{TWO} Adventurous – a Practical, “Woodlands” Birthday Party

{TWO} Adventurous – a Practical, “Woodlands” Birthday Party

Let’s face it – when you’re hosting any kind of party, you want your vision and personality to shine through in every detail. You have guests coming, after-all, and that’s really who you’re trying to impress.

 

Before I had my daughter, I never really understood why anyone would plan extravagant parties for their 1 or 2 year olds. I mean, the kid isn’t even going to remember anything about it when they’re older, right? But, you know who will remember their experience? All of your friends and family in attendance!

 

I’m pretty sure anyone who’s been around a baby or toddler has witnessed the simplicity of entertaining and otherwise complex child. Put an empty water bottle and a fancy $50 toy in front of them and, 9 times out of 10, they’re going in for that piece of recyclable “gold.”

 

I say all of this to prove that I now understand why we plan kids parties like we’re small-scale wedding planners. The child is going to be satisfied and have a great time no matter what, but it’s up to you to make sure you provide an outstanding experience for your guests.

 

Luckily for you, everything down to the tiniest of details can be customized and delivered right to your door!!! This is possible thanks to the collaboration of Lauren Gilmore (me!), owner of Southern Girl Couture in Tallahassee, Florida, and Ann-Marie Appiah, owner of A.M.A. Experience in Atlanta, Georgia. Together, we turn your vision into reality.

 

For this particular party, I had a personal goal: implementing decorations and details that could be reused. I accomplished this and I was extremely satisfied with the results. My daughter, Grayson, and all of our friends and family had a great time. So, now you’re invited to an inside look at our woodlands adventure party!

 

VENUE: Our house! I might add that we pulled off the whole look INSIDE of our kitchen! The weather was touch-and-go, so we made the last-minute decision to host the party indoors, instead of on our deck outside like we had originally planned. Keep in mind that this was also 2 days after Hurricane Hermine hit us here in Tallahassee. We were one of the VERY FEW homes in the whole city that never lost power! So we also quickly realized that our guests would be thankful to seek refuge in the air conditioning during the party. It all worked out perfectly and went off without a hitch inside. It’s really important to be flexible and have a backup plan on venues and settings because some things, like the weather, are COMPLETELY out of your control.

 

THEME: The woodlands theme came into play for a couple of reasons: 1) Grayson’s bedroom has a girly adventure theme 2) Our home has a southern chic vibe and 3) My business logo contains elements of the woodlands. With all of these things taken into account, I knew I would have plenty of options for repurposing/displaying new decor even after the party was over.

 

INVITES: Alright, I’ll admit it…I wasn’t the most on-top of things this year with planning in advance for the birthday party. Things were put together in a 2 week timeframe, so the invites consisted of individual text messages to each guest about a week before the party once we nailed down all the details. Don’t worry – we may not have sent official invitations, but we absolutely sent “thank you” cards out promptly!

 

FOOD: We had a group of about 20 adults present during this dinnertime party, so we made sure to have a good assortment of food and drinks available to please everyone. Due to the limited time frame we were working with, custom cake/cookie orders were really pushing it for us this time. So we went old-school and made our own cupcakes. The birthday girl approved! For dinner, we had a turkey & zucchini sliders, meatballs, sausages, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, deviled eggs and kettle chips. To make things easier on the day of the party, we cut all of the fruit and veggies up the night before and mixed together all of the ingredients for the turkey & zucchini sliders. When you’re making the food yourself, most of the time involved is in the prepping, so if there is something you can knock out the day before – do it! For drinks, it’s always a good idea to take into account WHO you are serving. We had mostly all adults at this party, with a mixture of alcohol drinkers and non-drinkers. We were able to please everyone by serving water, sweet tea, and lemonade, along with a bottles of wine and beer that we displayed in a bucket of ice. It was important to us to make everyone feel comfortable and have options that appealed to each of them. That’s definitely something guests appreciate and notice.

 

THE DETAILS/DECOR: Aside from having a woodlands theme, we kept things in a simple, but sweet, girly color scheme: Pink, gold, mint/teal, coral and anything glittery. We used normal party items, like colored paper plates, clear plastic cups, colored napkins, plastic utensils and plastic table cloths. Of course, we incorporated our color scheme into all of those items. As a gift, Grayson was given an awesome Tee-Pee from her godmother, Erin. We used this special gift as an addition to the decor – setting it up in the family room to house all of the gift bags. It was perfect for the party and Grayson loves using the tee-pee in her room now!

 

In order to spruce things up a bit, I added themed and color-coordinated vinyl decals to several items. I turned simple dessert plates into monogrammed masterpieces, boring clear cups into creative and colorful concoction holders, and who needs a plain old toothpick when you can have a fancy food-pick instead! I even used small vinyl flower decals to make napkin/fork sets. Everyone has been guilty of going through the food line and not realizing until the very end that they either forgot their silverware or forgot to grab a napkin. I hate when that happens and you have to awkwardly maneuver back through the line, explaining “oops, I forgot my napkin” along the way. I wanted to make things simpler for my guests, plus it was just one more way to decorate and make things cute! I used labels next to all food and drink items to keep my guests from having to guess what they were eating. We hung an adorable burlap pennant banner above the food spread that read “HAPPY BIRTHDAY.” That banner can now be used for any birthday gathering! We found a cute little deer sculpture that can be used for years to come as decoration at any craft show I attend and even in our house as decoration during Christmas time. We even went out into my backyard and cut fresh greenery to enhance the woodlands look. All of these little additions added the “wow-factor” that would have otherwise been lacking!

 

Being able to use decals to customize products is a HUGE game-changer in the party scene. No longer are you limited to the pre-packaged, generic “themes” in the party aisles. You now have infinite possibilities when it comes to themes – for all ages and all genders! Not only can you have any theme you want, but being able to apply the theme yourself in the form of decals means that you can customize any products you want to use for your party/party favors. Best of all is that your event planning and product needs can be met all at once thanks to the collaboration of Southern Girl Couture and A.M.A. Experience. Don’t spend more money buying single items from individual companies, waiting on 10 packages to arrive from 10 different places. Save yourself time, money and headaches – get everything done in one place. No matter where you live, you’re guaranteed to get your order in time for your event!

 

Thanks for enjoying my baby girls birthday party with me all over again! It’s bittersweet watching her grow up so fast. I hope I’ve inspired and enlightened you by revealing that your ideas for themed events are ALWAYS achievable.

 

Personalize and Party on, y’all!

XO, Lauren

 

CREDITS:

  • Themed Decor Ideas: A.M.A Experience & Southern Girl Couture
  • Food/Ingredients/Beverages: Publix
  • Paper Plates/Napkins/Utensils: Hobby Lobby & Target
  • Gold Birthday Candles: Target
  • Table Cloths/Clear Cups: Hobby Lobby
  • Clear Balloons w/Gold Polka Dots and Grayson’s Outfit: Harper Hill Kids Boutique
  • Deer Sculpture: Hobby Lobby
  • Custom Burlap Banner: Southern Girl Couture
  • Custom Themed Food Picks: Southern Girl Couture
  • Custom Cupcake Toppers: Southern Girl Couture
  • Custom Food Labels: Southern Girl Couture
  • Custom Vinyl Decals (seen on dessert plates, plastic cups, napkin/fork sets): Southern Girl Couture
  • Custom Burlap Tee-Pee w/Flower Crown: Poetry Tea (on Etsy)
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