It starts with a theme. In the case of "Madeline," it was the little birthday girl who made the selection. Then an overall style (ie classic, like right out of the pages of the storybook) is selected, and a color-scheme chosen. At that point I get to work designing the event for the client, specific to their child's likes and dislikes, the parents style and taste, the age of the child and number of guests, and a number of other factors (including their budget, and I welcome the whole spectrum!).
For the darling "Madeline" party, I knew I wanted the girls to "tour Paris" through a marketplace we would create. Different "Shoppes" would be set up featuring different activities and goodies.
I wanted special totes for the girls to take with them on their "trip" and I suggested these darling red suitcases I had seen at The Paper Source to my client (along with a few other suggestions--and she has such amazing taste, she selected these above the rest and I am so thrilled she did!), and we were able to muster up exactly enough in none other than a beautiful red, personalized with a custom printed luggage tag attached by a red satin ribbon. As the girls entered the marketplace, they were greeted by a special tote to carry with them to store all their treasures and then take home (perfect for storing art supplies, doll clothes, ballet slippers...extremely practical!)
The "Clothing Shoppe" was one of the very first shoppes that came to mind. I knew how absolutely magical it is to dress up--how as a child with a vivid imagination, it can help you feel transformed into whatever it is you want to be! And knowing that these girls love "Madeline" I knew I wanted to come up with a fabulous affordable way for each and every guest (and the birthday girl, of course!) to dress like "Madeline"--and take that costume home with them to add to their dress up chest to play "Madeline" over and over again! I had seen the traditional costumes in Halloween shops and websites, but we wanted a classic, sophisticated style, and I knew we wanted something custom and completely unique. Then the idea of the capelet was born!
I contacted an uber-creative vendor and asked if she could create for me custom little "Madeline"-inspired capelets. She said yes!
I knew I wanted the capelets to be completely made of felt, in a specific shade of blue I had in mind (a "Madeline" blue like out of her storybooks, of course!) with a white peter-pan style collar (because I knew this would match not only the classic look of "Madeline" but also the taste of my client--and I personally have always loved peter-pan style collars!)and a double-faced satin ribbon in classic red, cut on the ends with an "alligator" cut as I call it, to be tied into a big red bow.
I also wanted the pattern of these custom capelets to have rounded corners in the front--for a soft look, feminine and sweet. We also were sure to keep with a reasonable budget for these beauties.
I gave my vendor all of these incredibly specific details of my vision, and she created those absolutely darling capelets for my client just as I requested--and they were fabulous favors for the party, and a true hit with all the guests (not to mention the birthday girl who didn't want to take hers off!). I should also mention the vendor did this during the busiest holiday season--I am so grateful for her kindness in doing that order--she went above and beyond and created exactly what I had described--such a treat!
I wanted to take it another step further--and had custom tags created, each custom printed with an individual child's name on them (from the guest list), and attached to the capelet with a little gold safety pin.
I have recognized children tend to really appreciate something with their name on it--a favor is fascinating enough, but when personalized--it brings a joy on their faces that is priceless!
We wanted a hat or hair accessory to match--what about a darling big bow, like "Madeline" wears in her story books? So I had selected a style bow and had those made (also in a beautiful red satin), and couldn't resist having them attached to personalized tags for the girls as well. The Clothing Shoppe was absolutely one of my favorites!
For the "Flower Shoppe" I knew I wanted an activity, and thought of France and some of their most famous people--artists! And what did they paint? Flowers! I had this vision of little white canvases and some way for the children to create their own floral masterpiece. It took some brainstorming to come up with something that wasn't messy, easy enough for the age group of the children at the party--and I was saved by tissue and paper flowers. Each was backed with an adhesive, and every child was given their own personalized pouch of flowers to use to create their masterpiece (same number, color and kind of flowers--because we don't want any unhappy little girls in France!).
Again, I wanted the canvases to be personalized, and also easy for the client to identify what canvas belonged to which guest--so we had custom tags created and adhered to the back of each canvas--also a special memory of their experience at the party! We made sure they fit in the little red suitcases just right(barely!)which made it easier for the children to bring home with them.
The "Candy Shoppe" is something I have a soft spot for. I have admired French pastry boutiques, and old fashioned candy shops. I also LOVE created custom candy buffets, and this was a blast to design.
Custom candy signs were a must, attached with pretty matching ribbons, and all the candies were carefully selected in the color-scheme of the party. We wanted the traditional old fashioned clear glass apothecary jars, and it made for a stunning appearance. Those old fashioned candy ribbons and swirled lollipops were among my personal favorites, and the jellied lemon slices and rock candy were absolutely dazzling.
The "Book & Toy Shoppe" was another great activity station for the children that was simple to set up and age-appropriate with little mess!
Then we wanted a couple of custom "Madeline" games. There was "Madeline, May I?" and "Hot Madeline"--and of course Musical Chairs while reading excerpts from the birthday girl's favorite Madeline tales...I have always been a fan of the classic party games, they always seem to please!
The greatest game of all, was a custom "pin the tail on Genevieve" game.
Custom invitations and wording were selected to really set the theme and build the excitement about the party.
The cake, oh, the cake. I had several visions for this that I loved, the client selected one of my favorites--the yellow fondant "Madeline" hat with the red fondant ribbon and bow--it served as the most beautiful centerpiece!
And the tablescape...I knew it should look like "Madeline"'s dining hall. Long table, white cloth table linens, candelabras...oh, it turned out to be divine! My line of red melamine plates and tumblers were perfect against the crisp white custom rick rack trimmed napkins. Two arrangements of French yellow tulips added that pop of yellow against on of my custom made table runners in a beautiful "Madeline" blue. And the client had these fabulous red candlesticks, and the perfect gorgeous classic dining room. We made sure to have assigned seating with custom place cards so there would be no arguments over who got to sit next to the birthday girl.
And for the hanging decorations: Those fun tissue poms (I don't know who created those in the first place, but boy were they ever talented!!!) in reds and yellows and a splash of blue, because they brought the color-scheme up to the ceiling, and really gave a pop of color to the room. Of course, I custom fabric bunting needed to decorate the "Paris Marketplace" giving it a festive feel and bringing the color-scheme to the walls and ceiling above the girls. It was perfect, created of charming little flags, created a perfectly polished look.
For the menu, I gave the client a variety of options, and croissants with ham and cheese was her choice--and a PERFECT one at that! I must say, it is always lovely to work with clients with such kindness, flexibility, style, grace--I was incredibly fortunate to have worked with this charming woman, and I look forward to her daughter's party next year...already brainstorming themes!
I hope this was a fun read, and a little insight into how these parties come to life. My mind almost never stops, I constantly am thinking of how to create the next event, and how to make it stylish, creative, imaginative, and truly extraordinary.
Thank you for reading this post!!!!