Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sydney Turns Three : A Beastly Birthday Party

When Sydney first said she wanted a Beast birthday party (as in Beauty and the Beast sans Beauty) eight, maybe nine months ago, I thought it was a careless suggestion which she'd for sure forget about in the next few days, let alone in the next few months. 

I was wrong. So wrong.

Bless my sweet girl's tender heart, Sydney has some sort of weird affinity for supporting role characters in movies and cartoons. I tried persuading her to have a Little Mermaid party; she said only if Ursula comes. I suggested a Rapunzel theme; she said she wanted Rapunzel's mom (I don't even know what Rapunzel's mom's name is). She loves the lesser known characters and has a soft spot in her heart for them because when I asked her why she wanted a Beast party, she replied, "Because he's so nice and handsome, and everyone is mean to him." 😭😍 #ohmyheart 

Fast forward to crucial party plannin' time and Sydney had thankfully come around to having Belle in the picture, and I started to realize this could actually be a really fun theme since majority of the movie happens at the Beast's castle. I talked to some creative girlfriends and Hana from  Hooray Everyday and came up with a fun color scheme that was an updated twist to the regular primary colors; instead of red, yellow and blue, I decided on a palate of cranberry, a range of pinks, mustard, gold and navy blue. 

Last year Syd's birthday party was a total shitshow, and I ended up being SO unprepared and completely ran out of time (like, really out of time...like, my florist had to stuff party favors and one of my sweet and amazing guests ended up making my mac and cheese-out of time). It was so overwhelming and so stressful, and I was soaked in sweat and tears by the time all the guests arrived. NOT GREAT. This year when I decided to throw Sydney a big birthday, I made it a priority to stay ahead of schedule, not procrastinate, and most importantly not stress because at the end of the day all that matters is Sydney's happiness. 

I'm all about DIY projects, but I'm also all about knowing my own strengths. I knew majority/all the decorations of this Beast party would be flowers, so being that I can barely keep a cactus alive I asked a friend who used to be a florist if she thought I could handle the floral arrangements I had in mind. Simply put, her answer was a very tactful, "I think this might be above your skill level." 😂🙈 I was so grateful for her honesty because a) let's be serious: I'm staring at these gorgeous roses my husband got for me for Valentine's Day and wondering HOW in the world they're already wilting; and b) it would have ended up being a h u g e undertaking I definitely wasn't prepared for. I contacted our florist  Sweet Pea Flowers (who did our wedding and Syd's second birthday) and explained my 'vision' for the arrangements and provided the color scheme---and what they came up with BLEW my mind. Everything they brought completely tied the whole party together and set such a fun tone to the party. They also put together the Beast's rose in its cloche---and it was absolutely perfect. Lisa and Lizzie, you ladies are THE BEST. 

I asked Hana from Hooray Everyday (her shop is the ULTIMATE party decor shop!) to create two custom garlands, and I'm in love with how they turned out and how they tied the color scheme together. To add a fun wow factor I purchased a gold sequin tablecloth from Amazon (which was actually ridiculously reasonably priced 🙌), and I designed and created a 'photograph' of the Beast's profile (that matched the invites) and framed it with a spray-painted Ikea frame. I made tissue poms to hang from the ceiling to add to the wall decor, and I bought a few vintage books from a thrift shop to scatter around the table. We borrowed the pendulum mantel clock that was perfect for Cogsworth, and I used my ceramic teapot and a cup for Mrs. Potts and Chip. Our florist brought Lumiere, which is still sitting proudly on our dining room table. 😂

One of my favorite parts of the party was 'Gaston's Tavern,' which was really just the table holding the punch and glasses, but I thought the added decor would be so cute, especially since Sydney wanted me to dress up as Gaston (🙈). I looked up Gaston's Tavern signs (because there's a real Gaston's Tavern in Disney World, and they sell the signs as merchandise) and thought no way was I going to pay $80 for something I could make. Plus I needed a much bigger sign than what was available, so I designed it myself and had FedEx print and adhere the sign to a foam backing. We put up the reclaimed wood backdrop my husband made for Sydney's party last year, and I added a {glam} faux taxidermy, a faux fur runner and called it a day.

One of the reasons I was so stressed out from last year's birthday party and one of the reasons I felt that last year was so much freaking work was because I had to essentially cook and prepare an entire dinner for 26 adults and 24 children. 😳😐 This year -- no way. I strategically had the party start at 2:00 PM so that having hearty appetizers would be more than enough, and I also strategically planned the menu for no cooking except for a cheese dip that I made the day before. I tried to stick with French-style apps to fit the theme of the party, so I had a huge charcuterie board with tons of different meats and cheeses, fruit cones, a crudité platter and soft pretzels with beer cheese dip and dijon mustard. For dessert we had a simple chocolate cake with vanilla frosting (Sydney's request), as well as cookies and cream cupcakes that served as 'The Grey Stuff' mentioned in the song "Be Our Guest" (that even had frosting that looked like the real Grey Stuff served in Disney World!) and custom Beast cookies from  The Baked Equation. We gave away mini bags of trail mix as party favors (I created and made the labels), and I may or may not have eaten 87 leftover bags. Everything turned out perfect---no cooking = no stress! 

The coolest and arguably best part of the party, though, was hiring Princess Belle to make an appearance. Sydney originally wanted the Beast to come, but after calling around Denver and obviously finding nothing, Syd decided she actually did want Belle to come and instead wanted Jordan to dress up as the Beast. Now that I could work with. 😂

I contacted  Princess Ever After Events, which is a Denver-based company that employs actresses to portray Disney princesses for birthday parties, corporate events and more. They had been following me on Instagram for a while, and I was curious to learn more; I had heard from various acquaintances their parties are amazing and the actresses are beyond talented. I was so excited to learn the company's owner Sarah Ingle would be performing because if you haven't heard of her, I highly recommend you check out her  Instagram page and see for yourself---she is truly a living Disney princess.

Upon walking in our front door, Sarah captured the hearts and attention of not only all the tiny guests in our home but also all the adult guests as well. She didn't just look like Belle; Sarah literally was Belle, and she was exactly what the Disney animators had in mind when they created her. That sounds so cheesy, but ask any guest that attended the party and they will all tell you the same; everyone was mesmerized by her.

Sarah was there for an hour, and she conducted a princess initiation (she taught all the kids what it means to be a princess and prince), sang a personalized song to Sydney (THE MOST PRECIOUS MOMENT EVER), danced to various songs from Beauty and the Beast, organized a game for the kids, which included Syd winning a special bubbles necklace, read Beauty and the Beast for story time, held a princess coronation ceremony, posed for pictures, and helped sing 'Happy Birthday.' It was a d o r a b l e. Everything was amazing, and Sarah went above and beyond what even my wildest expectations were. Suffice to say, it was the most magical afternoon well spent. 

THIS moment. Sydney was so intently focused on Belle singing to her that she almost cried---which of course made me cry. So incredibly special. 💞

When I was putting Sydney to bed that night, she thanked me for the "beautiful party" and told me it was the best day ever. I asked her what her favorite part was, and she naturally replied having Belle there---but she also said she loved dancing with her daddy, which of course melted my heart. 

I need to quickly thank so many amazing people: my wonderful parents, who not only flew out to help celebrate Sydney's birthday but also were a huge help with preparing for the party; my awesome husband for being so patient and allowing me to exercise my creativity and love for party planning; Sweet Pea Flowers for being the best florists ever; Hana at Hooray Everyday for being the sweetest and best party shop owner in all the Instagram land; Melissa at The Baked Equation for once again nailing my custom invite and creating the most adorable and delicious cookies; Ashleyann from  Memourii and Katie from  Fancy Free Finery for creating the most perfect Belle outfit (Sydney is obsessed, and both items have been worn multiple times since); and a huuuuuge THANK YOU to my dear friend  Steph Pollock for capturing the most perfect moments of the day---you are insanely talented, my girl, and I will treasure these photos forever. And lastly, thank you to Princess Ever After Events for truly making our little girl's dream come true. Sarah, you are every bit of gorgeous on the inside as you are on the outside, and you truly have a gift---and we can't wait to work with you again!

Being that it's almost an entire month after her party and Sydney is still talking about it, and being that no guests were forced to cook, and being that Jordan is now a proud owner of a Beast costume, I'd say her party was a wild success. It's funny; maybe it's the beautifully captured professional pics or maybe it's the fun food table, but I feel like this party looked like it was more work but more put together than any party I've ever thrown---but in all actuality, I feel like I did the least amount of work. (Thinking that has something to do with not grating over three pounds of cheese this year... 😂😑) Regardless, as I said before, at the end of the day all that matters was Sydney's happiness---and we had one very happy three-year-old. 

All photographs except for the last image taken by Steph Pollock of  Kole Impressions

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