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.
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…
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.
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?
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.)
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.
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!
More travel themed first birthday party ideas and details…
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.
And with all the details in place, there was nothing left to do but celebrate these precious children in style!
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 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