My sweet daughter Ally turned six last month. I say it every year, but I can’t believe she’s already another year older. Time really does fly. To celebrate her special day, we threw a Mary Poppins Tea Party at the Woodland Park Zoo Vintage Carousel.
Seattle was taken by snowstorm the entire week before her party, literally dumping snow night after night. Each morning I’d wake up hoping the snow was gone, but nope, it’d still there. The day before the party I decided I just had to go for it and pray the weatherman was really going to be right when he said it would melt by Saturday.
Lo and behold the weatherman was right for a change! The snow was melted, and Jesus even granted us a few rays of sunshine as we unpacked the car and loaded the party into the zoo. As I’m sure most of you have party people have experienced, most venues don’t allow much time for set up. The Woodland Park Zoo was one of them. It was almost a deal breaker when I recieved the zoo contract reading that you are given a half hour to set up. Yikes! So with only 30 minutes to decorate the room and tea party table, my girlfriend Nazra and I had to move fast! (Thank you Naz!)
I hadn’t planned on doing a dessert table for such a small party, but I couldn’t help it, it’s what I do. Instead of a giant cake like I’ve done in the past for my children’s birthdays, I made Ally six small cakes in different colors and textures. This was really fun to do. Of course 15 people couldn’t eat six cakes, so guests were sent home with bakery boxes filled with treats and cake! Out of all the fun desserts, my favorite had to be the spoonful of sugar cake pops!
My friend Elaine, seamstress extraordinaire, made Ally a Mary Poppins Jolly Holiday dress to wear to her party. I am literally in awe every time I ask Elaine to sew something because not only does she do it, she does it beyond my wildest dreams. I emailed her a photo, not a pattern, not instructions, nothing but a simple photo from the internet of Mary Poppin’s dress. She whipped the dress up without a hinge and little Ally looked practically perfect as Mary Poppins.
The little girls absolutely loved the party. They sipped apple juice “tea”, nibbled on way too much sugar, played musical chairs to Mary Poppins songs, balanced tea cups on their heads, rode the carousel, and fed the penguins. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect party. And to top it off, my girlfriend Molly of Molly Vaden Photography captured every detail and smile of the day.
It was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
A week after I flew down to do Simone’s 1st Birthday, it was time to celebrate Stella’s 3rd Birthday, Hello Kitty style! To be honest, I’ve never been much of a Hello Kitty fan. In fact when Tori first told me the theme I cringed a little. Character parties are not my favorite. One, because you don’t want your event to look like you robbed your local party store, and two, because it’s hard to nail a licensed character in buttercream! But hey, I’m always up for a challenge.
To keep the dessert table looking Hello Kitty AND chic at the same time, I created Hello Kitty’s Bake Shop. Lucky for me, I happen to know the most incredibly talented seamstress who was able to whip up an adorable pink and white striped awning, to mimic an old fashioned bakery. I added Hello Kitty’s signature bow to many of the desserts including the white ruffle cake, coconut topped cupcakes, banana bread bites, and even attached mini bows to the dessert name tags. Gorgeous white milk glass cake plates and compotes were used to display all of the bake shop goodies. Suddenly, as I finished dessert after dessert, little miss Hello Kitty started growing on me. And after I conquered her signature face in a cake pop and sugar cookie, I decided I kinda liked her!
By the time the awning was hung, the cake plates were placed, and each dessert was set up and ready for the party, I realized Hello Kitty might be cute after all. Not just cute, She was adorable!
As pleased as I was with how the dessert table turned out, the best part of this birthday was that I had my daughter Ally with me! Tori had invited my family to come, but I decided to make it a special trip with just Ally and I. She was such a good girl while I was working, making friends with Liam and Stella, and enjoying all Tori and Dean’s animals. When it was finally party time, she jumped in the bouncy house, was given a manicure and feather extensions, had Cinderella painted on her arm, and ate way too much sugar. And as if the party wasn’t enough excitement, afterwards we headed to The Grove in LA to shop and dine at American Girl.
Thanks Tori and my favorite little Stella McDermott for inviting me to make all the sweets at your 3rd birthday party!! Hugs!
Going back and forth last year working with Tori on her new book, I quickly became friends with Tori’s friends Scout Masterson and Bill Horn(AKA the Guncles). They adopted a gorgeous baby girl, Simone Lynn, back in 2010. I was fortunate meet Simone when she was still a tiny baby at Tori’s Back to School party in August of that year.
Time flew and suddenly it was time to start plannning Simone’s 1st Birthday. Scout called to see if I’d be up for creating Simone’s 1st Birthday cake and dessert table. As soon as he told me the theme and venue, I was more than happy to say YES! Modern Circus at the Santa Monica Pier Carousel? Cutest venue ever!! Plus of course, Scout just happens to be one of the sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. Love him!
I loved this table for so many reasons. I bounced ideas off of Scout and he was happy to let me just go for it. That’s the best. I chose a round table since the venue had an amazing rounded out corner, covered in windows. Guests could then walk around the table and eat sugar from every angle! Above the table I put together a giant cluster of pink tissue poms and paper lanterns. The table was covered in pink linens, vintage pink cake plates and compotes, and overflowing with a multitude of pink desserts. Cake lollipops, cotton candy topped cupcakes, sugar cookies shaped in circus foods, caramel apples, and gobs of perfectly colored pink candies. The two tiered pink cake was topped with a gold carousel and horses decorated with fondant. Scout did have one request, he wanted a smash cake for Simone shaped like a circus tent. Done! She dug into that thing like a pro!
The party was wonderful, from the gorgeous flowers to the adorable Sweet Lucie’s ice cream cart, and of course the most beautiful vintage carousel and Santa Monica boardwalk as a backdrop. If I lived in Ca, I’d definitely be booking a party there!
Thank you again Bill and Scout for letting me be part of such a special day! Already looking forward to sweet Simone’s 2nd birthday! xoxo!
Raise your hand if you like turquoise and pink peonies! This was such a fun shoot. It was a bit of a rush with peonies almost out of season but Stadium Flowers was able to create the most gorgeous florals just in time for this event. The combination of pink flowers and the vintage hobnail milk glass couldn’t have been more perfect.
Sadie and Josh were our darling couple. Married for 9 years and more in love than ever. Our amazing hair girl Caryn gave Sadie just the right do for this shoot. A big do. Huge. So huge I asked how much hair spray was involved. It was awesome. Terri Fields made up Sadie’s gorgeous face, and complimented her incredible wedding dress with just the right jewelry and accessories.
Sara from Less Ordinary Designs hit it out of the park again with her adorable wedding invites, guest book cards, signs and tags. Sara can do pretty much anything. If you can dream it, she can create it!
The dessert table was filled with cookies, cupcakes, cake lollipops, and a sugar crystal coated red velvet wedding cake. The table sat under an arrangement of pink and white tissue and tulle balls hung from the branches of old apple tree. Trees are such a bonus to any event, they are great for shade and keep your options open for decorating!
Table number cards were tied onto vintage seltzer bottles (found at InvenTORI), and glass jars filled with mini cookies were given to guests as take home favors. Instead of a guest book I set up an old desk and had Sara create tags for guests to write on and hang from twine strung around an old window. Sara also made darling silverware wraps, a super easy, inexpensive way to spice up table settings.
Kaylee captured the day with her magic eye and camera combo. She keeps everyone laughing by all of her gasping, making each bride feel like a super model. I’ve never had a photographer literally fall over when she saw the bride…until this shoot. She was so excited with the hair, the dress, the whole look that I guess it knocked her off her feet! She’s crazy fun.
Here is just a sample of her awesome work. To see the full post visit Kaylee’s blog.
Wedding Photography : Kaylee Eylander Photography
Dessert Table and Wedding Cake: Jenny Cookies
Concept/Event Design & Styling: Jenny Keller
Wedding Gown: From the Gown Up, Snohomish, WA
Make-Up & Bridal Styling: Embellish by Terri Fields
Flowers: Stadium Flowers
Stationary: Less Ordinary Designs
Hair: Caryn Gresli