lot of pressure to “wow” when it comes to your own child’s birthday. I’ve been planning other people’s kids’ parties for almost 6 years now, so I was thrilled to finally be able to design one for my own! This birthday was bittersweet in a lot of ways. I had so much fun planning the party to celebrate my little man, but yet felt a little sadness that I am sure all parents can relate to – my baby is growing up and this first year flew by in such a flash. I really wish there was a way to stop time, just for a little while. But, alas, there is not – so a celebration was in order!
Since Daniel’s birthday falls the end of October, I knew I wanted the theme to reflect the season, be held outdoors at our local park’s amazing pavilion, and have a classic, timeless theme that I wouldn’t look back upon and cringe 20 years from now. So, the “Apple of our Eye” theme was born and I chose to design a new collection around a red, green and black & white color palette.
We are so fortunate to live in a community with amazing parks and facilities. This little stone and shingle house sits in our favorite park and served as the perfect location for the party. It was a WINDY day. You’ll notice that from some of the pictures! All of my food tent cards and tags were literally flying around the park and eventually just had to be removed. Linens would fly up occasionally, balloons would go wild. But we had fun!
I decorated the picnic tables with solid colored linens, and custom-made toppers. I alternated the toppers between our mod apple pattern fabric and a bold, black and white buffalo check fabric that I found at IKEA. I had them all edged in a green pom pom trim to tie together the look. Each table held a white ceramic bushel basket full of either wheat grass or apples, with a 36″ red balloon from Shop Sweet Lulu soaring above.
The main focal point of the pavilion is a big stone fireplace, so I filled that with large tissue paper balls in red, white and green and placed a chalkboard poster I designs of all of Daniel’s “stats” (how big he is, how many teeth he has, his favorite foods, book, things to do, etc). And then I also designed a poster that sat on an easel featuring his monthly photos so everyone could see how much he had changed over the year.
We had a special time capsule box where guests could write Daniel a note, or draw him a picture (he had a lot of little cousins there to help him celebrate) and place it in the box to be opened on his 18th birthday.
We set up one long table for food & drinks, and tried to keep it all very “picnic in the park”. A drink dispenser with apple cider, water bottles with coordinating labels, and juice boxes for the kids. Big “1” stickers adorned the cups, and striped straws were accessorized with “Daniel turns 1″ foil-stamped straw flags. I also had red beverage napkins floating around for drinks and desserts that were stamped with an apple logo in a white matte foil. You know me, little touches here and there to brand the party!
The food and drink buffet was dressed in a red tablecloth and we used all-white serving dishes to really make the delicious food pop off the table. Since I knew it would be windy, I decided to forgo the traditional food tent cards, and used chalkboard stands as labels.
The main centerpiece was one of my favorite decor items from the party. I had dreamed it up in my head and wasn’t sure it would actually work (or look good) until I assembled it that day. But, I loved how it turned out and hope you do too. I used a big white urn, embellished with an apple centerpiece cling, and placed a styrofoam wreath form on top, before placing a white mums plant into it. Skewered apples were then inserted into the wreath form until I made it full and the flowers were kind of sitting on the apples. I love that it’s a touch sophisticated, and yet playful all at the same time!
Signage and napkin ties helped to brand our table with the apple theme. To make it simple for our guests, I placed the stack of plates and silverware rolls all in one basket for an easy grab.
As I mentioned above, I wanted to keep the menu very “picnic in the park”, so we included deviled eggs, fresh fruit, potato salad, sandwiches, little bags of chips, a fall cobb salad, and little cups of applesauce for the kids (embellished with a coordinating sticker and cute red spoons, of course). I dressed up plastic condiment bottles with red labels so we didn’t have different bottles messing up my color-coordinated table. 😉
The playground at the park kept the children VERY busy, but we did also have two games for them to play. A ring toss game that I made to coordinate with the party (I spray-painted wine bottles red and green and placed them in an embellished basket), and a potato sack race that got a lot of giggles (especially when my husband got in on the action!).
The dessert table served as one of the focal parts of the party space and I had a lot of fun pulling it all together. I anchored the table in a black tablecloth and our custom-printed fabric backdrop. If you look closely, you will see that a few of the leaves on the backdrop are three dimensional – I glued felt leaves on it to make it “pop!”
Desserts included a birthday cake and smash cake from our local bakery, Deerfield’s Bakery. Side note: every birthday cake I have ever had + my wedding cake came from Deerfield’s. It’s a tradition that I am so happy to pass down to my son! Daniel’s smash cake was embellished with a darling fondant apple made for me by Edible Details.
Caramel apples, apple cupcakes, mini rice krispy treats, and brownie bites topped with gingham and striped toppers from Edible Details, personalized sugar cookies from Flourish Sweet Shop, chocolate-covered oreos with cute little apples on top from Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique, and apple pie caramels from Firefly Confections. It was a tasty line-up, my friends!
I also had a couple jars of candy from Candywarehouse.com: sour apple gumballs, red licorice wheels, and colorful bubblegum crayons that were a hit with the kiddos!
Food tent cards, candy jar tags, and coordinating Cake Plate Clings helped tie everything together, and I had little red striped bags with stickers on them for the kids to fill up with candy to bring home.
This was Daniel’s very first taste of sweets and he was a little unsure about the cake smash. He also had about 15 little cousins cheering him on and was slightly overwhelmed. But once we helped him with a little lick of frosting – he certainly enjoyed it!
In keeping with our theme, I sent each of our guests home with a caramel apple (full of red, green and white sprinkles) tied with black and white gingham ribbon and a gift tag.