Travel theme first birthday party ideas
Family Life, Los Angeles Living, This & That

Travel Themed First Birthday Party: A Festive Unisex Bash for the Twins!

I don’t even know how to approach a post about my twins turning one: No words can begin to adequately sum up the intense and wondrous and wild year after our family of two became four. All parents know this feeling, of course.

So how about if I focus instead on the babes’ travel themed first birthday party? That seems like a reasonable scope and scale. And I’m kiiiiiinda obsessed with the way it turned out.

For this party, David had one request: He wanted to host it in the backyard of our home, our first house, where we brought our babies after we left the hospital, a place to which he, in particular, has a deeply visceral connection (which is very sweet to see).

As for me, I had a few more ideas. After we got the babes their first passports and I saw how bonkers cute/hilarious the photos looked, I had this idea to make a sign that said “Oh, the places you’ll go!” and post those photos somewhere on it. From there, I loved the idea of a travel themed first birthday party. And then I thought of a “Here comes the airplane!” sign for the food table. Of course we’d have a taco cart, the crowd-pleasingest, budget-friendliest, easiest way to feed a group.

Along those lines, I was inspired by a couple of recent trips to Mexico (Punta Mita/Sayulita and Tulum), plus the availability of such great Mexican-style decor in Los Angeles. I was also pretty obsessed with this photo on Pinterest. But I knew I didn’t want the party to be too theme-y in any way. And that was about where my opinions and expertise on the matter ended.

Fortunately, I have friends in very convenient places — namely, in the event industry. My super-talented pal Sarah Granger-Twomey of PIE Productions got on board with helping me plan (never mind she’s in the throes of planning her own daughters’ celestial-themed joint birthday party in a few weeks), and helped me bring it to vibrant life.

Aaaaand her in-demand photographer husband, Sean Twomey of 2Me Studios (who also shot our maternity photos!) offered to shoot our day (while he also managed his two kids). Double score!

So after a super fun afternoon shopping for decor with Sarah in downtown Los Angeles, we were all set to go for an 11 a.m. backyard party. And then just as Sarah and our friend Rachel (who is among the most naturally festive people I know) were arriving to help set up, we heard thunder, and rain started falling. Out of absolutely nowhere. Um, what? People: It’s mid-July in Los Angeles, during a drought of biblical proportions. This cannot and does not happen. The Day After Tomorrow. Alanis Morissette. Etc.

And I would have panicked without my two seasoned event-industry friends, along with my event-industry husband, who rolled up their sleeves, pounded the coffee, and got to work.

Another thing that seems relevant here, before I go on with all the photos: As Sarah, Rachel, David and I stood in the living room formulating a rain plan, our friend (first) and neighbor (second), Dwayne, ran up the front walk in his jogging clothes talking about, “Hey, I have an E-Z Up tent. I’m bringing it by.”

This to me was a moment among so very many — nearly infinitely many in our love-filled first year — that have crystallized the idea of “It takes a village.” And we’d be absolutely lost without ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the helpers and everyday heroes in our lives. 

(By the way? The rain held off during our party’s exact mid-day window.)

Now onto the photos…

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios
Never mind the 1) tangle of electrical wires that I can’t do anything about and 2) brown grass. (Only jerk Californians have green grass in a drought!)  We strung paper garlands, known as papel picado, over the yard and topped tables with linens in coral, yellow, and red. We would have strung those paper streamers and flowers right on the lattice behind them, but yeah — rain. So we strung them from the E-Z Up tent poles instead! Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

That ended up creating perfect diffused light for our…

Passport-style photo booth!

I filled goodie bags with sticker-book-style passports (as well as airplane gliders and suckers) from Oriental Trading. Then folks used our mini Polaroid to snap pics and tape them inside using colorful Washi tapes from Scotch and other stuff.

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Flowers

I wasn’t even really planning on having flowers, as they seemed like extraneous budget busters. But Sarah loaded up her car with just $25 worth of marigolds, and cut bougainvillea and greens from my backyard to make about 10 equally beautiful arrangements, like NBD.

I mean, gorge, right?

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

This photo was part of a newborn shoot taken on our hospital bed at Cedars-Sinai. The hospital just automatically sent some vendor photog around, and I’m so glad we have these priceless, precious images! Even better? Until the night before the party, that yellow frame housed the menu of specialty cocktails from the bar at our wedding five years ago. (I found it in the garage.) Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Signs

And here’s the sign idea that inspired it all! My very talented sister, Elisabeth, designed it using our colors and my vague and changeable specs. (I am a seriously annoying person to work for, for no money.)

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Cake

Sweet E’s Bake Shop created this beautiful cake, interpreting this pin, which had inspired me. Sarah found the sweet mini papel picado downtown, and stuck it on flagpoles from which she’d removed cheapie souvenir Mexican flags. Genius move.

Travel theme kids birthday cake

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

So, I went back and forth on the whole smash cake idea. I’m sorry, but $35 for a cake (and I’d need two) whose sole mission is to be destroyed and then wasted? No can do. So cupcakes instead!

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

More travel themed first birthday party ideas and details…

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

About $1 for an 8-pack on Amazon. Extra festive! Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Papel picado! Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Yeah, sangria for the grown folks at a kids’ party at 11 a.m. You know it, homies! Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Real talk: I asked my friends, “Hey, can you mess up sangria? No, right?” And they were like, “No.” So I threw a bunch of cheap white wine (I might have purchased it at Walgreen’s) together with apples and citrus, plus miscellaneous brandy that’s been floating around this house for years, as well as some kind of peach/mango-flavored club soda. And sugar. And also agave! So the agave makes it fancy because marketing. Your new mixology prodigy in the building, ladies and gentlemen.

tk

A few leftover marigolds jauntily floating in the fountain! I mean, love.

tk

Photo backdrop! That $13 pinata gave me approximately $5 gabillion in pleasure.

tk

So… funny story about these balloons. On our shopping trip, Sarah showed me a store downtown where I could get this very on-trend party decor. However, it was too early in the week to fill the balloons, so I bought them to fill later. Sarah thought “UNO” would be cute, but I liked “ONE.” So, the one time in my life I used proper judgement, I bought all four letters—U, N, O, and E—so I could have options and decide later. Well, I’d decided on the English spelling, and Sweet E’s kindly agreed to fill the balloons for me the night before the party. But it turned out the “E” was torn along the seam, darn it. But! I was like, “Hey! I have a U in my purse!” (You might be a mom if you have a U balloon in your purse.)

And with all the details in place, there was nothing left to do but celebrate these precious children in style!

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

Photo: Sean Twomey/2Me Studios

IMG_1364

Pinata time!

Oh no, that pinata was not just for show! It was filled with '90s Motorola-looking bubble cell phones, light-up marabou-trimmed tiaras, bouncing balls, plastic animals—and of course, candy. (I feared revolt if not.) Photo: Kramer Morgenthau

Oh no, that pinata was not just for show! It was filled with ’90s Motorola-looking bubble cell phones, light-up marabou-trimmed tiaras, bouncing balls, plastic animals—and of course, candy. (I feared revolt if not.) Photo: Kramer Morgenthau

Travel theme first birthday party ideas

Photo: Kramer Morgenthau

Travel theme first birthday party ideas

Photo: Kramer Morgenthau

With the pinata officially busted, the rain drops once again started to fall. It was a wrap on a priceless and memorable day surrounded by the loved ones and supporters who make our life (survivable, first of all, and) so very joyful.

Special thanks to…

Travel theme kids birthday party

…these the behind-the-scenes girls that made it all happen, with way more fun than stress. Thank you, Sarah (left) and Rachel! <3

Travel themed first birthday party resources:

Coordination/design/flowers: Sarah Granger-Twomey/PIE Productions
Sign design: Elisabeth Dubin/Kvell Studio
Cake/cupcakes: Sweet E’s Bake Shop
Taco cart: Tacos Teresa
Linens: La Tavola
Rentals: Hillcrest Party Rentals
Passport sticker books/airplane suckers/gliders/goodie bags: Oriental Trading

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7 Comments

  • Reply A Vegetarian in Austin: The 6 Best Things I Ate in Town August 4, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    […] always be a pretty princess in celebration of my birthday forevermore — even though my baby twins’ birthday now falls exactly one week […]

  • Reply sharon August 12, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    obsessed

  • Reply Yes, I Got a Push Present — and I Deserved It! August 20, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    […] My twins turned one last month, and I’ve been reflecting a lot on the way this summer feels with them on the outside compared to how it was with them on the inside last summer. Duh, it’s a lot different. […]

  • Reply Lyla G - Globetrotting Mommy September 18, 2015 at 12:55 am

    So super cute! I love everything you did!

  • Reply John September 20, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Love the blog! I can’t wait to visit these islands! Now that we finally finished our home in Studio City are going to Hawaii, thanks for the tips!

  • Reply Up Next! LAX to Colombia September 25, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    […] a hungover walk from the beach to shop for souvenirs (for instance, the shirt Jordan wore to his travel-theme first-birthday party, and the one Maya wore in this fierce pic — werk). On that slow saunter, a friend who had […]

  • Reply DIY Halloween costumes for twins: 5 lessons I learned as a rookie October 22, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    […] blogger’s easy-to-recreate post, I would be their flight attendant. (The babes did have a travel-themed first birthday party, after all, so why not keep this motif […]

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