When Julian and I first started planning Perry’s first birthday party, we knew a few things: 1) We wanted something nontraditional 2) we wanted it to be outdoors surrounded by greenery, and 3) most importantly, we intended it to be a wonderful celebration of our daughter’s first year surrounded by our closest family and friends.
So many people kept telling us, “but she won’t remember anything!” and that’s true but it was more of a party for us anyway! We survived the first year of parenthood and a party was in order. We went through so many ups and downs that year as first time parents and our loved ones were with us every step of the way. Plus, it was a great excuse to take pictures and have wonderful photos to look back on one day with Perry. I’m all about the photos! I think these shots truly reflect the vision we had intended for the party and what an unforgettable day it was. We felt so unbelievably lucky to be this special girl’s parents and to be surrounded by such incredible family and friends.
The original plan was to have the party in Brooklyn so we can be closer to friends and family. However, we decided that with Perry’s nap schedule, it wasn’t doable. The party ended up being in Philly. We did have a certain look and feel in mind though for the venue-an industrial, garden type of vibe with a touch of softness. We visited so many different places but when we ate at Talula’s Garden one night for dinner, we knew we found the one. Our event coordinator was Kerri with Starr Restaurants, and she was wonderful. She kept us organized and was so patient, detail-oriented and accommodating. Kerri is a true professional but so fun and laid back. I had a certain vision in mind and Kerri and the staff at Talula’s really nailed it.
For décor, I wanted to incorporate the garden party aesthetic but still keep things looking simple and clean. We went with small floral arrangements in varied mercury vases, mason jars, milk bottles and candles. The flowers were a mix of white dahlias, seeded eucalyptus, queen anns lace, white ranunculus, light pink lisianthus, dusty muller, pink veronica, and accent crespedia. Heather at Carl Alan Designs was so knowledgable and understood exactly what I was going for. She accounted for every little detail, including how I wanted Perry’s flower crown to look. We even discussed floral décor for the cake. What was especially helpful was actually meeting at Talula’s Garden and doing a walk through. This helped us to make sure the décor was appropriately placed and matched the tone of the venue.
Our photographer was Jill from Jill Lynn Photography. I loved the vibrant colors and rustic look of her photos and knew that she was exactly who we were looking for. She is so talented and on top of that, so easy to work with. She also did a separate family photo shoot for us (coming soon on the blog). I can’t wait to work with her on future parties and family photo shoots.
We had a ton of DIY projects that took up most of our nights after Perry went to bed. A big thank you to my friends for coming with me to Michaels on more than one occasion! Our favors were from TheSucculentSource via Etsy, who delivered healthy plants on time. I’m not exactly known for keeping plants alive but they provided simple instructions for when to order everything and how to take proper care of them, so I was able to at least keep them all alive until the party. They also provided custom favor tags. Thank you to my friend, Jenny for spending hours with me tying a tag to each individual plant while our babies entertained themselves.
Our first birthday stats chalkboard sign came from TalkinChalk via Etsy, the Happy Birthday Perry sign via lolaandcompany, I’m Growing Up sign via SweetChalkDesigns and Welcome sign via tranquillina. Some of these were digital prints and others arrived as the final product. I loved the I’m Growing Up sign, which I thought was really cute standing next to our succulent favors.
My biggest advice when planning a party for a special occasion is to do what is right for you. You’ll get a lot of tips, ideas and suggestions thrown your way on how things should be done but we’ve never been traditional people or a traditional couple. Some suggestions are helpful and others aren’t. At the end of the day, do what works for both of you and you’ll be happy.
Also, take advantage of Pinterest! I had a lot of ideas in mind when I started planning but the best way to convey those ideas to your vendors is via pictures so you’re both on the same page. It was so helpful for helping me plan and keeping me inspired throughout the entire party planning process.
Thank you to our fabulous vendors for helping to create such a beautiful event and our family and friends for traveling near and far to make Perry’s birthday such a happy and memorable day!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section on any of the DIY projects. I’m happy to answer below!
My dress: Club Monaco (on sale!) | shoes: Louboutin
Perry’s dress: Old Navy | shoes: Gap | denim jacket: passed down from her big cousin but similar here
Venue: Talula’s Garden | Photography: Jill Lynn Photography | Flowers: Carl Alan Designs | Invitations: Paperless Post | DIY: Michaels, Etsy