As you probably know Adelina turned 1 in June and we celebrated in a big way on Father’s Day surrounded by close friends and family! Today, I want to share intimate details from the party from the décor to candid moments and all the festivities that went on like a traditional Korean ceremony called Doljabi and Smash Cake which was the highlight of the day! For anyone looking to plan a 1 year birthday I hope Adelina’s party would bring some magical inspiration!
Photography: Better Sweet Photography
Ever since I was pregnant I was already planning Adelina’s first birthday in my mind but it definitely got a lot bigger than I first imagined. Originally I wasn’t going to have a planner and was just going to have a small intimate gathering and coordinate the décor myself because I love to plan parties and host! However with Adelina and blogging, I just didn’t have the time so I left everything with only three months left to plan and I didn’t even have a venue or photographer! So in a panic, I contacted some venues and to my surprise booked a place with my initial budget but somehow that didn’t work out (don’t ask) and I was getting incredibly stressed out! With little time and the venue not responding about confirmation, I decided I needed a planner and found Sarah from Taffete Designs on the internet and she was so sweet and we clicked immediately:) Right away Sarah took over and tried to contact the venue for me but in the end we decided to move back to the Shaughnessy Restaurant at VanDusen instead. Funny how things work out because my original vision was to have Adelina’s birthday there but the budget at that time didn’t allow for it but I am so glad we decided to spend more on a venue we loved!
Moving onto the décor, I’ve been obsessed unicorns and really wanted that to be the main theme for baby’s party. However, I didn’t like a lot of the unicorn parties I saw on the internet and wanted something more subtle, whimsy and botanical because we were at a garden. From the balloon garland to the floral to the desert table and stationery and even my e-invites everything was custom and aligned with the color schemed of white, pink, peach hints of gold (always) and green and of course a unique unicorn design. I really felt like this party was a mini version of our wedding in 2012, which wasn’t my intention at all but somehow it turned out that way and it was echoed by all the guests!
When guests first arrived they were greeted by a custom welcome sign and seating chart draped in simple greenery and long tables adorned with flower garlands by Heather from Peonies Fine Flowers. She was able to come in last minute and worked on a certain budget and her beautiful work really made all the difference. She also provided greenery for the balloon garland, dessert table, highchair, my favour table with Aveeno and of course the GORGEOUS flower crowns you saw in the beginning! As guests head to the back patio they saw an amazing dessert table with a giant installation of balloons which served as the backdrop for family photos, balloon twisting and smash cake. Now I have to talk more about my custom unicorn cake because it was such a unique concept that Sarah came up with. At first I was showing her tons of photos of these unicorn cakes from Pinterest but it didn’t really fit my budget. So then she suggested to me a naked cake with unicorn details and said its hasn't been done that much before and I was sold and absolutely LOVED the idea. To complete the cake, I thought it would be cute to add gold eyelashes because it really wouldn't be a unicorn cake without them. This earl grey and vanilla cake was so good and people were telling me how much they loved the flavour. We also had some cupcakes and square unicorn and unicorn 1 cookies which were also delicious and so cute and connected the theme wonderfully .
Candid moments are what these occasions are all about and that's why we have these celebrations! Special moments from the party were captured by MJ & Donny from Better Sweet Photography whom I found very last minute looking for Doljabi photos (explained later) and also that's where I found Heather for the flowers! MJ & Donny were able to come in last minute and worked on my budget which I really appreciated and not only that they were Korean and understood the Doljabi element. Of course they don't just capture Korean parties they are published photographers that does weddings of all cultures and occasions but it was just a bonus that they were Korean and understood the tradition! I also loved them because they were very laid back but incredibly professional and organized at the same time. A few times when we couldn't take a photo due to time constrain, MJ would remind me to take these photos I had originally planned in our brief and I am glad she did because during the day it was so hectic that you forget so much. So I am thankful she was so on top of everything in just making sure I had all the moments that I wanted to capture and now I have these photos that will last forever.
traditional elements & smash cake
In Korea, a child's first birthday is called Doljanchi and the highlight of the first birthday is the Doljabi, which is a tradition where the child is placed in front of various objects (usually 6-8) and are encouraged to grab one or two of the items to signal their potential career choice later on. So for example, Adellina picked the tambourine which metaphorically speaking means that she will be a musical genius or kpopstar Lol. At first I was contemplating a lot if I should include this element into the party but I am so glad I did because it added something so special and everyone enjoyed seeing her have fun with the toys and wearing the cute hanbok which was provided MJ & Donny actually and you can rent it from them too which is so nice and convenient. I really wanted to include this Korean element in the party because I thought it was really important that she honour her Korean roots and it was just so fun and I didn't expected it to be so well received or the fact that she was so well-behaved. She changed a total of FOUR times during the party and she barely fussed which I am so blown away by. Perhaps it was because there was a lot of things going around and she was distracted or she knew it was her birthday party that she decided to mellow out and just enjoy the good times even though it was way pass her nap time. Whatever it was I am thankful :)
From the moment I walked in and seeing all the décor come to life, all the nervousness and butterflies I felt the night before vanished immediately. There were so many memorable moments like taking family photos with our flower crowns in the garden before guests arrived, to the open bar (which my husband insisted on for his friends but oddly nobody got too drunk) and mimosas that greeted the guests (my idea!), to seeing the kids playing and crawling with their unicorn balloons in the patio, to Adelina smashing her birthday cake (event is called smash cake) which I highly recommend every parent to do because it was just the cutest thing and Adelina loved it so much she just kept playing and playing and made for a perfect finale to the party. But of course nothing brings me more joy than seeing people have fun and enjoying themselves. ALL the kids behaved, nobody had a fit, nobody cried or had to leave early and everybody was mingling, drinking and just staying till we can’t stay no more haha. This party turned out to be so much better than I imagined and I am so happy how everything worked out so well.
So my biggest tip for parents hoping to plan a 1 year old party (learning from my mistakes) is to start planning earlier (at least six months) and make sure to book at least the photographer and venue first. Also make sure to have a couple of activities especially for the kids because they need some stimulation or have space for them to play in when you are looking for a venue. And if it all fails, you can try to hire Sarah and just focus like I did on getting dressed, getting Adelina ready for the party and getting there on time and just not have to worry about anything else because it's going to be a hectic day.
WHEN ITS ALL SAID AND DONE...
To be honest a first birthday is really for the parents to celebrate us surviving the first year of parenthood! I have to tell you being a parent was nothing like I could have imagined no matter how many stories, books or videos you see, it all that goes out the door once that baby arrives. That brings me to probably to the highlight of the party for me was when the waiter came with a piece of the cake for us to sing happy birthday to her! I"m not sure what is was but at that moment I just burst out crying I just couldn't contain the emotions I was holding in! Maybe because I can't believe she's one and singing that made me feel like I've done good not just planning a party for her but for raising her and all the love, support and help I have received and the tough times we have all endured.
To conclude this post, I want to THANK all the vendors I've worked with especially Better Sweet Photography who stayed later to make sure I got every moment I need, to Peonies Fine Flowers for providing all the beautiful florals for the party and Sarah the principal planner of Taffete for the many calls, texts and emails we've had to make and for providing some props to make this party happen the way it did. Also I like to thank Aiden, the day of coordinator for making sure every detail was perfect and for meeting with me for a site visit. Lastly, I like to Thank Aveeno who sponsored the products for Adelina's birthday adding that last touch I needed. And of course I have to thank my family and friends for always showing love and in making her birthday so memorable! Till the next one....
Event Planning: Taffete Designs
Decor & Stationary : Taffete Designs
Cake & Cookies & Cupcakes: Taffete Contact
Floral: Peonies Fine Flowers
Photography: Better Sweet Photography
Favours: Aveeno (Thank you)
Adelina's Dress: Little Twinkle (Thank you)
Flower Crown: Peonies Fine Flowers
So Adelilna my precious daughter, I hope you can read this one day and know how much love was poured into this day. You are such a vibrant child full of energy and we love that about YOU don't ever change. Grow up healthy and happy my darling and I hope you have enjoyed your special day. Happy Birthday mommy & daddy, grandma and grandpa loves you forever and always.
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