Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kate Landers' Children's Party Design Advice Mini Series: Part Three

Welcome to Part Three of my Children's Party Design Advice Mini Series!!!

                               {image by Kory Chase via Cupcakes and Lemonade}

Just a friendly reminder, for anyone who may just now be popping in on this series: I am here to share with you my personal and professional advice on children's party design, giving you the very best I have to offer from my own experience! Please note that none of this advice should be taken as "expert" or authoritative. Hopefully you can enjoy it!

                             {image by Stephanie of AZFosterFam}

Today I am thrilled to cover a very important part of children's party design: Decorations.

                                        {image via Joy and Me}

After having shared my thoughts and ideas on coming up with and implementing a party theme (Part One), as well as using printable details within your party (Part Two), I am here to discuss a fun and important aspects of children's party design: Decorations.

                           {image by Mihaja Photography via Sweet Cheek Crafts}

I enlisted the help of some of my readers on facebook to share some fabulous photos to use as visuals throughout the post. THANK YOU to everyone who shared.

                   {image via Pink With Purple Sprinkles}

I wish I could use every photo, unfortunately I don't have enough hours in the day to upload and post each...but I hope that you will share your amazing work on your own blogs if you haven't already, because your parties and pictures are all SO inspiring!

                                         {image via Lou and Jane}

Decorations serve MANY purposes, such as...

                                    {image via Project Nursery}

{Decorating the birthday cake}

                                    {image via Southern Belle's Charm}

{Decorating the vertical space (hanging decorations)}

                                                 {image via The Caterbury Place}

{Decorating the kids party table or dessert table}

                                                          {image by Open Shade Studios}

{Decorating the tableware}

{Decorating the party favor packaging}

                          {Image by Mihaja Photography via Sweet Cheeks Crafts}

The list goes on and on!

                             {image by Mihaja Photography via Sweet Cheek Crafts}

Decorating has been an incredibly fun and creative aspect of children's party design for me personally. You can purchase, create and design decorations to adorn your child's party in so many ways.

{image and cake by Just Call Me Martha}

I would like to share with you an example of each of the types of decorations above, and tell you a bit about what purpose they have served in the events and shoots I have designed.

1) Decorating The Birthday Cake {Or Cupcakes!}

-A traditional birthday cake can be a symbol of celebration for the birthday child and all of their guests. It can represent the fact that the day is special.

{image via Me and My Insanity}

-While the birthday cake serves its very own special purpose, it can also be used to reinforce your color scheme and theme of the party--even serve as a centerpiece, a decoration in and of itself.

                                           {image via Southern Belle's Charm}

-Many of my favorite childhood memories are of my birthday cakes.

My mom always allowed me to accompany her to the bakery to select the cake design, choosing my favorite colors and decorations. I loved that.

                                {image by Sharon Nicole Photography via Pink With Purple Sprinkles}

-Special birthday candles, a special custom made cake topper, edible decorations or a beautiful pedestal or cake stand can make your cake not only a tasty sweet treat, but a memorable one.

{image by Sandi.B.Photography via The Little Bird Says}

-I have often used a simple white frosted birthday cake from a grocery store or bake shop (sometimes I cover it in fondant), and decorated it with edible details (like "sea urchins" for the Mystical Mermaid {Signature Party})...

                                       {image by Open Shade Studios}

... or a fun cake topper (such as the adorable Dorothy party circle from The TomKat Studio for The Wizard Of Oz Party Shoot).

                        {image by Open Shade Studios}

-The bottom line is that the cake does not have to be elaborate or highly customized to be stunning, decorative and memorable {of course, it can be elaborate if you want it to be!}!

                                          {image and cake by Just Call Me Martha}

2. Decorating The Vertical Space {Hanging Decorations}

-In creating an "experience" for the birthday child and their guests, I love to bring decorations above just eye-level. This can help create a scene and make the party seem more "magical".

                                        {image via Martha Stewart}

-There are many traditional items I recommend. You can use:

a) paper lanterns (which I LOVE because  you can flatten, store, and re-use!)...

                                   {image via Beau-Coup}
 b) paper tissue poms...

 c) streamers (a new trend is to ruffle them or add glitter!)...

                               {image via How Does She?}

d)  festooning...

e) balloons (children often love these, and the new giant circle balloons fill up your ceiling fast!)...

                                             {image via Brilliant Bash}

f) bunting (a personal favorite, especially in fabric so you can re-purpose as a decoration in the child's bedroom or playroom)...

g) personalized banners (a fun way to personalize the party space)...

And some less traditional items that have had a truly extraordinary effect are:

a) Chandeliers (such as seen in my Mystical Mermaid {Signature Party} photos)...I love using decorations from home, giving them a chance to shine and be appreciated in a whole new light!

{Image by Open Shade Studios}

b) Tulle...either as tulle poms as seen in my Nutcracker Suite Ballet {Signature Party}...

... or draping from a canopy as seen in my Mystical Mermaid {Signature Party}--which children are under the canopy, they can feel as if they are under the ocean waves, transported to a different place!

                                           {Image by Open Shade Studios}

 I also have a Safari Party Design using mosquito nets that really help create the experience for the guests, and have a dramatic visual effect!

c) Curtains...think kitchen window treatments as seen in the Wizard of Oz Party Shoot....

                                     {Image by Open Shade Studios}

...or tiered ruffled shower curtains, as seen in my Mystical Mermaid {Signature Party} as a "ocean waves" backdrop for the dessert table.

                                       {Image by Open Shade Studios}

The key is to think outside the box. You can mix traditional party decorations with non-traditional ones. 

{Example: All yellow birthday party? Fill the entire ceiling with hanging yellow paper lanterns of 2-3 varying sizes...I mean FILL the ceiling....will create a truly stunning effect}.

3) Decorating The Kids Party Table or Dessert Table

                                      {image via Rice}

I find this to be a great opportunity to help reinforce your theme and color-scheme.

Some examples are....

a) Candlesticks...perfect for my "Madeline" party as seen here... well as my Mystical Mermaid {Signature Party} as seen here...

                                 {image by Open Shade Studios}

and here...

               {image by Open Shade Studios}

 They would also be beautiful for a royal princess party, a mystical wizard party, a pirate many themes!

                                      {image by Open Shade Studios}

b) Table Linens...a quick transformation of your table.

Simply put, fabric table linens can remind children of being at a "fancy restaurant" and immediately give them a feeling that the event is important.

You can use linens to reinforce your color scheme...

                                               {image via Martha Stewart}

...or show off the fabric pattern you turned into a theme (as seen in my Gingham Party Shoot)...

c) Centerpieces can be visually stunning, and give both children and adults something to admire.

                              {image by Sandi.B.Photography via The Little Bird Says}

The sea glass bottles doubled as a party favor and centerpiece in my Mystical Mermaid {Signature Party}...

...and the yellow hat cake made the perfect centerpiece for the "Madeline" party...

d) As mentioned yesterday, printed details can decorate a dessert table in a flash!

                               {image by Open Shade Studios}

I love the gingham straw flags as seen here...

e) Items from Nature! Sounds funny, I know, but it has helped reinforce themes for my events, such as...

...the driftwood on the dessert table from the Mystical Mermaid {Signature Party}...

                                      {image by Open Shade Studios} well as the wooden "trays" and tall grass and twigs for the Woodland Fairy dessert table...

...and don't forget the wreath above the kids table for the Woodland Fairy party as well!

I could go on and on. I recommend using items from thrift shops, houseware boutiques, craft stores...and don't forget to check your own home to find beautiful items for your party!

4) Decorating The Tableware

This can be done easily, but is time-consuming! You can reinforce your theme and color-scheme by adding a few special elements here.

Examples for you would be:

a) adding personalized stickers to paper cups as seen here...

...or labels used for napkin rings, as shown here...

b) don't forget place cards....

                                 {image by Open Shade Studios}

c) ...or personalized pottery (these beauties by our preferred sponsor Magnolia Creative!)...

{which serves as tableware for the child to eat on, a place card to show the child where their special seat is, and a party favor to take home!} as seen in my Nutcracker Suite Ballet {Signature Party}...

d) Remember those straw flags mentioned above? They are great to not only decorate the table, but also serve as place cards and help children remember which beverage is theirs!!!

5) Decorating The Party Favor Packaging

If you love details, this is a wonderful creative outlet for you!

                            {image by Sharon Nicole Photography via Pink With Purple Sprinkles}

Party favors can be simple. The packaging can make them look simply devine!

                                   {image via Pretend, Party & Play}

Here are a few ideas I would love to share with you!

a) Personalized favor tags tied onto wands with streaming raw silk ribbons make simple woodland fairy wands magical!

b) Gingham favor cartons personalized with the child's name helps them know which treats are just for them.

c) Costume tags are helpful in making sure children get their proper size, seen with the Wizard of Oz Party Shoot apron tags here...

                                     {tags by The TomKat Studio; image by Open Shade Studios}

...or the Wizard of Oz Party Shoot ruby slippers here {names on back}...

                             {tags by TomKat Studio; image by Open Shade Studios}

...and of course the "Madeline" party capelets and hair bows seen here...

...One must not forget the beautiful gift tags by Jennifer Birkhead Designs... seen on the packages of tutus from the Nutcracker Suite Ballet {Signature Party} here...

...simple "utilitarian" ice cream scoops become stylish with personalized tags and ribbons as seen here...

Oh, so many options!!!

As a re-cap of today's post:

1. Decorations adorn birthday cakes, cupcakes, tableware, dessert and party tables, walls and ceilings, party favors and so much more.

2. There are several types of decorations, both traditional (such as balloons, streamers, bunting and paper lanterns) as well as non-traditional items (like driftwood, mosquito nets and chandeliers) that can really help reinforce your theme and create a magical experience for your guests.

3. Decorating the kids table and dessert table can be a wonderful creative outlet, as well as a chance to reinforce your theme and color-scheme.

4. You can decorate your tableware with personalized stickers, place cards, using personalized pottery, or ribbons and fabrics.

5. Even the simplest party favor can look stylish wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied with ribbon, or decorated with personalized tags.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, and stay tuned for Part Four, the final part of this series, tomorrow.

                                                      {image via Country Living}


Heather - Chickabug said...

Just LOVELY, Kate! And so inspiring! : )

Candy and Cake said...

Have loved reading this series of yours...great hearing real tips from a real party professional who has created some amazing parties! They are all so magical!

Nicole @ Tradewind Tiaras said...

No need to be so demure, Kate! You've clearly established yourself as one of the experts in the field, and we're delighted to have you share your insights!

Jen @ said...

Kate, the post is beautiful, as always! I'm so very honored to be included among such talent...thank you from the bottom of my heart! :)

Petite Marie said...

Very nice Kate!
I'm sure it's been a great help and inspiration to many!

Cupcakes and Lemonade said...

Thank you so much for the feature from the girls circus party! It has been such a joy to read this series. I have learned so much! Thank you!

Adriana said...

Kate, Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your knowledge <3

Renee said...

am adoring your mini series, so insightful! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including a few of my parties, I can't tell you how much it means to me to have been included. From Sweet Cheek Crafts

Mechelle said...

Kate, as someone who is relatively new to this, I truly appreciate people like you who are willing to share your wealth of knowledge with others! It really is invaluable!


Oh Gorgeous Baby said...

Each time I read your blog I am blown away with how creative and how clever you are!! Alway leave feeling inspired and full of joy xx