Carnival Themed First Birthday Party

Awhile back I showed you the adorable picture from the first birthday invitation for Colton, Lily’s buddy. We were out of town and sadly missed out on the carnival themed party but glad that his momma, Eva, shared the pictures of the event. Like Lily’s birthday, Colton’s party was also a labor of love with plenty of DIY projects that Eva created. So take a look at her hard work and our conversation about this first birthday extravaganza! Colton’s daddy, Patrick, took all the photos and you can see more pics on his blog!

Me: Did you have a particular theme and/or what was your inspiration?
Eva: Yes…Circus was my theme! I choose this because we have a lot of older kids either related or friends. I wanted something different than the standard Winnie the Pooh or number “One” theme. I wanted something colorful and fun for kids!

Me: Did you make any of the décor and how did those projects go?
Eva: I made a bunch of things. The first item that caught my eye was the candy bar bags that I found at Michaels. I liked how they were vintage, not childish. Inspired by items I saw on Etsy and Pinterest, I created a candy bar and hung red and white striped fabric as curtains behind the bar. From Gwynn Wasson Designs on Etsy, I ordered customized party prints for the door, cupcakes, food labels, straw flag toppers, candy labels and thank you notes and tags. I also made circus tents for décor and downloaded the template from First Palette.

Colton’s invitation was displayed in a picture frame. I made a bunting with Colton’s name from paper and ribbon I got at Michaels. The clown cake pops were adorable and taken from Bakerella. I found a template online for mustaches and glued them to paper straws from Hey YoYo. I took a lesson from Martha Stewart online and made paper flowers from tissue paper to hang from lights. My favorite of all were the shirts I made for all of us to wear. One-dollar iron ons from Etsy were printed on special iron on paper found at Wal-Mart! And as you know we borrowed the balloon wreath from you! I figured we would get use out of it since it took your mom so long to make it and a lot of balloons! 

{My poor mom had made this for Lily’s first birthday, but when I decided on changing to a bunting theme and set specific colors she was crushed! I was thrilled Eva used it.}

Me: Tell us about the menu- did you do the cooking or did buy it?
Eva: My mother-in-law and I decided on an easy children menu. We bought a large tray of Publix’s popcorn chicken, made fruit kabobs, chicken tortilla roll-ups, and a veggie platter resembling a lion! I found an elephant sandwich cutter from Wal-Mart and used those for pb&js! Hot dogs are classic circus fare, so we couldn’t forget them. Besides a cake and cake pops we had pretzels with melted Hershey kisses topped with an M & M to top it off.

Carnivals are not the same without the standard cotton candy treat. We purchased the machine from Bed, Bath and Beyond for $40.00, ordered the flavors off eBay and added my own sugar! Cold pink and regular lemonade, Capri Sun, water and soda helped guests stay hydrated.

Me: Okay did you set a budget? Did you go over it? What are some thrifty tips to stay in budget to future party planning mommas that you discovered along the way?
Eva: Yes, and no! I just purchased cheaper materials and products and returned the items we didn’t use (like the cups and extra bags).  After all the décor was made, I gave up on a budget! It was his first birthday and I figured I wouldn’t go overboard for a few more years.   {famous last words}

Me: What was your favorite part of the party?
Eva: Seeing everything come together since I had been working on it for two months! I loved seeing my Colton dig into his cake (the cake and cupcakes were made by a friend of ours, Laura, by I loved the party favors for the young ones. With their parent’s help, kids decorated plain t-shirts for 9-inch tall stuffed lion and elephants to wear (I ordered these from Oh and I also liked the rented Madagascar bounce house and I think the kids enjoyed that too!

Me: Not to be a negative Eva, but was there anything you disliked?
Eva: The weather the day before and the morning of the party. The grass was real wet causing the kids to track mud into my in-laws house. You can’t change Mother Nature! Other than that, it was a great…90 adults and kids had a great time!!!

Me: What did you learn from throwing your first birthday party for your sweet boy?
Eva: To have a great time. I enjoyed watching him grow and interact with everyone! Make it enjoyable for everyone and quick to get home for naps!

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  1. EVA commented:
    August 7, 2012 Reply

    Thank you Amy for blogging this for me! I enjoyed the questions!! The party was fabulous!!

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