We decided to host our son, Rocco's, 2nd birthday party in our own backyard for about 75 people. We chose a train theme, since he is obsessed with them, and wanted a late afternoon/early evening party to fit into most of the kid's schedules. All photos are courtesy of Leah McCormick Photography.
I knew I didn't want to do a commercial style train party, so I went to Pinterest and started finding a lot of great options. A few images became our inspiration board, and we were able to source everything from there.
I like things to be clean and simple, but most importantly, I want guests to be comfortable, well fed, and happy. I always think about the children attending the event as well, since they sometimes get overlooked. I made sure to have a special buffet table just for them, along with plenty of activities and toys to play with.
I used a lot of online sources for the party, and two main ones were on Etsy. I purchased all the printed items from Crowning Details, which I paid extra for printing and cutting of all the items, and One Fine Party for the train signs for the front driveway "railroad tracks". I sent the invitation online through Paperless Post. I purchased all the party favors, train cookie cutters for the sandwiches and Rocco's conductor outfit from Trainparty.com. We catered the adult food from a local pizzeria, and I made all the kids food. I purchased plain wooden train toys from Target to be use for centerpieces and buffet decor. Cookies were purchased from Sweet Kiera, and I gave her the jpeg of the printed items were were doing for the paper signage, and she was able to replicate them perfectly. Our cake was made by a local bakery in San Francisco called Pretty Please. I also rented chairs, tables and linens from Standard Party Rentals, and borrowed vintage suitcases from a local event planner colleague.
There were so many, but I have to say the train tracks made with black duct tape to lead guests to side gate to enter the party, and then to have the "luggage carousel" area waiting for them to place their belongings on was also a favorite. Not to mention the favors for the kids (conductor hat, handkerchief and wooden train whistle) were a favorite among the children.
I plan events and weddings as my full time job, but planning something for myself is always hard because I don't want to go overboard, but I want to make every event special. Best advice is to use Pinterest with caution, and pick and choose the projects you can do yourself, and which ones you can pay a professional to do. It will save you time and energy in the end!