Today, I am taking a trip down memory lane to one of the most fun parties I have ever thrown- my son Grady’s first birthday “paw-ty.” Looking back now, I am in awe of the time I had to plan and create all of the sweet details that made this party come to life, but man, I am glad I did, because it was so doggone cute!
I am the first to admit that planning a birthday party can feel overwhelming to the point of nixing it all together and having the family over for some store bought cake and ice cream. Sometimes that is absolutely the best option (and Publix birthday cake is my favorite dessert by the way), but if you can muster up the energy and time for a full-blown celebration, it sure is fun in the moment and the looking back at the pictures will undoubtedly bring a smile.
To make life a little easier, I will share my strategy for birthday party planning and for the icing on the cake, all of the paper products I designed for this party are available from Jack Paper Co. to make your birthday paw-ty dreams come true.
Pick a theme. For my children, the themes have come easy. From day one, Grady has loved dogs and was obsessed with our yellow lab, Sally. Okay, so that wasn’t too hard- dog theme – check!
Pick and send the invitation. I know I am a little biased, but this step is the most important! I believe the invitation sets the theme of the entire party. Let it act as the map, the instruction manual, the strict guidelines! Once the invitation is finalized, I stick to it for colors, images, and the overall feel of the party.
The outfits! Aside from the invitation, picking out the birthday outfit is my favorite detail of party planning. Lucky for me, there is the cutest children’s store right around the corner from me and the owner happens to be a close friend. I tend to pick a solid and have a few of the images from the invitation hand embroidered. Alternatively, I will design the invitation based on the outfit (in that case, outfit first, invites second)! As my son is getting older, I know these days are numbered, but with a little searching the right outfit always awaits.
Book the Cake, Balloons, Food, and any Vendors. I like to send a copy of my invitation when booking the cake and also when matching the color of the balloons. If you are booking a bounce house or waterslide, you will get an A+++ for color coordination! Let’s just say, I like to get everyone on the same page.
Shop for the decor. Oh happy day! I love taking a look around Hobby Lobby and Michaels for napkins and paper products in the same color theme as the invitation. Sometimes I am super tempted to buy related items – for example anything dog themed – but this can easily steer you away from the look of your invitation and the vibe of your party. When I am really on my game, I will stick a copy of the invitation in my bag to consult or pull up the electronic version on my phone when I am out and about and see something that may work. Remember, always consult the instruction manual – the invitation – before buying!
If life got in the way of thinking about extras when you were ordering your invitations, now is a good time to finalize those details. Who doesn’t love a matching treat-bag tag, water bottle labels, cupcake toppers, food tent cards, thank you notes… and the list goes on! Jack Paper Co. is here for you to pull of those special details together.
One thing in particular that I love to plan, is the entrance for the party. Aim to make things memorable and most importantly, exciting. Add a few coordinating signs leading your guests to the correct entrance if your party is outside, set up a bubble machine at the gate, hang a balloon arch (I just did my first one this year and they are much easier to assemble more affordable than they look, FYI), and the list goes on!
Assemble what you can ahead of time. Everyone knows the set up time before a party goes by in the blink of any eye. I am always hanging the darn banner that never made it up when my first guest arrives- blast! Therefore, I should heed my own advice and get as much done ahead of time as possible. Assemble the balloon arch the night before, get out the serving pieces you plan to use, place all that you can out so it is party ready… you get the idea.
Day of Set up + Enjoy the party. Get that final banner hung and enjoy the party! Don’t forget to take lots of pictures because the memory will certainly be worth all of your efforts.
Vendors // Invitations and Paper Accessories: Jack Paper Co. // Cake: The Southern Gourmet // Outfit: Araluz with custom hand embroidery