Robinson's birthday party was a big success! I was very touched by the excellent turnout...
"Uncle" Bean: [scanning the room filled with wall-to-wall people] This is a lot [of people]. I was not expecting this.
Me: I know! I can't believe so many people came out today!
Uncle Bean: How many people did you invite?
Bean: Why did you do that?
Me: [quietly] I don't know. I didn't think anybody would come.
I don't know why I have this anxiety that nobody is ever coming to my parties. We are very fortunate to have lots of people who love us, and they all fought the oppressive heat to travel to our little corner of Texas to celebrate our baby boy's first birthday.
This was obviously my first time planning a child's birthday party, and let me just say that even the simple cake and punch home parties today are vastly more elaborate than when I was growing up. I began brainstorming and planning Rob's party way back in January, and it's a good thing I did, because it took a long time to make all this stuff and to get an education in Children's Party Planning in the Year 2011. I have to credit sites like Catch My Party and numerous blogs and sites where I researched and found inspiration in planning Rob's shindig. I feel like I ought to share some of what I learned here on my blog since I learned so much from the dozens of blogs I read. Pay it forward, right?
The party had a vintage toy theme and a red and aqua color scheme. My inspiration? The invitations:
I found them on Etsy!
I turned the entry table into a display for vintage and retro toys and books. I "shopped my house", though I did have lofty ideas about a Classic Sock Monkey, jacks, marbles, yo-yo's, jump ropes and a Slinky. Ultimately, I chose to concentrate my party budget on the food instead of buying toys. And check out the photo collage that's hanging in the spot usually reserved for my bridal portrait. Do those pics look familiar? They are the monthly "Rob and Laney" photos arranged chronologically in a Shutterfly collage poster. I also replaced other wall decor throughout the house with framed portraits of Rob. You know, so everyone knows that it's all about Robinson.Amy Atlas on the Today show talking about creating dessert tables for holiday parties last year, I have been itching to create a dessert table. I had never heard of them before, but I suddenly felt that they were absolutely crucial to the success of a party.
- Identify a color palette to use throughout the table
- Create a backdrop. Mine is foam board covered in gift wrap, but there are loads of other clever and creative ideas. A Google Image search is a great place to start looking.
- Use a tablecloth. Aesthetically, the tablecloth was more important than I originally thought.
- Use risers to create a height variation. Dessert tables where all items are placed flat on the table look a little "off". This riser was created using a giftwrapped box, but I've seen professional tables that use polystyrene blocks, acrylic blocks or risers...you're really limited only by your imagination and your financial resources. Mostly your financial resources.
- Create a symmetrical presentation. I've seen tables with a more varied presentation, with varieties of candies and sweets on pedestal stands and in jars, and it looks terrific. If you're a dessert table novice like me, and don't already have all the serving platters and pieces, it can get expensive in a hurry if you're trying to duplicate an elaborate display seen on designer blogs and in magazines. I had all sorts of cute ideas, mostly involving red rope licorice, blue sour straws, custom M&Ms, and apothecary jars. But guess how expensive it is to collect a half-dozen large apothecary jars and 20 pounds of candy to fill them? Very. Think in the hundreds of dollars, and you better be careful you don't buy old, gnarly candy from some wholesale candy warehouse unloading old product. Guess who can't eat candy? The birthday boy and most of his friends. Guess who won't eat candy? The health conscious adults who composed the majority of my guests. I loved the idea, but ultimately decided to pass on candy this year.
For all my planning, I wasn't quite sure what to do besides make sure everybody had a beverage and that all children who locked themselves in the bathroom were rescued. About an hour into the party, I asked one of the guests, a father of three, "What do I do? Cake, then presents?" Turns out you do presents. Then cake. This is what Robinson wanted to do while we were opening presents:
Could these sweet girls be any more excited to open these gifts?
All the beautiful photos in this post were taken by Angie. Thanks, girl! It was great to be able to enjoy the party, mingle with guests and be "in the moment" without having to sacrifice having photos. Plus your camera is bad-ass, and you're highly skilled and loaded with talent.
We had a wonderful day. Thanks to everyone who helped make Robinson's day extra special, and for being so wonderful throughout the year! We love y'all! Already thinking about next year...