Let's start with the invitation and decor.
When I found out I was expecting twin boys, I immediately started to think about the nursery and what I would do with it. I knew I wanted it to be a fishing theme, since my husband loves to fish and couldn't stop talking about all the trips he and his boys would be making on the new bass boat he suddenly needed to own. Steve is from the Midwest and I'm a very proud Southerner, so as I started to think about the theme, and the different elements I wanted to incorporate in it, the Mississippi River sprung to mind and then naturally....Mark Twain and his 2 famous boys...Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. It was perfect! Two mischievous boys who love to fish on the great river that connects my part of the country to my husband's. Nothing could be a better fit. I started looking for fabric and literally stumbled on TS/HF fabric on EBay. It was fantastic! And it served as my inspiration for the nursery.
Fast forward a year and the boys' first birthday was quickly approaching. I had always wanted to carry the TS/HF theme into their birthday parties - esp their 1st - but I just couldn't get started. I am event planner, this is what I do, but I was stumped. I needed some inspiration and I just couldn't find it. So I decided to put the theme off and go with something I could do easily - a circus. It was almost too easy. And I wasn't thrilled about it at all. I like new and innovative ideas and a circus theme just wasn't working for me. I knew it would be ridiculously cute, but it wouldn't have the same oomph a TS/HF party would.
I found Kate Landers online during one of my Google searches for children parties. I fell head over heels for her work. The Madeleine party almost made me wish for a girl. It was gorgeous. I started following Kate on Twitter. And then one day she announced she was giving a couture party away. It occurred to me that if anyone could spark my imagination, she could. I entered and won. I was super excited to work with her.
The theme is tough and a little daunting, but Kate dove right in. She even watched the original movies. As her ideas started to come in, I was not just sparked, I was lit up! Just as I was hoping, Kate's ideas were incredibly creative and they served as just the right inspiration I needed to make this party unique and one-of-a-kind. I spent the next month pulling it all together, working with some incredible vendors and taking advantage of family vacation locales to look for the perfect elements. To my great excitement, I found more of the TS/HF fabric I had fallen in love with and used in the nursery! I couldn't believe it. And once more, it was in a different color scheme - green, brown, cream and red - my exact colors for the party! I knew then we could pull this off. Things were falling together so perfectly!
I wanted every detail of this party to be theme-appropriate. A major pet-peeve of mine is having a theme and it not be carried throughout the event. So I was determined that everything from the invitations to the food to the activities and all in between relate back to TS & HF.
After an exhaustive search for burlap invitations, I came to the conclusion that I was just going to have to make them myself. Nole, of the Oh So Beautiful Paper blog, suggested I stitch burlap to card stock. Great idea! Except for one small issue - I don't sew and I don't own a sewing machine.
So I had to come up with Plan B.
Wood was going to be a major element in the party given Huck's raft, so I decided to glue burlap to thin pieces of balsa wood and attach the printed invitation to it. Kate found the fishing silhouette, but it was originally a single boy, so I had a graphic designer create the mirror image motif to reflect the twins. With Kate's help, the wording was taken care of and I found a great font online. The paper was found at Michael's and a local printer printed them for me.
Inspired by Kate's to-die-for Woodland Fairy party, I wanted the buffet table to mimic a riverbank. I used a chocolate linen to represent the muddy waters of the Mississippi and a burlap topper to represent the sand. We filled the table with grass and cattail arrangements my mother made and river rocks. I found a catfish, bass and bullfrog stuffed animals at Bass Pro Shops that I thought would give the table a whimsical feel. This is a party for little boys, after all! I found all of the old serving pieces in an antique store in Chickamauga, GA, a small town outside Chattanooga, TN, where we vacationed this summer.
For beverages, we served lemonade, milk, chocolate milk, sweet tea, lemonade & vodka and beer.
I really wasn't enthralled with the idea of tables and chairs. Seemed boring to me, almost too practical. I had used hay bales at past events and loved the look. I knew it fit perfectly and I came up with the concept of a "hay couch". Would give people a place to sit and set their drinks down, plus they'd be low to the ground for the kids. It also gave me a great palette with which to use the glorious fabric! I also found all the old blue Ball jars, lanterns and jugs in the antique stores of Chickamauga and Ellijay, GA, another stop on the family vacation.
The dessert table was a blast to put together! Inspired by my inquiry about burlap invitations, Nole blogged about other burlap items she'd come across and loved. One was custom burlap pennant banners. I fell head over heels in love. I contacted the artist through her Etsy shop and she was able to make a banner for the boys AND she handpainted the silhouette onto a pennant, as well. It turned out beautifully! More to come on the dessert table.
I think it deserves it's own post. Don't you?
All photo credit goes to Inga Finch of Inga Finch Photography.