Oaklyn's Third Birthday Party

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
After throwing Oaklyn's first birthday party, I realized how much I love party planning!
It's so fun to come up with ways to make your vision come to life. 
I love the planning, the crafting, the installing, the party itself, and oddly enough I even love taking it all down!
There's just something so fun about completely transforming a space.
I had planned on throwing Oaks a second birthday party but there were so many contributing factors that made it just not happen. 
We were living with Hunter's grandma at the time so we didn't have a place to do it, I was pregnant with Cam and feeling sick most of the time, Hunter's job caused him to work weird and unexpected hours so planning anything wasn't possible... it just seemed like way too much work for a little party.
I also really liked the theme I was going for and didn't want to waste it on a little party I just threw together, ha!
So, I started collecting decorations over time and decided we would just do a super fun third birthday party!
I was so excited when we found out we were moving back home because my parents have the perfect yard for throwing parties.
There is tons of space and it's super open. It made planning the party really fun!
I was pretty shocked at how many people sent messages wondering where I got a lot of the decor and how I put it all together so I figured I would just try to knock that all out in this post! 
If I forget anything, don't hesitate to ask :)

Okay, so a few people asked what my steps are to throwing parties and staying organized. I'll be honest in saying I could definitely work on being more organized, but so far this is what helps me to get it all done and stay on top of what needs to be done. It's also just how my brain works ;)

First, I always sit down and write out the different categories that need to be taken care of for each party. These categories will vary based on party. Sometimes I like a photo booth, I always do invites but sometimes they are evites and other times they are hard copies, sometimes there needs to be a food and a dessert table, other times just a drink and snack table, sometimes there will be an activity station, most of the time there's tables and chairs which requires centerpieces... every party is different. So, sit down and write out the categories giving yourself some space under each one. Once you have all your categories written out, start writing what you need to prepare or buy for each. For example, I had an ice cream station at Oaklyn's party so it looked like this:
Ice cream parlor:
-6 ft table
-wood awning and fabric
-tassle banner
-ice cream cone cutouts
-custom sign
-ice cream

There was a little more that went into it but that gives you a general idea. Next to each of the things I need I write down where I can find them. So I'll write a store or the person I'm borrowing it from. That helps me make a list of all the stores I need to go to and what I need to get from each store. 

Next up I try to map out what the party space will look like since I'm a very visual person. This helps me get a clear idea of what will work in each space and helps me delegate what each person setting up needs to do. It gives them an idea of what the space needs to look like without having to ask me a trillion questions. So I'll create a hand drawn map on paper and draw what each station, table, etc looks like. 

Once all of that is said and done... I shop, craft, do mock ups of each station and separate decor by boxes. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun work!

Okay, now on to Oaklyn's party and all the decor for it!

Let's start with the Entrance!
I wanted to make it obvious to people that I wanted them to go through the gate. I found the "party" balloon from Party City and they had the little bunting banner too. You can attach the banner to any letter balloons. I thought it was pretty cool! I got lucky and found that giant balloon with the tassle attached from the Target dollar section. I got it inflated the day before the party and it stayed very well inflated. The chalkboard is from my sister in law but I saw some cute ones at Hobby Lobby! When people walked in I had balloons on balloon sticks lining the walkway. I loved the fun touch it added and how it was very simple to do but added so much! The pastel balloons are from Party City and the balloon sticks are from Hobby Lobby.

The first thing all the kids saw when they walked in was the big castle bounce house! The kids seriously went crazy over this thing! And, I'd be lying if I said just the kids loved it... the adults had a blast on it too! Honestly, this bounce house may have been the best part of the party. I toyed with the idea of face painting or just a craft station but Oaklyn is obsessed with trampolines so I couldn't shake the idea of a bounce house. I looked on Yelp to find trustworthy companies and Beach City Jumpers had raving reviews. Literally every single person had a good experience so I knew I didn't need to look any further! Kyle, the owner, was incredibly easy to work with and made the experience a breeze. He took care of the delivery, the install, and the take down completely by himself. He did it quickly and easily and it was awesome knowing I didn't have to worry about that element at all. He was really easy to get in touch with and always had a prompt response. He seriously gets 6 out 5 stars for customer service! He brought the princess castle combo and it was adorable. I honestly don't know if I've seen Oaklyn so excited before haha! The jumper was super clean and in great shape. The kids and adults loved bouncing around and the slide was SO much fun! People were on it the entire time laughing and having a blast. It's important to make sure your guests have something to do at parties and I highly recommend a bounce house from Beach City Jumpers! You'll be impressed with his customer service and your party guests will have a blast! 

Another part of the party that was favored by the guests was the food! I did Oaklyn's party right during lunch time so I figured lunch should be served. I wanted something that was loved by all ages and Chick-Fil-A was perfect! I have loved Chick-Fil-A for as long as I can remember. There is a clear difference in taste between Chick-Fil-A and other fast food restaurants. Whenever I eat there, I leave feeling satisfied instead of uncomfortable. I also can taste and see the difference in their white meat, fresh made fries, salad options, and of course the exceptional service! I remember craving Chick-Fil-A constantly growing up. The combination of the crispy chicken and the classic Chick-Fil-A sauce never got old to me. It has been one of my biggest cravings with both pregnancies and I have now passed along my love for Chick-Fil-A to Oaklyn ;) My local Chick-Fil-A here in San Diego is located in San Marcos and let me tell you, they are hands down the best. I may be a bit biased but I'm pretty darn sure I'm right! I went to high school here and noticed how they served the community SO much. It was amazing how they were at so many local events, charities, and fundraisers. They were so involved with the high schools and created tons of fun events and traditions with us. There was nothing better than seeing tons of original sandwiches after a pep-rally! They donated funds to the schools and always made sure they had a safe place for the kids to hangout. Now as a mom, I love it just as much! They have cute little events for families and their staff is as friendly as ever. So when I say they are the best, I seriously mean it! Okay back to the party... We had an array of the yummiest things on the menu for guests to choose from. Seriously you guys, every single thing was SO good and I tried new things that I didn't even know were on the menu! There were Grilled Chicken Cool Wraps, A large Fruit Salad, 2 large mixed salads, Superfood Side, Original Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches, A tray of nuggets, their amazing lemonade, sweet tea, and allllll of the amazing sauces and salad dressings! If you've never tried a Cool Wrap with the Avocado Lime Ranch and a superfood side, you are seriously missing out! It was all so good and there was something for everyone to love! Their catering is so easy, convenient, and quick and I promise all of your guests will be thrilled! It was also so much fun to have their baby cow make an appearance and wish Oaklyn a happy birthday! Oaks had the biggest smile on her face and all the kids thought it was so fun! As far as the decor goes for the food table, I found the pinwheels in the dollar section at Target last year! I was so excited! They are also super easy to make though. There are several tutorials on Pinterest! I made the banner with my Cricut and the pastel paper is from Hobby Lobby. If you don't have a Cricut, I highly suggest getting one! This banner was so easy to make and was exactly what I wanted! The plates an napkins are from Walmart, the chalkboard was also found in the Target dollar section, and there were a few mason jars with baby's breath in them! The miscellaneous baskets and bowls are just from inside my mom's house ;)

Next up, let's head to the cake table! The gold foil balloons spell out "Oaklyn Turns Three" but the H got punctured by Hunter and didn't fully survive haha! The balloons are from Northstar balloons and can actually be found at several craft and party stores! I'm obsessed with gold foil balloons. They just require air instead of helium, they are easily hung because they weigh nothing, you can spell out anything, they are big so they take up a good amount of space, and they are just fun! The sprinkle plastic tablecloth is from Target in their party section and it was pretty cheap too! The cake stands are a combination of friend's and family's so I have no idea where they are actually from. The cupcakes were funfetti flavored with a maple buttercream and were a huge hit! I made both those and the cake two days in advance. I frosted the cake the day before and the cupcakes like 5 minutes before haha. The cake topper was found in the Target dollar section last year. I'm telling you, their dollar section was awesome last year! It could also be easily made with a Cricut!

I'm titling this picture "it takes a village hahaha"

Moving right along to the ice cream parlor! When I first thought of this theme, I envisioned a cute little awning that looked like a little ice cream shoppe. I had a cheap little idea on how to make it work and my dad vetoed it and told me he was going to make the awning structure. Keep in mind, this was only one week before the party! I honestly have no idea how he built it, but he did such a good job and I was just so happy with it! My mom painted the wood white and my sister in law already had the striped fabric cut into a scalloped awning. It was a little short up top so last minute we attached some white fabric and it was a little worrisome there for a minute... but it all came together beautifully and i just loved it! I used my cricut to cut out the ice cream cone shapes on card stock and we stuck those along the awning structure. I found the tassle garland in the Target dollar section. (seriously guys, never underestimate the dollar section!) I made the sign in photoshop then printed it at Costco as a 20x30. I then used mod podge to stick it to a foam poster board but didn't smooth it out so it has some bubbles but in the long run, that doesn't matter... right? Or so my husband tells me ;) The tiered stand was borrowed from my sister in law and we displayed waffle cones, sugar cones, and the ice cream bowls also found in the dollar spot! I stuck the ice cream in a large tin drink holder (also borrowed) with a ton of ice so it stayed cold during the party. We also had toppings and just let guests create their own ice cream sundaes!

Next up, let's talk about the centerpieces! When serving a meal, you absolutely need somewhere for people to comfortably sit and eat. I used rectangle tables because we knew enough people that had some that we didn't have to rent any. My mom had white tablecloths already as well! I rented the white chairs from a local party supply company and got a few extra just to set up around the party area. In the middle of each table I placed fabric squares in pastel colors. Then we added a regular sized mason jar with a waffle cone in the middle and baby's breath inside of it to go along with the ice cream theme. The surrounding jars were just half filled with sprinkles. It was a super easy and simple centerpiece but was also super cute!

I think that covers it! For this party I chose not to do a photobooth and honestly kind of forgot about a gift table, haha! But, I think it all came together well! There was minimal stressing involved this time around (Oaklyn's first birthday required way too much set up so that was stressful!) and was overall just fun! Let me know if you have any other questions! :)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

1 comment

  1. How lovely 3rd birthday bash it was. It is so fun to see how the adults also had a great time on the jumping castle. These photos truly brought the smile to my face. Anyways, I also need to host the wonderland themed party for my son and have to find one of the Los Angeles venues for that. Can you suggest suitable location?