Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ethan's Yellow and Orange 1st Birthday Party

After months of preparation, I can proudly say that Ethan's party was a huge success! I'm so excited to share all of the pictures and details with you all! I know people might wonder why in the world I would do all of this for a one year old that will never remember the party, so I'll go ahead and demystify you! Simply, I think that the first year is a huge year full of changes both for the little one, the parents and other close family members. I wanted to celebrate everything that has happened as well as thank all of our close friends and family for their help and support they've provided during Ethan's first year of life.

Party Details

When I started thinking about Ethan's first birthday party I knew I had to include his favorite colors, yellow and orange. I also knew I wanted to make most everything by hand because that's the way I show my love and oh what love I have for this little one! I decided not to include any other sort of character/theme for simplicity and besides, at one he's really not interested in much besides lots and lots of milk! I'm sure there will be numerous character themed parties in our very near future. 

Even though he has a fall birthday, I kept the main colors bright and happy balanced by the neutral tones of Kraft paper and burlap accents. I found a lot of my inspiration through Pinterest and just had to try my hand at the colorful poms and pennant banners. I found scrapbook paper on sale at local craft stores as well as I stocked up on the perfectly colored tissue paper and ribbon. I also was determined to have some sort of photo backdrop. This is where 300 balloons and a couple of lucky family members came in!

I made the invitations using Microsoft Word, Kraft paper and card stock. I also made address label wraps again using my own computer and label paper. I ordered stamps from the USPS to match the color theme (God forbid something clash!). One of the most mentioned decor items was the set of photo strips hung behind the lemonade bar. Super simple and cheap to do using curling ribbon and a hole punch.

Set the Table

I knew I wanted a sit down dinner for the party immediately, because that's just the way I do things. I borrowed tables and chairs from my mother-in-laws church and after looking at the cost of renting table linens, I decided it was more cost effective to buy my own. Honestly, it was the exact same cost and let's face it we've got a lot more birthday parties in our future so the investment will pay off. Also an investment...real plates. I found white plates at a local discount store for $2 a piece and just mixed those in with some I already owned. I also used my own silverware and borrowed lots and lots of white and clear glass serving pieces from my mom. The real stuff looks so much better than paper and plastic right? 

As for the table decor, I purchased a roll of Kraft paper from Amazon for the table runner and purchased the mason jars which doubled as my place cards from Target. I bought the striped straws, made my own name tags, tied a ribbon around them and declared them festive. After deciding I was maxed out on crafty projects I had my mom create my vision for the centerpieces. She used foam board to make the boxes and then covered it with left over fabric from Ethan's onesie and party hat. We used Spanish moss and florist foam to hold the lollipops in place. 

I made the cutlery packs based off an inspiration from Etsy. I almost caved and bought them but after finding out it was going to cost me $100 to buy the package that went with them I quickly reconsidered. So glad I did because it was so simple to do myself. I simply used printer paper, circle punches, leftover Kraft and construction paper, and a napkin to jazz it up. Simple and basically free!

Food, Drinks and Sweets

Again, I found it cheaper (but definitely not easier) to do everything myself when it came to all the food. My husband grilled two Boston Butts the day before the party and I slaved away at the rest of treats the whole week prior! Recipes for all the tasty treats and eats are linked below.
Can I just say I'll forever kick myself for not ironing all the burlap? 

One of my favorite parts of the party was the Lemonade Bar. I decided to offer lemonade and tea because they went with the color theme (tea can be considered orange right? Right.) I decided to amp up the fun factor by including mix-ins of various fruit, cranberry juice, as well as vodka and whisky for the adults. I bought wooden frames at a craft store for under a $1 a piece and printed recipes for mixing ideas including Vodka Collins and Whiskey Sours as well as Arnold Palmer and other non-alcoholic suggestions. I was if-y about including alcohol for a 1 year old's birthday party but most of the attendees were adults. I decided to mask the alcohol by putting them in pretty glass swing top bottles so the Lemonade Bar didn't scream...well..bar.

The Birthday Boy and Friends

Ethan had 4 little friends in attendance all 2 and under. I knew they would probably be happy just running around outside and really that's mostly what they did! I put together simple favor boxes using items from the Target $1 aisle. I made sure to include bubbles so parents had entertainment options. I also had some sidewalk chalk outside, but the kids had too much fun playing with each other and taking wagon rides to even notice! I also had empty boxes for the adults to take home leftover treats for their favors because I certainly didn't want to get stuck with all the leftovers!

As for Ethan's outfits I had a dressy longall made from an Etsy seller for his traditional one year session photos and my mom made a onesie for him to wear at the party. I crafted a party hat using left over fabric, felt, and tissue paper. One regret is that I totally forgot to put it on him for his cake smash. Oh well. He probably wouldn't have kept it on anyways!


eFavorMart - Tablecloths
Oriental Trading Company - Lollipops
Garnish - Favor Boxes
The Party Fairy - Striped Straws
The Royal Princess - Ethan's Longall
JHenderson Studios - Photographer


Homemade Marshmallows
Melt in your Mouth Mints
Roasted Banana Cupcakes - Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
White Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
Fresh Orange Cake with Apricot Mousse
Swiss Meringue Buttercream


  1. Wow that came out great!! You are very creative!! And I bet you saved so much money as well!! He is adorable!!

  2. I LOVE it! Your attention to detail is so amazing. You did such a great job momma!
    I am totally freaking out about Giada's party now that we're on the eve of it. I can honestly say that I have all the plans in my head, but nothing actually done yet. My heart is in my throat as I type.
    And... Love all your banners. You can teach me how to make them any time you wish :-)

  3. You really did a great job with the party. All that planning and hard work you did definitely paid off! We had a great time celebrating Ethan's 1st birthday. I love the black and white pic of him eating cake. Congrats on such a successful party!

  4. Wow! Amazing! You left no detail left behind. And the photographer did a great job!

  5. WOW - looks like a great party! So much work that totally paid off in the end! Love it!

  6. Great post! Thanks so much for letting me be a part of Ethan's big day!

  7. Good grief! That's one of the prettiest parties I've ever seen. :) Gorgeous photos, too. I love his little monogrammed outfit!

  8. What a beautiful party!! Looks like such a magical day:). All of the decorations, food, and entertainment was lovely and I adore Ethan's little outfit!!!

  9. Wow, wow, wow! You did an amazing job girl! Your work certainly paid off.

  10. MY GOODNESS this all looks AMAZING! You did such a good job! I love all the details! Those cupcakes?! OMG can I have one? I don't mind if it's smashed and stale by the time it gets here!

  11. Such a cute party!
    You did a great job with the decorations.
    I love E's outfit too :)

  12. Wow!!! What a crafty creative Momma you are! This may be the cutest first birthday party I have ever seen. I love all the little details like the balloons along the fence the mason jars...the cake the bunting!! Amazing!!

  13. Can I just say how incredibly impressed I am?? No wonder you've been so busy! I was wanting to do something small for Donut's birthday but now I may reconsider, lol!

    I love how you made the pennants. Do you have a tutorial for those?

  14. You are SO my creative hero ma'am! Everything is just beautiful and perfect! And his little teeth are really cute, particularly in the pictures where he is all out cheesin!

  15. WOW! That was amazing! I am so jealous of your party-planning skills... And those photos are just incredible! What a great day for your little man! :)

  16. You did an absolutely FABULOUS job on his party!! I don't know where to start. SO I love the fact that you just did a color scheme and kept it "simple". Haha well as simple as 300 balloons can be. The lemonade bar is an awesome idea and the dessert table looks fabulous! And honestly, I didn't even notice the wrinkle in burlap til you said something.

    Everything was executed perfectly and the photos show you guys having such a great time, which is clearly the most important thing!

  17. I am speechless, Laura. You did such an amazing job on everything!! I mean seriously girl, you said you'd been working on his party, but this is insane! When I'm looking for tips come March I'll be sending you emails :)

    I can't even pick my favorite thing, it might be the lemonade bar, or the burlap or the table settings...it's all so GOOD!!

  18. Lady, YOU OUTDID YOURSELF. Holy CRAP woman. you are amazing!

  19. Wow you did an amazing job! I hope I can have a party like this with homemade things for Emma's first birthday party.

  20. I am so impressed with all you did! I don't know how you pulled it off...I'm lucky I got myself to order invitations and party supplies for Tommy's party in plenty of time so I could get them in the mail and have everything in plenty of time! And then I still ran out the day before for some last minute stuff since we ended up with more people than I expected! Everything looks amazing!!

  21. I was not expecting all of this! Wow. Look at you, Miss Party Planner! What a great job!

  22. Wow! Very impressive! You are so creative. Looks like it was the perfect day!

  23. Love everything you did for this party!! All the details are just perfect. What a sweet & simple party with amazing details....love the dessert tables & background! Great job!

  24. holy cow. i am in awe. you did an AMAZING job!!!! what a special day!!

  25. Adorable party! Love all the details! Also, his cake looks awesome!

  26. Laura, this birthday party is AMAZING!! I love how much thought you put into everything, and especially how YOU did everything yourself! All of the decorations are SO cute - especially all of the pictures behind the lemonade stand and the pom poms and bunting. The cake is gorgeous and the food looks delicious. And I love how creative you got with the lemonade bar! This was an amazing party and I"m glad it's going to get featured somewhere - you deserve it! P.S. When we have kids can I please hire you to throw all of the parties?? :)

  27. Wow! What an awesome looking party! Great job! And is that Natalie & Nolan I spy?

    I have to admit, I have seen pictures of parties on Pinterest and thought "No one really has parties like this." Now I know they do.

  28. Amazing!!!! My favorites are the Lemonade Bar (totally stealing this idea in the future!!!) and the longalls. Seriously, those are the cutest thing I have EVER seen. Love the way you did the monogram. I hope everyone had a wonderful time- you put SO much work into this!!!

  29. So I'm planning J's birthday and trying to decide about printables. Did you make all of your signs and banners? Because they look amazing and I need tips! Please :)


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