“Crazy woman” is what I called myself several times during the planning of this party. Why you ask? Because I was silly enough to attempt the planning and execution of a birthday party in 3 days! This last year I have been extremely busy with business and work, and figured I would give myself a break on the party planning for family and friends. So, I told my hubby with regard to our daughter’s party, “We’ll just have hot dogs and cake!” His reply was, “Uh huh, we’ll see.” I am sure you can tell, the hubs was right, and I was totally kidding myself. Literally it was like an epiphany! I was working on something utterly unrelated and sprang from my seat yelling, “Oh my gosh! That is it! We’ll call it Strawberry Mamacakes!” Now, this was late Tuesday night and the party was set to be Friday evening….what’s more, I needed to be out of town for work ALL day Thursday. Stupid you say, yeah, I know….
For one thing, because I am a party planner I get these ideas and I love to see how they would manifest in real life. However, I will be honest here. The real reason I planned this party is because my baby was turning 2 and I felt a little guilty about not celebrating in style, when I have the ability to do so. Growing up, I had a GREAT mommy, but birthdays were not a big deal in my home. After marrying my husband (one of 7 children), I learned that there were families that celebrated EVERY birthday as big as they could within their means.
Let me be clear. For me it was never about how BIG or how small the party was, but rather that I was giving it my personal best at that very moment.
Strawberries and Balloons Shared the Spotlight
Because I had very limited time and a modest budget, I opted to build EVERYTHING around two major elements. In this case strawberries and balloons took center stage. Generally I am not a big fan of balloons. However Noah LOVES them, so I figured I would go BIG and bought 60 balloons in different pinks, red, lime green and white. While perusing Martha Stewart’s website, I saw someone had created a large number made with balloons and affixed it to the wall. I thought it was such a cute idea, and HAD to try it! That, along with the balloons around the room served as my primary design feature.
In addition, it was important that I used fresh strawberries as much as possible. With that in mind, I and my sister-in-law picked 20 pounds of them the morning of the party, and paid 24 bucks for them by going to a local farm! Strawberries served as décor, were used in the drinks, and of course used to make the dessert.
We managed to keep this part fairly simply. We ordered beef brisket from one of our favorite BBQ joints, so that guests could assemble their own sliders. We also served cold slaw, BBQ potato chips and chicken wings. I didn’t make anything but the strawberry lemonade and it was mmmmm, mmmm good!
The Dessert Bar
All of our guests were invited to make strawberry shortcakes at Mamacakes’ Strawberry Shortcake Bar! In addition to traditional homemade strawberry topping and my special cream, we had pineapple/strawberry topping too. And what kind of birthday party would it be without a cake? I had no time to bake anything, but I could throw a little something together.
I knew that making my homemade butter/cream cheese frosting would be easy. So, I bought two 8 inch crème cakes from my local grocery store and assembled like a layer cake. I frosted the cake and added cut strawberries all around and voila! And yes, I told everyone that it was semi homemade! But it was so yummy!
NONE! Well no structured ones anyway….and you know what? That is totally fine sometimes. I love great activities for children’s parties, but the truth is that all the kids that came were more my 6 year old son’s age, than my daughter. Also, the party was a 7:30pm on a Friday because that was the ONLY time we could have it near her birthday. The adults did what adults do…chat and chill, while the children played as if no one but them existed. Noah? Well she ran around swiping strawberries and food, and we let her. After all, she was the birthday girl!
Would I do anything over?
OF COURSE! I would not decide to have a full-fledged party 3 days prior. But other than that, life happens how it happens, so I would not change anything else.
It’s okay to accept help!
I am so fortunate to have some of the best friends in the biz. I could not have brought this all together the help of some fabulous vendor friends, whom I LOVE! Claudia from Tini Posh designed the super cute strawberry shortcake inspired printables and signage; while Debra from TiTi’s TuTus provided me with those lovely “pimp poms.” Both were the perfect accents to complete the look.
I have learned over the years that when someone offers to help…let them. These ladies are so talented that they whipped these goodies up for me in a day! If I had attempted to do one more thing I would have fallen flat on my face! Grateful for great friends that LOVE what they do and SHARE their talents with me!
How I remained sane!
I picked a theme and stuck with it! As much as I wanted to, I DID NOT try too many new ideas. It is okay to be inspired by others and add your own spin on it. I bought as much stuff premade/prefilled/preassembled as possible. I didn’t go crazy buying EVERY cute thing that I saw, which fit the color scheme and theme. When my friends offered to utilize their talents and gifts for me…I let them. Despite what you’ve read I really took it easy on myself. Everything didn’t have to be perfect. Let’s be real, it never is anyway, so why stress about the inevitable. Lastly and most importantly I remembered why I was doing it…to create memories for my family and celebrate my baby’s life. And that’s what it’s all about!
I hope you enjoy the pics!