A Nautical 1st Birthday Party…

8 07 2013

Last year, my 28th birthday was one of the best days of my life. Just hours before, I had given birth to my sweet baby boy, and on my actual birthday, many of my close friends and families came to the hospital to  meet him. I was so swept up in my own happiness that I honestly kept forgetting it was my birthday, and this year followed in much the same way. I planned his party on my actual birthday, since his fell on a weekday.

Initially inspired by a crab onesie I purchased before he was born, I came up with a red/white/blue nautical theme because his birthday falls right after the 4th of July.

Finding a slightly cuter, simpler crab online, I stenciled him onto everything – the bunting, his monogrammed birthday shirt that my mom made, the invitations I designed in PhotoShop, and lots of other decorations. I created nautical bunting using beachhouse wallpaper samples and the crab stencil I drew, stringing them together with twine I picked up in the DIY section at Wal-Mart. I made 2 strands – one for the wall, and one for the cake table:



I carefully debated how to display all of the monthly onesie pictures I’d been diligently taking all year. I had already included them in his baby book and in the slideshow we watched, but I had extra prints that I wanted to incorporate into the party decor. Then it hit me, and I scoured local antique stores and thrift shops for a vintage nautical wheel, but no luck. I found a few online, but continued my search until I found one at World Market. It was white, distressed, wooden, perfect, and $25. But I settled for a $5 plastic one at Party Starts Here to use to frame the pictures. (I also picked up a large red anchor, as well as nautical plates, napkins, and cup that were 50% off because they were part of a “bon voyage” graduation party set). I’m a little excited that I came up with this completely on my own, instead of relying on Pinterest for the idea:


On another doorway, I (admittedly, still) had the wreath I made to display our Christmas cards, so I swapped out the cards for spring-themed cards we’ve received lately. I made the wreath with wire ribbon, hot glue, sparkly silk berries, a wooden base, and clothespins.

I picked up a simple navy Chevron table runner from Etsy that would have been more expensive to make myself. I filled empty glass coffee-mix bottles with bright-red cherry sour candies and Swedish fish for a pop of red on the food table, and my husband’s grandmother gave me a gorgeous centerpiece of red, white, and blue flowers for my birthday:

ImageI rounded off the bottles with leftover twine and Lifesaver “buoys.”


My son has a whale bank that I bought at the Target dollar spot years before he was born, tucking it away until we were ready to have a family. It complimented the nautical theme perfectly, but I felt awkward with a piggie bank on the table. So I stuffed the money slot with blue tissue paper, making it look like a water spout. Most of the rest of the menu WAS inspired by Pinterest and modified:


Crabby croissants (thanks to my sister and little niece for bringing them to life just minutes before guests started arriving!)IMG_0998 …and also for assembling the red, white, and blue skewers of strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows – yum! I found the nautical tray at HomeGoods, one of my favorite stores, and I regret not buying the pair that I found. Have you ever noticed things there are typically featured in pairs?

We finished off the table with a decorative crab cookie, fancy shell chocolates, sand dollar snickerdoodle cookies, watermelon triangles, Auntie A’s yummy sweet and salty kettle corn, veggies, and chips/dip. I got all the 4th of July bowls at Michael’s for $2 after all my discounts.

IMG_1003I’ll save the birthday cake, cupcakes, and double smash cakes for another post… I am SO not a baker and did NOT like spending the first half of my birthday up to my elbows in messy icing that I find impossible to spread (despite it being homemade and yummy), but nevertheless I had faith in the process, didn’t toss it out the window like I wanted to, and was pretty pleased with the results!




5 responses

9 07 2013

impressive! i see a career in party planning in your future!

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