For our daughter, Alice's, first birthday it was only fitting to host a ONEderland tea party to celebrate!
The classic Alice in Wonderland story combined with a proper English tea party was the inspiration for the day.
I typically gravitate toward anything crisp, clean and modern, (and never "themey"), so going for a Disney inspired tea party with all the characters, patterns, frills and doilies was a little out of my comfort zone. Turns out the theme was just what I needed to get a little out of the box and create a fun first birthday party for our sweet Alice!
I wanted to go overboard for my first daughter’s first birthday party in every way - except for the budget! So, I spent weeks visiting local thrift stores to stay on track and did a lot of DIY! My brother’s very talented girlfriend was awesome enough to design the invitation and all the party printables (the banner, place cards, “Drink me” tags and “Read me” favor tags) which I printed myself. A few things I did break down and buy were the great glitter “eat me” cupcake toppers from Confetti Momma, the Photo Booth props from Joosy Card Co. via Etsy and a few pre-made decorative banners from Hobby Lobby. For the food, we kept it simple with party-sandwiches, PB&Js and snack cups for the kids, fruit, veggies and chicken pasta salad.
Here are some of the DIY items for the party:
Teacup Towers: A dozen or so thrift store teacups, saucers and some Gorilla glue was an easy way to make great decor and serving pieces rolled into one. They added height and fun to the food table! I also made a smaller one for the smash cake.
Favors: Since we love to read at our house we wanted to send everyone home with a book to remember the party. Thanks Wal-Mart for a great price on these classic Golden Books! We also love tea at our house and buy it in bulk. So, for our bigger guests we used some of our own stash and made a “cup of tea” for them to enjoy when it wasn’t 103 degrees outside.
Doily banners: I used gold glitter paint and doilies to make a “Happy Birthday” banner for the fireplace and the “ONE” banner for the highchair. With a few tissue paper tassels, they were super easy and right on target with the tea party theme.
Flowers: Since Alice was born in Alabama in June, we will forever have blazing hot, middle of the summer birthday parties. UGH! BUT we will also always have hydrangeas in full bloom! All the flowers were FREE from yards of friends and family except 6 pink rose stems from ALDI for $3.99.
What’s an Alice in ONEderland Tea Party without some "Eat Me" cookies? We are lucky to have a local bakery that does amazing artistry with cookies.
The croquet set: Putting a fresh coat of spray paint, some washi tape and a few cheap pink flamingos on this $5 thrift store score was definitely a highlight. It was also a great outdoor activity that kept all the kids busy and having fun!
The "guestbook": Instead of a traditional guestbook, we asked guests to fill in their predictions for Alice on her 18th birthday. I loved reading all their predictions after the party and we compiled the cards in a photobook to open again in 2032.
The pictures: My dear friend Meghan Newsom of m.newsom photography was there to capture the day perfectly which ensured I was available for hosting and actually enjoying the party! I love looking back at the photos and remembering what a special day it was.
Don't be afraid of a good theme. Sometimes it's just what you need to get the creative juices flowing and actually save time and money!