If you know me from way before, you would know too that I do things way in advance. I’m never a crammer, although I cope easily if and when I am put in a situation where I do have to cram.
But as in anything else in my life that needs planning- I do them in advance.
So it no longer came as a surprise to my closest friends, when as early as March 2015 (just a few days after Aiyah’s baptism), I was already planning for her first birthday party for January 2016.
Yes, I planned this little party in my head for 10 long months- just as long as the 10 months of pregnancy I went thru before Aiyah came out.
THE IDEA FOR A SUPERSTAR PARTY
In March 2015, I had a totally different theme for Aiyah’s 1st birthday party. But I wouldn’t blog what that is because I still want to use that theme someday when she turns seven (and if she agrees to that theme by then!).
However, I thought deep and hard if that was the perfect and most apt theme to celebrate my daughter’s 1st birthday and realized it wasn’t time yet. So I thought about these things: 1) How has Aiyah’s coming changed our lives and 2) How do I describe life now that she’s here. And the answer to these two questions resonated only once answer- COLORFUL.
And so, I changed the theme to a rainbow party-a rainbow because 1) it is colorful, 2) it signifies hope, 3) it is a symbol of a promise fulfilled by God. Everything that Aiyah is and has been in our lives so far.
I just wanted everything to be colorful, happy and festive. I wanted to have rainbow, girly stuff and colors pleasing to the eyes.
I told my good friend Mitchiku about this as I asked her to style Aiyah’s 1st birthday studio pictorial, and she suggested that I tone down the colors to pastel rainbow shades since they suited Aiyah more. I readily agreed because Aiyah was growing up to be a very beautiful little girl, so delicate and dainty in her actions that a more chic, and pastel themed birthday will be more apt.
The idea to make it #AiyahSuperStarONEderland also came from my conversations with Mitchiku because I told her I wanted it to be an Alice in Wonderland type of party- where the guests will feel as if they were brought to a different world, full of all the pretty things and for the kids to feel like they are in a paradise of parties with all the game booths and food carts they can enjoy. My friend suggested I change it to ONEderland- obviously, to connote Aiyah turning one.
THE MAKING OF A SUPERSTAR PARTY
Essentials: Plan. Inspiration. Venue.
The very first thing I do when I plan events, is to make an excel chart. (You may download this just click here.)
I list down all the items I have to book, and later on, I just delete the ones that I feel I would not need. But it’s best to list down EVERYTHING first so that you get the whole picture of what you must book (it helps you set a budget too), anyway it is easy to choose which are the most essential ones later on.
After I created an excel file, I went to Pinterest for ideas. I pinned all the pastel rainbow themed parties that appealed to me, and sent these later on to my stylist and cake & dessert buffet suppliers.
Now that my excel and pinterest inspirations are ready- the next most important thing we did was to look for the perfect venue.
There was no doubt in my head that only an outdoor, garden setting can be the best backdrop for my dream party for Aiyah. But the problem is, there are hardly any beautiful and wide gardens/ parks in Quezon City or Marikina or areas in between. I know this for a fact because I’ve been on the lookout for a park ever since I started doing Summer Reading Camp two years ago. So this part was one of the most stressful parts of my planning.
One fine day, my husband suggested that we go back to Quezon City Memorial Circle (where we have hosted the Summer Reading Camp twice already) and look at the venue we saw before but wasn’t able to really see because it was being renovated.
My husband Eder drove us to that place which we later found out was called Tropical Garden. He surveyed the place himself as I wasn’t able to come down because I was either breastfeeding or carrying a sleeping baby in my arms (could not remember anymore!). When he came back to me, his exact words were “Ang ganda.”
Weeks later, I was assigned to cover an event in QC Circle. When I found idle time after coverage, I decided to see the place for myself as I was itching to finalize the party venue. Lo and behold, what I saw was the place of my dreams-a huge and spacious garden of greens with a lake that serves as an accent. THIS WAS IT.
I have been dreaming about a garden party ever since I got married, and I told myself, I will make this a reality for my baby. NO TENT, NO COVERS. Just this bare beautiful garden, to be styled by my favorite supplier- and it will be perfect!
Searching for the best suppliers- Caterer
My husband and I made sure we were booking only the best caterer- and without any second thought, we only had one supplier in mind which was Passion Cooks.
As with any event, the food you will serve will be on top of the mind of your guests, so you better make sure the food is not only delicious, unique but also unforgettable. And Passion Cooks has done two events for our family already prior to this (Aiyah’s baptism which I will blog later on and my late Lola’s 90th birthday), and as always, guests have raved about the food we served.
Since we are doing the usual children’s party in the afternoon, my husband and I initially thought about a simple merienda- hence a big chunk of our menu were heavy cocktails. But since we also realized that some guests may look forward to the event and eat very lightly during lunch, we added a few major courses to compliment our dishes. It was a breeze choosing the menu, because practically, everything that Passion Cooks does taste so good anyway!
If you’re still planning your child’s first birthday party, make sure you allot a huge part of your budget for food. You wouldn’t want to go wrong on this part.
As for the styling, I’ve also made up my mind that only Passion Cooks can do the work to make my dream party a reality. They also styled my daughter’s baptismal thanksgiving and did a pretty good job in realizing my theme back then, and so I didn’t have any second thoughts getting them again. If you still do not know, aside from their yummy dishes- Passion Cooks does awesome styling for events, thanks to their very own genius, the very generous and kind Maja!
Instantly we just hit it off. I sent Maja my pegs (from my Pinterest board) and we threw each other ideas via Viber. It was such a blessing that she just knows what I have in mind, that when we finally met personally for her to discuss her styling proposal to me- I simply approved everything.
To deviate from what we already did on her baptismal thanksgiving, for Aiyah’s first birthday, we didn’t get a memorabilia corner anymore and just concentrated on decorating the spacious garden of greens and made sure guests will feel transported to a wonderland when they enter.
I initially wanted a mock rainbow arch to welcome guests, but I realized Maja’s logic when she suggested a simple entrance decor and a really beautiful and colorful main event area instead.
When you see the photos of the styling job they did, you’d think we spent so much for this. Unlike other suppliers who would push you to add more elements you don’t really need, Maja worked around the budget I gave her and she just did so much more than the value of what we paid for.
Soon after Maja and I agreed on the styling elements for Aiyah’s party, I talked to Charisse of Print Divas to make my dream invitation come true. I only had one idea in mind ever since I thought about the theme for Aiyah’s 1st birthday- and that was to have a pop-up invitation.
The idea was to WOW the guests with a very simple cover invite- and a big surprise when they open it. So I specifically asked for a muted cover design- and a colorful pop-up inside with all the elements that the guests will see when they attend the party.
Kiddie Party Elements: Game booths, party activities
This is the part I really thought about! Having attended a few of my friends’ children’s parties too, I practically mixed all the ideas and chose only those I thought would complete the look of my wonderland.
I booked four major food carts – dirty ice cream, mini burger, fries and cotton candy. These food carts are always a hit at any children’s party right? So what I did to make it even more interesting, I had a customized ticket stub which were given to the kids upon registration, and which they presented to these food carts before they got their share. It gave them the full experience of entering a wonderland- with a ticket to everything that will make their Sunday an afternoon well spent.
Also, I didn’t just book a cotton candy supplier- I specifically booked one that made unique character cotton candies that came in different animal shapes. It was one of the most favorite corners of the kid and even adult guests! Aside from making dinosaur and other animal cotton candies, they also sampled their new huge flower design at Aiyah’s party!
Aside from these major food carts, my husband and I also booked our good old reliable taho vendors from our own areas (so we had two), which was also a hit with our guests!
For the games, I just booked three major game booths which I know the kids and adults will love – a basketball ring, ring toss and pop that balloon booth. Instead of doing a bubble show, I asked the bubble show guy to just stand in one corner and offer unlimited photo opportunity for the kids as he did thrilled them by making huge bubbles while they were inside. And to give a twist to the usual face paint and tattoo corner, I also got a nail makeover station as an added activity, which both the young girls and (not so young ones) ladies kept coming back to!
Cakes and Desserts
This part, I didn’t have a hard time thinking about. For those who have followed my posts on IG, you would know that I always ordered pretty cakes for Aiyah’s monthly birthdays the last 12 months. And so for her 1st birthday, I had two things in mind- I wanted a unique but simple cake and a set of pink cakes as a fitting closure to my monthly pink cake tradition.
I also wanted a dessert buffet which consisted of macarons, meringue, cake pops, sugar cookies and cupcakes.
For my suppliers, I only thought of ordering from two of the most trusted cake suppliers I have ordered from the last 6 months- Regine’s Home Baked Goodies and Sugar Plum Pastries.
Regine and Lovely took note of my pegs but as you will see later on, they also customized the designs in a really beautiful way!
For the giveaways, on top of my mind was to give each child a coloring book and crayon- this, to signify the colorful life that has been since Aiyah came. I also ordered pastel colored macaron pops from my good friend Maye of Merry Macarons, a bag of candies in colorful packaging and my book si Aiyah at ang Magic ng mga Bituin. I also ordered plain white plush dolls in different shapes from La Pomme Ph, which the kids can design on their own.
Unlike the usual party where kids don on party hats, our kid guests got to choose their own crowns (for the girls) and supehero masks (for the boys). Not only did these became unique party hats but something they were ableto take home as souvenirs too!
As a twist, you would think only the kids got souvenirs on children’s parties right? But with Aiyah’s, I ordered happiness pouches for the not so young ones which came in assorted pastel colored zippers!
I also distributed happiness cards which carried a few lines from some of the songs I sang to Aiyah when she was still a baby.
Finally, the program. While searching for the perfect host, I came across Jiggles the Balloon Lady in one of the kiddie party IG accounts I follow. I thought she would be the perfect host because she also does a balloon show, and my daughter LOVED balloons! But because I didn’t want too many balloons on her party (I wanted to be really different!), I thought opting for a balloon show with a balloon lady as host will be just as fun.
On that day, I was just so right to have booked Jiggles because she did not only awe the kids, but the adults as well!
Also, I booked a magic and puppet show as added entertainment for the kids.
The only problem I encountered here was how to put together all the elements I wanted in the program- cake blowing, magic show, puppet show, balloon show, games and make sure I have everything in 2hours and keep the kids excited and giddy thru it all!
A SUPERSTAR PARTY FOR AIYAHSUPERSTAR
I imagined a grand, well curated and well designed colorful birthday celebration fit for my Superstar, not to brag about anything- but simply to celebrate her life and our lives the past year.
Ever since she came, my life has been filled with so much color- unforeseen challenges, never-ending tasks, valid fears, lots and lots of dreams and many milestones.
She is my miracle come true, and if I could, if we could afford it, we would throw her the party she deserved and we did.
I enjoyed every bit of planning the last 10 months for this Superstar Pastel Rainbow Party, and when I see the beautiful photos, hear the compliments, watch the awesome video- most of all when I see my daughter, I know that it was all worth it.
Truth is, this superstar party is really more about me, giving my daughter the grandest expression of my love for her, for all the world to see.
(I have been thinking about doing events for a LOONG time now. If you have any ideas and would need my help in planning, feel free to comment with your email and let’s discuss! *wink wink*)