Thursday, June 20, 2013

Party 101, Part 1 - Where To Start?

 I'm currently in the throws of planning Addison's 7th Birthday party, so I thought, Why not use this time (while its all fresh) to write a Party 101 Series? 

As a mom of two who works full time, I know that parties can be stressful and can overwhelm your already busy schedule (and wallet).  Believe it or not, it can be fun, and relatively easy if you follow some key steps.  Whether its a birthday party, shower, engagement party or graduation party - the planning and execution process is pretty much the same across the board. Using Addison's party as my example, I will take you with me, step by step on how to plan a party that's put together, will keep you sane, and leave your guests wondering how you did it all!  Ready to get started?  Let's Go!

Where To Start

Before you begin, the number one thing you need to determine is how much you want to spend - in terms of both time and money.  A piece of advice from personal experience - don't wait until the last minute!  Whether you hire someone to design your whole party, or do it completely yourself, waiting until the last minute only makes it way more expensive.  There are great resources out there for everyone, whether you want to DIY or not -  as long as you start planning early.  For the lucky few, cost may not be an issue, but for moms like me - being budget conscious is important. As we go, I'll discuss tips on how to save some of that dough. 


Addison starts thinking about her next birthday party as soon as the current one is over, and as the year goes on she changes her mind about a million times.  I try to get her focused about two months out, and at that time, whatever idea she has in her head is what we go with.  No more changing her mind.  If your kids are too young to tell you what kind of party they want, or they can't decide, think about what they enjoy - it could be as simple as a favorite color, place, toy, TV show or activity.

Having a theme in mind is the most important piece in pulling everything cohesively together.  From here, you can start looking for inspiration and ideas (more on that later), and can pull a color scheme together.  In Addison's case this year, we attended a family graduation party that had a Luau theme.  She liked it so much, she decided that she wanted to do that for her birthday - done and done.


Once the theme was decided on, I started thinking about where we could have it.  We could spend a small fee and do it at a park, our neighborhood clubhouse or pool, or at a nearby marina.  I knew I wanted to spend a little extra on the party entertainment, so this is one place where I decided to save.  Why not do it at home, for free?  Two years ago, however, Addison had a movie star themed party.  Our neighborhood clubhouse has a small theater so I rented it out for a few hours - you get the idea.

Another thing to consider when choosing a venue is time of year and weather concerns.  An outside Luau in the middle of winter - probably not the best idea.  Even for Addie's party this year, I have a backup plan to bring it inside if need be.  You never know when a freak thunderstorm might come rolling through in the middle of July!  Because of the backup, I have also limited the number of guests she can invite - only as many as can fit inside!

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of my Party 101 series.  Next time I will talk about inspiration, invitations and party decor!  Get ready to see some great eye candy!!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Time Flies...The Party

Two weeks before Morgan's Party we took a trip to Disney World.  We had a wonderful time, but once we got back home I was in full party mode.  There was a lot to pull together in a very short time.  Luckily, I had sketched everything out before we left, so I had an idea, at least, for what I wanted to do.

We had the party at our house, so I'll give you a little tour.  Forgive all of the bazillions of pictures, but I went a little nuts since it was Morgan's very first party!  Welcome to Hayes Hangar! 

 photo DSC_0769_zps47a22ca2.jpg

I had picked up the little wooden airplane at Hobby Lobby months before the party.  It was kind of the catalyst of the whole idea, color scheme and all.  I knew I wanted to use it in something, so when I decided to make this cloud wreath, I knew it would be the perfect accent.  I used my cricut to cut out the banner and letters.

 photo DSC_0771_zps5bab5c27.jpg

The mantle was decorated with bunting that I designed to coordinate with the theme.  I had taken a photo of Morgan wearing an aviator hat (so cute), so I added that in a frame with the little red airplane that he was playing with in the photo.  I just wanted to use a bunch of things I already had in the house for the rest - no need to recreate the wheel!

 photo 83067e90-962c-4e51-a170-48985901f36a_zpsb7ecd055.jpg

 photo DSC_0689_zpse0d8e51c.jpg

 photo DSC_0691_zps54125ac5.jpg

 photo DSC_0677_zps07fd762c.jpg

 photo DSC_0699_zpsd66571cc.jpg

This was one of my favorite little things.  I made a sign to hang on the bathroom door handle.  When the guests went in, they turned it around to the red side that said "occupied".  Also, not pictured, I hung a sign on the mirror in the bathroom that said, "Please no smoking in restroom".

 photo DSC_0705_zps3968e18c.jpg

My dining room was where all of the goodies were stashed.  I decorated the buffet where I kept all of the plates and waters, and the table where the cake and snacks were.  Originally, I was going to use the buffet as my "dessert table" and leave the table open for seating.  When push came to shove, it was too small, so I expanded.

 photo DSC_0726_zpsb0c6842d.jpg

 photo DSC_0731_zps92b32507.jpg

 photo DSC_0735_zpsa51040fc.jpg

 photo DSC_0836_zps92b22a47.jpg

The little tray with the cookie stack on top?  You guessed it, those are the Biscoff cookies they serve on flights.  I tied them in little bunched to look like shipped packages!

 photo DSC_0801_zpsdd0be0ec.jpg

We had a bit of a cake dilemma.  I had found one online that I liked, and my friend was going to make it for me.  Two days before the party her whole house came down with the flu.  I ended up going to Publix with my photo, and they were able to recreate it.  They did a great job, and on super short notice! The only airplane they had in the house was this Mickey Mouse one.  I just went with it.  We had just returned from our Disney trip, so it seemed fitting. 

 photo DSC_0805_zps8e7ccead.jpg

 photo DSC_0798_zps61488808.jpg

 photo DSC_0789_zpsb2221892.jpg

I served peanuts, pretzels and M&Ms in these cute little cups, and used a cookie cutter to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the shape of a cloud.

 photo DSC_0762_zps56788039.jpg

 photo DSC_0747_zps4372724c.jpg

 photo DSC_0740_zpsd3e3d841.jpg

I ordered the little red and white striped cello bags, purchased napkins and utensils from The Dollar Tree, and designed the little utensil wraps to tie it all together.  These came out so cute!

 photo DSC_0741_zps70b629ef.jpg

 photo DSC_0753_zps3e121c35.jpg

 photo DSC_0739_zps228f5f9a.jpg

There were going to be a lot of little kids at the party, and I wanted to keep everyone downstairs.  Addison helped me hang this sign on the stairs.  It worked really well!

 photo DSC_0826_zps2536fcb1.jpg

I was originally going to make a sign with the flight status on it.  Ran out of time, but using the chalk board wall in my kitchen worked out even better!

 photo DSC_0786_zps61ca77e7.jpg

I bought el cheapo cups at the dollar store as well, but designed some cute stickers to put on them.  "Morgan Air, Celebrating 1 Year In Flight"!

 photo DSC_0772_zps50c357eb.jpg

Finally, the piece de resistance...the favors!  The red boxes were ordered online, and I put my paper crafting skills to work.  I hand cut the straps and handles and hot glued them all to the boxes.  Inside, were individual packs of oreo cookies and an official flight pin so everyone could get their wings!  I set up the display in the foyer on a vintage trunk and some old vintage suitcases.  The sign and tag were designed by me!

 photo DSC_0723_zps3158b0e2.jpg

 photo DSC_0710_zps26893dcd.jpg

 photo DSC_0715_zps199e4b63.jpg

The rest are some fun pics of the birthday boy.  He was very hesitant about the smash cake at first, but before we knew it, he had polished off half the cake!  I had to take it away from him so he wouldn't get sick.  It was pretty darned cute!

 photo DSC_0873_zpsfddabec1.jpg

 photo DSC_0878_zpsc07b5e3f.jpg

 photo DSC_0911_zps14480ae9.jpg

Our little family - look at that face!  LOL.

 photo DSC_0936_zps340697f8.jpg

 photo DSC_0842_zps53226fdb.jpg

 photo DSC_0830_zpsb1e89c17.jpg

Little man had a great day!  Now the only question is - what will I do next year?


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Time Flies...The Invitations

 photo DSC_0664_zps06d8742e.jpg

Back in March, we celebrated Morgan's 1st Birthday.  Almost 3 months later, and I still can't believe how much he's grown.  It's amazing how fast his first year went - which led me to the theme of his party...Time Flies! 

I've designed custom airline boarding pass invitations for clients in the past, and it seemed like the perfect way to announce his big day. 

 photo DSC_0053_zpse89f5690.jpg

These pass holders take the invitations over the top.  They're my favorite part - it makes them look so authentic!

 photo DSC_0050_zps5d95e8cd.jpg

 photo DSC_0042-2_zps4478f69c.jpg

I love that each one can be personalized with the passenger name (I chose to do one per family). 

 photo DSC_0035_zps68574dc9.jpg

Last but not least, I designed wrap-around address labels to complete the look.

 photo DSC_0065_zps42556f22.jpg

The feedback on the invitations was very positive - everybody loved them!

I will be adding these to my Etsy shop soon, and they can be purchased as printed invitations with the pocket folder and belly band, or just the printable ticket.  If you're interested, and they haven't been added to my shop yet, email me for pricing and details:

Stay tuned for more on Morgan's party - I will be adding the rest soon!


Linking Up To:

The 36th Avenue