Caroline's Whaley Fun Whale Themed 1st Birthday Party!

Here it is - long overdue, but finally here! All the nitty gritty details about Caroline's first birthday party.  I know you are going to get tired of hearing this but...it was really whaley fun.  :)

My friend, Amanda, said planning her son's first birthday party was like a physical love letter to her son, and I completely agree with that sentiment. (You can check out her "Hungry Little Caterpillar" party for her son here.  The cuteness was to die for!)  I know that some people think it is silly to spend the $$ and time to put together a big party for a 1 year old, but I want C to look back at these pictures and know that she was loved and cherished even before her little personality started shining through.  Plus, I wanted her party to be a (small) way to thank all of our friends and family for their support and help during C's first year.

My color scheme for the party was pink and aqua.  These were my inspiration photos:

Once we decided on the whale theme and determined that her great-aunt Janie's pool would be the location, I hit the ground running making plans, ordering things, and searching for craft and favor ideas. 

Once I found these invitations on Paper Culture, I was hooked!
The morning of the party, I had lots of helpers to set up.  It was a good thing, because we had a TON of work to do!

Here is the cake we ultimately ordered.  I just love it!  My sweet friend, Stefanie, makes fabulous cakes, and she made the whale smash cake, whale cupcake toppers, and nautical themed cookies (cookie cutters here).  

Didn't they just turn out great?  Props to my mom and dad for making 90 (yes, 90) cupcakes and to Stefanie for her whale artistry!

As for C, I think it is fair to say that she had a great time and was a little angel (in a smocked whale two-piece, to boot!).  We had the party at 3, and she woke up at 4, just in time to eat her cake and play with her friends.

Although now she loves sweets, she really wasn't into the cake much.  She was more interested in all the guests and watching her Ma and Mimi work hard to try to get her to eat some cake!

For decorations, I started with the awesome birthday banner, an "I am 1" sign, and an "It's a Party" sign from Bella Baby Toppings.  She did an INCREDIBLE job and matched my description of what I was wanting to what she created perfectly.  I am definitely going to use her again!  (I'm think that I might even be able to reuse most of both signs, but just change out the animal for Vivi's first birthday).  These items were a splurge, but I really think it tied the party together.

I wanted there to be a place where guests could chill and flip through pictures of C's first year.  I placed the favors (water guns, whale cookie cutters, and bundles of sidewalk chalk) alongside the homemade party hats (from Prudent Baby's tutorial here) with her baby books and scrapbooks.  I always enjoy looking at other people's scrapbooks, and I think it was a crowd-pleaser for my fellow sentimentals out there. :)

For the food, I wanted it to be filling, economical (we had about 50 guests), kid friendly, and heat resistant.  Memphis in August is no walk in the park, so we settled on a gourmet hot dog bar, fruit salad, chips and goldfish.  For drinks we had bottled water, lemonade, and kiwi-grape sangria (recipe here).

To show off my sweet Coco Bean (that's what the party is for, right?), I used prints from her birth, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th months, and strung them along the top of the drink station.  I made the anchor paper clips by spraying gluing pink and white striped scrapbook paper to the front of wooden anchors (from Michael's), then using an exacto knife to cut away the excess paper.  I hot glued wooden close-pins to the back.  It was a quick(ish) project, and I have been able to reuse the clothespins for all sorts of things (attaching cards to the front of gift bags, magnets, and entertaining C are the top three).

My mom stole the show with her whaley awesome watermelon fruit bowl.  Using videos and pictures from the web, she came up with this creation.  Yep, she is one talented lady!

The Salty Dog Bar was a hit - I looked up the different kinds of hot dogs that Sonic sells, and picked the top three which I thought had the most universal appeal:  the American, the Chicago, and the New Yorker.  Using more wooden craft whales from Michael's, I hot glued a clothespin to the back of the whale, pinched a stripey straw into the pin, and then made little signs describing what ingredients each kind of hot dog required.  The clothespins on the back of the whale could also allow photos to be displayed or bigger signs.  When I made these, I wasn't quite sure that they would be used for the food, so I made them as versatile as possible.  I think they turned out pretty cute!

For entertainment, the pool was the main event, but I also had a little ocean themed toss game and several baby pools for C's fellow non-swimmers.

One of my favorite parts of the party was the photo booth!  I got tons of cute props from Michael's in the foam party department, and made some funny signs.  We used the Instax mini cameras from UO, and asked people to clothes-pin their final photo to a couple of yards of twine for display.  After the party, the photos made a perfect memory/guestbook of C's big party.

I used yards and yards of seersucker for the backdrop, made a paper pennant bunting (tutorial here), and tacked it all up to the fence.  The fence showed in a bunch of the pictures, but I didn't care - I think it added to the "weathered/nautical" look, which was just fine with me.

I got the cute little chalkboard sign here, at Her Majesty's Pug.  It is now in our dining room, and has proved to be quite a versatile little decorative item!

I just love these hilarious photos.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful and fun-loving friends!

Our families traveled from McMinnville and Tulsa to be there.  Probably one of my favorite pictures is of the Knight's (usually very serious) dad and mom dressed up like a pirate and vision-impaired princess!  Another blessing was that our friend (and Amanda's husband), Luke, got to come.  Just a few weeks before, we weren't sure if he was going to make it after getting in a terrible wreck.  So thankful that he fully (I'd say miraculously) recovered, and was able to come with his family (pictured below, with crutches).

All in all, it was an absolutely perfect day.  I don't think I would change anything about the party, except maybe that I probably could have hired some helpers to keep the food and drink freshened, so the Knight, my mom, and me didn't have to do it.

Although Vivi's first birthday will be in the frigid cold of winter, I think we will have a blast planning it as well.  I'm already thinking about penguins, polar bears, and igloos.  Who knows what I'll come up with?!?

As for C, I'm thinking that next August will be a little more low-key, although it is hard to be low-key when we are talking flamingos!  Ha!  

Hope you enjoyed my ginormous post about C's first birthday.  If you have any questions about sources, shoot me an email at curtsies (at) gmail (dot) com or leave me a comment!

water gun squirts and pool party flirts,
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"Oh, Lucy!" said...

Love reliving the event by looking at the pictures...that was SSSSSSOOOOO much fun. And, as always, you are so wonderfully talented. Your girls are going to have such fun with you. Love you muchly...
Your mama.

Tiffany said...

Fantastic! The details were awesome and I love her cute tummy pics :)

Lil Mama Stuart said...

came from Spearmint baby. So cute and unique! I love PaperCulture too :) Check out my baby girl's Winter One-derland party here!

Luke & Amanda said...

I loved reliving the party with you and your lovely mama! It was such a perfect day...love our little coco bean! You have a wonderful eye for parties, and every detail was perfection. Love you, sweet friend!

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