And just like that… our baby boy is ONE! It kind of feels like the longest and the shortest year of my life, and also one of the hardest and the best. I guess that is just what motherhood is- all of the highs, all of the lows, and all of the love.
Our little Luca deserved a party fit for a King (in case you didn’t know, his middle name is King). A ‘King’ theme was really the only theme idea I generated that I felt inspired by. I scrolled through Pinterest and didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I just came up with some original ideas for the party. There was a point where I was questioning the party theme but in the end, I am so pleased with how it all came together!
I started with the colour palette of gold/champagne and natural/Kraft paper. I find selecting a colour palette to begin with helps provide some direction when sourcing out decorations. My friend and co-worker Ashleigh of Pink Peony handmakes pretty banners and party decor, so I had her create party crowns for all the guests to wear instead of party hats. She also designed a custom crown & name banner for the table which fit with the decor perfectly and provided the finishing touch to the tablescape.
At Bella’s first birthday, I had a framed ‘milestone’ poster of all her stats (size, skills, favourite things, etc.) and found our guests really enjoyed taking a look at it during the party. I searched Etsy for a milestone poster for Luca, but could not find one that fit our style or the theme of the party. So I reached out to Kimberful Designs, a Regina-based girl who creates beautiful and creative printables. She had made Bella a Preschool Memory Book, which I love. I was so pleased with the custom milestone poster she created for Luca, it was definitely a talking point of the party. Check out her Etsy page to browse her adorable designs.
When I’ve attended first birthdays, one of my favourite things to do it check out all the photos from the babe’s first year and see how they’ve grown. I printed Luca’s monthly photos and displayed them on this perfect photo display. i was so happy when I found it- it worked perfectly! I was even thinking I could keep it up to display Bella’s art/crafts on! I noticed a lot of our guests gathering around the photos and checking out Luca’s pics, so I’m not the only one who liked it!
The showstopper of the party was definitely the stunning balloon arch constructed by my girl Crystal of Method Events (she’s the genius that helped me plan Bella’s Coachella party). I’m a big fan of balloon garlands but I do NOT have the patience to even blow up a couple balloons so I would never even consider trying to construct one of these things on my own. I sent Crystal a photo of the space, measurements, and the colour palette and she absolutely nailed it. The balloons caught everyone’s eyes as soon as they walked in and really were the focal part of the decor. It was a sad day to take those balloons down after the party- suddenly our kitchen looked so boring ;)
I love the idea of reducing waste wherever possible, so rather than paper plates, I invested in some Replay Recycled Tableware. They are made out of recycled water bottles, are dishwasher safe, and come in so many fun colours. We ordered Bella pink ones for her most recent party, which we will keep and reuse for birthdays to come. For Luca, we went with the sunny yellow and white plates, cups, and utensils. These are also great for everyday use and we used them a lot for outdoor dining in the summer.
Which brings us to the FOOD! If you’ve been following us for awhile, you may know that sweet little Luca has allergies to eggs, dairy, and nuts, which usually means very limited food options for us while attending parties. So that made me extra excited to create a completely allergy-friendly menu for Luca! All of the food was vegan and safe for him to eat!
When I was sourcing out vendors for the party, I contacted a local cookie maker, asking if she had a recommendation for a cake baker experienced in vegan baking. I was then connected with Humble Bee Bakehouse and i loved everything I saw on her page. She does both traditional baking, as well as vegan / allergy friendly options. Humble Bee’s designs are versatile, from colourful and kid-friendly, to elegant and artsy. Plus, she’s super easy to work with and always up to try new things. We chatted about Luca’s party and I sent her some inspiration pictures and then let her do her thing. When I opened the cake box on the morning of his big day, I was blown away! The cake was perfect- exactly what I had hoped for! And it tasted just as good as it looked! Everyone commented that it didn’t taste ‘vegan'- just like a delicious cake! We will definitely be ordering again!
The next thing to take care of was ordering Pals Donuts. I’ve become quite familiar with the vegan food options in our city, and Pals takes the cake when it comes to sweet treats. Both their traditional and vegan donuts are as beautiful as they are tasty. And they are always coming out with new flavours. I let them do what they do best and create something fun for the party, and their sprinkle and tie-dye donuts were a huge hit with kids and adults alike! I really don’t think Luca knew what hit him when he bit into his Pals Donut. I wish we had a photo of his reaction. You can find Pals at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, Revolve Cafe, YAY! Thai, City Perks or message her for pickup at Capitol Music!
My mother-in-law is an expert baker and has her tried and true recipes, but she was up for the challenge of trying new recipes to make vegan cupcakes and cookies for Luca’s party. She found the recipes on Pinterest and I swear they were just as good as her go-to recipes! Everyone loved both the cookies and the cupcakes. I’m always grateful for her help with my kid’s parties.
I’m all about presentation, so to switch up the usual fruit and veggie trays, I decided to do rainbow fruit skwers (thanks to my mom for helping me cut up all that fruit), and veggie and dip cups. I made a vegan ranch dip that was super yummy and I’ll definitely be making it again! I think it’s fun to display food in different ways and adds a bit more to the table! We also had popcorn, pretzels, hummus, and chips with guacamole- but those aren’t as pretty so they go on the kitchen island ;)
For the drink station, I created a mango lemonade punch which was delicious. We also had citrus rosemary infused water, and my good friend Lindsay treated us to some fun drinks too ;) I think my husband really appreciated the Corona at 1pm after all the last minute party prep I had him doing. I know I couldn’t wait to crack a Palm Bay. It was 5pm somewhere …. ;)
Now that the decor and food were taken care of, that takes us to the entertainment! I wanted something fun for our guests to do, and let’s face it, one year olds can’t do much yet, so the adults and bigger kids might as well have a good time! I booked True North’s Party Booth, so our guests could get a picture and have some fun as they arrived at the party. Josh created a custom overlay for Luca’s party, with crowns and palm leaves and I couldn’t have designed it better myself. Carrie and Alicia set up the gorgeous gold sequin backdrop near the front entrance and it was the perfect welcome to our guests! They were so friendly and welcoming that everyone wanted to jump right in the booth. They had fun props, as well as options for a still image, a GIF, or a boomerang. Naturally, I tested out all three options (several times), and I’m here to say all are super fun! And the True North girls didn’t even seem sick of my camera hogging ways :P As soon as the photos were taken, they could be emailed/ texted or air dropped right to your phone! Plus, all the images from the party were uploaded to an online gallery, which was super entertaining for me to browse through after the party ended. What a fun memory to have of the party and of all our friends and family. They also have a booth with a printing option, which I want to try next time! True North was honestly the hit of the party and I feel like I need them at all future events. What’s a party without a photo booth?
Every King needs a castle, right? So I knew we needed a bouncy castle! I asked for recommendations on Instagram and Jumpy Things came highly recommended, so I booked the Excalibur Castle for the party. Kris was super easy going and he and his crew came and set up the castle in what seemed like 10 seconds flat. It was quite chilly that day but it definitely didn’t stop the kids. They were begging to go out and jump on it… it was the adults who didn’t want to stand outside and supervise haha. Jumpy Things had a ton of bouncy house options but I will say- get one with a slide! That seemed to be a big attraction for the little jumpers!
I think I covered all the details! If I missed anything you want to know more about, leave me a comment below! I compiled a list of party products you might want to take a look at, so you aren’t scrambling last minute to find something you may have overlooked (like a 1st birthday candle :)
Now I can officially take a break from party planning until 2020. Already taking suggestions for themes for next time. Hit me up!
A big thanks to my IG husband aka King Rose Visuals for the beautiful photos.