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Luke’s First Birthday Circus


I wanted a classic theme for Luke's first birthday... what's more classic than the circus? I went with a color scheme of red and robin's egg blue. It's a trendy combo right now but I like how it turned out. 

Design Inspiration

Pinterest - what else? I found many ideas on Pinterest and tried to stay close to a vintage circus theme as much as possible. I wanted it to be classy, but still cute as it was a first birthday party.

Decorating Style

I would definitely say classic and traditional but I do like some contemporary thrown in every now and then.

Project Details

Where do I start? I turned our dining room into a circus tent. I can't take full credit for this - I found a similar idea via pinterest here.  It's just plastic tablecloths cut in half vertically and then attached to our light fixture and then to our ceiling. I hung the panels very close together (touching) so it gave the affect of a being inside a real tent!

The photo collage was by far my absolute favorite project! I have been putting various pictures of Luke into a file marked "first birthday" on our computer for the past year. Then I had them all printed out in black and white (all 77 of them!) and then attached them to our wall in the shape of a "1." I got the idea here. I originally used painter's tape (rolled up to be double-sided) but the pictures kept falling and I spent 20 minutes a day hanging them back up. So, I ended up purchasing Scotch putty (you know, the blue kind our teachers used to hang posters to the cinder block  - except now it's white.) It worked like a charm! And I'm pretty sure I'm never taking it down. It's just too fun to look at!


I am slightly obsessed with the way Luke's smash cake turned out! ADORABLE!!! The cake and cupcakes were from CocoaBerry Cake Company. Ioana was awesome to work with and got my vision right away! Not only did everything look awesome - it all tasted great! If you are in the Orange County, CA area and need a cake, cupcakes, or cookies - give her a call!


I had purchased a Groupon back in November from Jones Soda for a buy 1 dozen, get 1 free deal for this exact purpose! I took Luke's newborn pics - done by the fabulous Ashley at APictureLife Photography - and had them put on soda flavors that matched my theme. The guests loved drinking them and I loved the way they looked!


Tables, chairs, and linens came from Create-A-Party rentals in Brea. I have rented from them numerous times and they have always been so easy to work with. I also rented umbrellas at the last minute since we had a forecasted high of 90 on Saturday! Thankfully, it didn't end up that hot but the shade was nice to have as we had more than a  few small children and some elderly people at the party.

The balloons shown over the dessert table and in the backyard were from Bargain Balloons. They are the 36 inch latex aka HUGE! My awesome hubby made several trips to Party City to get them blown up since only 3 would fit in his truck at one time. It was worth it though, I really thought they took the decor over the top!


I should also mention here that the fabulous party invite, along with the dessert bar tags, and banners shown throughout the pictures - basically anything that had to do with paper was done by my best friend and fabulous graphic designer, Madeline Markos. She does AMAZING work!


The mason jars were borrowed from Madeline and I arranged the flowers myself (not bad right?) The popcorn boxes I found in the Target dollar bin section - it's amazing what you can find there! I also found some circus coloring pages off the internet. I printed several copies and had them scattered on the tables with crayons to help entertain our littlest guests.

Favorite Items

The photo collage in the shape of a "1". It's been 2 weeks since the party and it is still up! I love looking at it every night when we eat dinner.


Have fun! Almost anything can go with this theme - use your imagination and when you get stuck, there's always pinterest! You don't have to copy a party eactly - take ideas from several different parties to create your own unique event!


Sunday 26th of January 2014

This is the best! Thanks for sharing! I'm in OC, so all of your referrals are very helpful :) I'm using the same theme for my son's 1st bday in May- so fun!


Saturday 18th of August 2012

About how many photos would you say ere used to make the 1 collage? Were they all the same size?

Marnee Bryant

Thursday 31st of May 2012

Soooo PERFECT!!!!! I vote for Luke!!!!

Frauline Melfi

Monday 7th of May 2012

The cake is so cute! And I like the outdoor tables-and-white-umbrellas setup. Your family is gorgeous, by the way.

Lee Allison King

Sunday 6th of May 2012

Best party and so vibrant, creative and fun. Of course i could be bias because Luke is my grandson. And his wonderful mom my daughter! LOVE IT!