A vintage, prep-school-inspired theme based on my son Dean's name.
I wasn't having much luck coming up with a unique theme for my younger son Dean's first birthday. I was content just to have a traditional, balloons-and-cake get-together until my husband jokingly threw out the phrase "The Dean's List." Immediately I thought of a vintage, prep school-inspired setting, with dark colors, pennants, neckties, and retro props.
I was determined not to buy anything for the party, and for the most part, I succeeded. I bought card stock for the decorations, mini chalkboards from Oriental Trading, and a few neckties at Goodwill. Everything else I made, scrounged up from our own house, or borrowed from family and friends.
Vintage, DIY, retro
We had "apples for the teacher" cake pops, Honor Roll-ups with turkey and cheese, other assorted snacks, and a fabulous cake my mom made to look like a stack of old books, with "Happy," "Birthday," and "Dean" on the spines. I even borrowed some vintage school cafeteria trays to serve everything on!
My in-laws happened to have an old, restored school desk that I borrowed and staged with mini chalkboards with birthday messages to Dean. I borrowed a loving cup trophy from my sister, some globes from my grandmother, and some vintage luggage and a typewriter from my own house.
The kids (mostly 2 and under) had fun writing on the chalk easel and playing on the swingset.
The vintage school desk that my in-laws just happened to have in their basement!