I am a fan of the at-home birthday party – I like the intimacy and sort of old-fashioned vibe, the wonky, leaning homemade birthday cakes and the general melee that accompanies a slew of pint-sized revelers smashing open a piñata… It’s good stuff.
I fully understand the lure of an off-site party (in fact, seduced by the ease, I threw one for my older daughter last year). An at-home event is without a doubt more effort, but (for me) it’s usually worth it… My girlies talk about their previous at-home parties with such immense fondness, I can’t help but feel like the extra work was worth the memories we created.
I recently attended an utterly fantastic French-themed backyard party thrown by one of our favorite Dallas mamas, Alica Rico, to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday. Sure Alicia spends her days concocting gorgeousness for other people’s parties, so she has a serious aesthetic leg up… But most of her (incredibly) cool ideas can be re-purposed for even the most DIY-challenged.
So while my girlies were busy gobbling up macaroons and watching a performance by a mime, I was taking some mental notes, figuring out how to parlay Alicia’s creative prowess into a sort of cheat-sheet for future parties… Here goes:
- Hone in on a theme and let it drive all the details of the party. The more focused you are, the easier it is to pull-off something really impressive with (somewhat) less effort.
- For max impact, buy all your party supplies in one or two colors tops… We love Party Bazaar on Lovers for colored napkins, plates, cups, cutlery and a killer selection of balloons.
- And speaking of balloons…be sure to order a huge bunch of helium balloons. (When it comes to balloons, more is better.)
- Eschew complicated food and instead offer a couple of low-key snacks like pretzels and fruit + bottled water, a big cake and some libations for the grown-up guests. Central Market is our go-to for bulk candies, crackers and well-priced, stellar homemade-esque cakes (if baking isn’t your gig).
- Most important, remember, keep it mellow and have fun…kids will run wild, goldfish crackers will get smashed into your floor, but at the end of the day the chaos is usually nothing a glass of wine (or two) and a date with your vacuum can’t make right…
(photos via NBarrett Photography)