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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bradley's First Birthday: Part 1- Preplanning

In order to pull off a fantastic birthday bash, PLAN AHEAD!!! Like I always tell my 4th grade writing students, from beginning to end, DETAILS! DETAILS! DETAILS! are what matters in a story. Think of the party you plan the same way. From beginning to end, make sure to have all the details carefully planned out.

To start, pick a fun and creative theme! After brainstorming with one of my girlfriends, we decided on the milk and cookies theme. I then started googling hundreds of ideas. From cow theme ideas to 'got milk?' ideas and much more... I had so many ideas racing through my head, luckily, I had my handy Pinterest board to help me organize all my ideas. I then thought it would be a nice touch to have the Cookie Monster character make a visit. Next thing you knew, my theme blossomed. 

Isn't it funny how when you're not even looking for something, it just appears? That is what happened with the adorable shirt I found. It had cookies, milk and cookie monster. It tied everything together perfectly, which of course became part of my inspiration for the rest of the party. I then brought it to my seamstress and they embroidered the number 1 on the back to add a special touch for the birthday boy. 

Finding the perfect invitation is always important as it sets the tone for the party. I spent a lot of time searching for a fun invitation and when I finally did it took us a few tries to finally come up with the perfect combination. It was amazing what it became from what I originally saw. I had a wonderful experience with Stampin Crazy in Texas. To finish off my invitations, I wrote a poem and attached it to an envelope from our local Make-A-Wish Foundation asking friends and family to make donations in lieu of presents and gifts. A great website to help with this is I also always try to coordinate the postage stamps with the invitations, it's the little details that always add that special touch. 

One of my ideas I wanted to do early on was display my sons month-to-month pictures at his party. I had seen numerous creative ideas on Pinterest, such as photos shaped into a number one or a collage of pictures digitally shaped into the a family monogram, but I wasn't satisfied. I then came up with a larger then life idea... I had my brother draw and cut out a huge number one out of plywood. He then attached a hinge on the back with another piece of scrap wood so that it would sit nicely when it was on display at the entrance of Bradley's party. 

After trying many different ways to organize the pictures, I finally decided to cover the number one with blue scrapbook paper, then I cut around the pictures so that they would be different sizes and shapes. Lastly, I cut words out of baby magazines that represented my son. Once I placed everything where I thought it should go, I used glossy decoupage with a small sponge brush to cover over the entire number one and let it dry over night. The next morning, I took thick ribbon and used a hot glue gun to attach it around the perimeter of the number one. It was a beautiful touch to the party and I had a so much fun making it. 

Below are some helpful tips and hints 
to make your planning process easy and organized: 

Contact local vendors that might incorporate your theme. You never know what they can send to you for FREE or even discounted. I contacted and was able to get The School Milk Mustache Photo Booth Kit sent to me. This included tons of items that I was able to use such as got milk signs, cups, and much more that were incorporated throughout the party.

I also went on early on in the planning process and bought blue and red barbershop striped straws and plastic milk jugs that I used for the centerpieces. 

If you do not do your party at your house, find a venue early on and book a date. If you are doing a party outside, make sure to always have a plan B for weather. 

Remember to choose a theme early on so that you can keep your eyes and ears open where ever you go. You just never know what you will find. I was at a toy store and saw got milk? magic straws at the register. Once I saw those I knew they were a must have for Bradley's party.