Desmond’s Circus-Themed 1st Birthday Party featured on Kara’s Party Ideas!

I just happened to look at my blog’s stats yesterday…  And noticed a new referrer.  And clicked through.  And realized that Kara’s Party Ideas – one of my favorite party planning blogs – featured Desmond’s Circus-Themed 1st Birthday Party!!!  I just submitted it earlier this month and thought, “Well, it’s worth a shot!”  And they obviously liked it!!!  I.am.so.excited!!!!  Go check it out and leave us some love in the comments!!! 😉

"Come One, Come All, for One Night Only, the Amazing Desmond Will Astound and Mystify You!"

Thank you so much, Kara, for the awesome feature!!!

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The Amazing Desmond’s First Birthday Party!!!

Sometimes you meet people and you just know you’re going to be excellent friends with them.  It was that way the first time I met Desiree of Penny Blooms Floral Design.  I can hardly believe it was just two months before this incredible party!  This is a very photo-heavy post…  But it’s worth it because these photos by Lindsey Gage of Eyelet Images are totally worth drooling over!!!!

Circus Birthday Party, Photo by Lindsey Gage

Desiree’s son Desmond celebrated his first birthday at the end of August.  When you’re the son of an event professional, your birthday party is sure to be a blast!  Sure enough, Desiree’s amazing creativity shone through each and every bit of this gorgeously styled outdoor event, from the handpainted circus elephant cupcake tower topper to the multicolored fabric streamers decorating the tents to the popcorn box “vases.”  I was honored to be print materials designer and to assist Desiree with setup, coordination, and styling!

The Birthday Boy!

It all started with the circus idea.  When Desiree approached me about doing invitations for the party, I asked her if she’d rather have a cutesy or modern/edgy vibe.  She chose modern/edgy, so I worked on a text-heavy invitation that captured perfectly the whimsy and creativity we were going for (if I do say so myself!).  Designers are always cautioned to stick to no more than 2 to 3 fonts in a single page, but I had far too much fun mixing and matching, and threw caution to the wind.  I love it!

"Come One, Come All, for One Night Only, the Amazing Desmond Will Astound and Mystify You!"

The Amazing Desmond!

Of course the party wouldn’t have been as stunning without thoughtful details provided by Penny Blooms Floral Design!  She even had a ball pit and a mini big top, along with a photo booth area for the grownups!

Handpainted elephant by Penny Blooms Floral Design

Peanut boxes

Popcorn box

Handmade PLAY blanket

"Popcorn" Floral Arrangement by Penny Blooms

Ringmaster Suit in the Ball Pit

Favors in Pop Corn Bags

Photo Booth (can you spot my piece?)

I couldn’t resist bringing along a few of my favorite items too:

Vintage Brass Carousel Music Box (in my inventory at Events by Elisa!)

Handmade Photo Booth Props from Events by Elisa's Etsy Shop!

The food was provided by the incredible Jason.  He’s currently working on his catering business name (I’ll post it when it’s official!) but I’ve got to tell you that this guy is worth checking out.  I can’t wait to share when he’s ready to take on clients, because  in addition to being a really nice guy, his food was fabulous!

Pasta Salad with Printed Materials by Events by Elisa

Cupcakes and cake pops were provided by Nikki at Calculated Whisk.  She even made gluten-free flourless cupcakes (which totally made my day)!  And they were soooo good.

Cupcakes by Calculated Whisk

Cupcakes by Calculated Whisk

Lion and Popcorn Cake Pops by Calculated Whisk

Nicki also made a spectacular smash cake just for Desmond!

Elephant Smash Cake by Calculated Whisk

In addition to designing the invitations, I designed a bunch of additional signage for the party.  Like these:

The Amazing Desmond sign for his high chair

High Chair sign by Events by Elisa

Soda Sign by Events by Elisa

And this was probably my favorite sign to design:

Thank You Sign by Events by Elisa

Of course I can’t have a first birthday post without some cake smashing photos!

Cake Smashing Begins!

This is FUN!

Tasting the Fondant Elephant

Tiny Fingers!

YUM!

THANK YOU Desiree for letting me be a part of your handsome son’s special day, and thank you to all the amazing vendors we worked with!

Thank You!

Get This Hat Offa Me! :)

Vendors:

Custom Wedding “Cirque” Poster

I wish I could have done two things at once this past weekend – I would have coordinated this wedding in addition to being the Matron (eep) of Honor!  At any rate, I was able to help out with a lot of the crafts (and have a renewed love for paper mache!) and design the basic printed materials.  Unfortunately as I had other duties, I didn’t have a chance to photograph the bar menu and info tags, or the hand-made domes the bride so painstakingly painted.  But a friend of the bride sent me these two excellent photos (better than anything I took!) of the Welcome and Photo Zone posters I made as a special gift for the bride.  They measured 20×30″ and were mounted on foam core and brought a lot of fun to the party!

The design is all original – from the scroll to the tent, all made with a few (okay, a lot) clicks of my mouse.  I love the look, too – a sort of vintage circus poster in the Cirque du Soleil colors (the bride’s cocktail hour had a Cirque theme)!

Welcome to Cirque du Cabaza - Events by Elisa

Welcome to Cirque du Cabaza - Events by Elisa

Cirque du Cabaza Photo Zone Instructions - Events by Elisa

Cirque du Cabaza Photo Zone Instructions - Events by Elisa

Any Ideas? – What Will Our Activities Be?

This sort of ties in with the audience question, above.  What activities are you planning for the guests at your event?  This can be a big space consideration, especially at a wedding, where dancing is typically expected. Do you have enough space for your activities?  Do you have a clearly defined space for them, or will you have to clear away one part of the party to make room for another?

Whether you’re throwing a wedding, birthday party, or shower, how will you entertain your guests?  Board games?  Charades?  Shower games?  Scrapbooking?  Photo booths?  Will you make a wishing tree, or use a traditional guestbook, or paint onesies?  Will you start a massive game of capture the flag, or decorate cookies, or play beer pong?

When you start thinking about party themes, your party activities may or may not heavily feature in the planning process.  But unless you know how your guests will spend their time, the details of your theme will be murky.

Again, I like to use examples, so here goes:

Sack Races

Sack Races

Say I’m asked to plan out a party.  The honoree likes my “Born on the Fourth of July” inspiration board, so I’m working with a red, white, and blue palette and going for an old-fashioned feel.  If the activities for the day included a sack race and a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, the party would have a very different overall feeling than if guests spent their time creating ice cream sundaes, or if they pulled taffy by hand or played a Tiddly Winks tournament.  These would all be pretty standard Victorian-era party activities, consistent with the theme of the party, but would yield dramatically different results with your overall party theme.

Tiddly Winks

Tiddly Winks

Even at a wedding, a careful planner will consider what the guests will be doing.  Will there be a large enough dance floor for everyone?  Is there a photo booth?  A fun guest book?  A sweets table or candy bar?  A slide show?  Trading card favors?  Or are your guests more of the “stand around and enjoy each other’s company” variety?

Keeping guests busy at a party is one of the hardest jobs for any planner; it involves a thorough knowledge of your party space and your audience, and (hopefully) a good deal of thought.  We’ve all been to parties where we were bored to tears (or worse, uncomfortable with strange getting-to-know-you games that didn’t make a lot of sense).  Tying your theme and your activities together helps you to have a clearer picture of what your guests will be doing, and helps your guests to better enjoy your careful planning.

Photo credits: Book Drum, Object Lessons.

Inspiration: Born on the Fourth of July

I was at Disneyland on Tuesday (and, um, I’m going back tomorrow for a bachelorette party…  no, I didn’t plan it that way) and walking down Main Street U.S.A. started getting my creative juices going.  I created this inspiration board for an old-fashioned Fourth-of-July party that would also be appropriate for a summer birthday or wedding.  I can imagine serving a beautiful picnic lunch and making homemade ice cream in a vintage hand-crank ice cream maker (ok, actually, that would be really difficult, as cool as it would look!), and listening to a Barbershop Quartet or an old-fashioned band.   The perfect setting for this party would be a pretty green park – especially if there were a gazebo where you could hang the bunting!

Born on the Fourth of July Inspiration Board - Events by Elisa

Born on the Fourth of July Inspiration Board - Events by Elisa

Image credits (clockwise, from top left): Bliss Weddings Market, 4 In a Bar, Giggleberry Creations, Bouquet Bridal, Elizabeth Anne Designs, The Darling Bee, Jasperdo’s Flickr Stream, My Finer Consigner, North 60’s Flickr Stream, Events Wholesale, Pool and Patio.