I waffled back and forth between dinosaurs (because we call Chase our little pterodactyl thanks to his high-pitched baby squeals) or a “You Are My Sunshine” theme which hit close to my heart since that is the song I sing to Chase to settle him at night.
(For those who asked, I bought my romper off Amazon for $20! If you are tall like me – I’m 5’8’’ – I’d size up because it’s a bit short. It’s also available in a bunch of different colors and patterns. I also wore this Free People bralette underneath for a little more coverage in the chest area.)
There’s something about the moment I start singing “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray” that makes Chase’s whole body relax and my eyes fill with tears. It’s a song that means a lot to me when I think of Chase and I knew I had to go in that direction for his party.
My sister helped me settle on a color scheme – yellow and mint green – that felt playful, bright and happy and once we had party colors in mind, it was much easier to get the ball rolling and start with the party prep! In the weeks leading up to Chase’s birthday party, I spent a lot of time crafting, browsing Minted, Etsy, Amazon and Zulily and purchasing little odds and ends to add to the party décor. (I’ll try to link to most of our decorations throughout the post, but if I forget or overlook something that interests you, just let me know and I’ll report back!)
One decision I made very early on in the party planning process was to cater the party and oh my gosh it made everything 10,000 times less stressful. Our local Whole Foods was kind enough to provide all of the food for Chase’s party as well as his gorgeous smash cake and an assortment of mint green, yellow and white cupcakes that I topped with the cutest sunshine and mint green one-themed cupcake toppers I purchased from Etsy.
(I highly recommend Pleasant View Parties Etsy shop! I asked if they could customize mint green one-themed cupcake toppers to go along with the adorable sunshine cupcake toppers featured in their shop and they did a fantastic job. They are affordable and the turnaround time was also crazy fast!)
I had no idea that Whole Foods catered until my friend Brittany used them for her daughter’s second birthday party and the food was so fantastic! Everyone raved about the spread we had for Chase’s party and we went with finger-friendly fare, including an assortment of wraps, chicken satay skewers (the BEST!), a cheese tray that got absolutely demolished (the candied pecans were so addicting!), fresh fruit and veggies and the best tortilla chips in all the land paired with three different delicious dips.
I kept our table decorations simple and opted for a mini polka dot mint green table runner instead of a table cloth. I paired fresh sunflowers with baby’s breath in glass jars we already had and placed a small assortment next to a framed picture of me and Ryan with Chase on the beach that said “Our Little Sunshine.”
I placed mint polka dot wooden utensils I bought on Zulily in white and mint green mini buckets I found in Target’s dollar spot!
Though the food was a definite hit, Chase’s beautiful smash cake stole the show. We placed it on a mint green milk glass cake stand, topped it with a O-N-E burlap banner my mom and I made (inspired by Pinterest, of course) and loved the look (and taste) of it!
I worked with the sweetest woman in charge of Whole Foods’ bakery to come up with a vision for the cake and said I wanted something that looked natural and not too overdone. We went with a vanilla cake topped with buttercream frosting and adorable sunshines and mint green polka dots around the outside edges. I was absolutely thrilled with how the cake turned out! I also love the fact that Whole Foods colors their baked goods with natural foods (the green comes from spinach, the yellow from turmeric, etc.), so their beautifully colored frosting isn’t packed with creepy ingredients and artificial colors or flavors.
Ryan was in charge of stocking up on beer while I handled the pineapple mojito sangria and non-alcoholic drinks.
(I nabbed the above blank drink tags, two You Are My Sunshine prints and You Are My Sunshine stickers off Minted and they made sticking to our theme so easy! I added the stickers to cups, utensil tins, etc. to keep the theme alive throughout the party.)
One thing I didn’t realize until after the party is that Ryan and Ross thought it would be hilarious to pack the coolers and drink bins with good beer and some not-so-good beer as a sort of “beer roulette.” All the guys got a big kick out of this and we joked that we were apparently hosting a college tailgate… (Yes, we actually had a couple cans of Natty Light on hand at our son’s first birthday party. #Classy)
Since I have a giant sweet tooth, you know my favorite part of the party food was dessert! When Ryan and I first moved to North Carolina, we discovered the Nothing Bundt Cakes location in Birkdale Village and quickly became regulars. I knew I wanted to have an assortment of their unbelievably tasty mini bundtinis for everyone to enjoy and they were, without a doubt, the most talked-about food item we served at Chase’s party.
I ordered an assortment of flavors – double chocolate chip, red velvet, lemon and white chocolate raspberry – and we had to laugh when we saw some of our friends taking a couple to go on their way out. They’re hard to resist and you can’t have just one, that’s for sure!
Since birthdays require copious amounts of cake, we also had a large lemon bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes on hand for the adults to enjoy – the same cake my mom and sister ordered for me at my baby shower – and it was just as fantastic as I remembered.
And now for the BEST part of the party… The people!
I cannot begin to express how much these women and their little ones mean to me. Without family in the area, I was nervous about finding a quality support network after Chase was born and feel incredibly lucky to have everyone in the above photo in my life. They are some of the most kind and thoughtful people I’ve ever met and going through motherhood with all of them has been an absolute joy. I don’t know what I’d do without their support, our almost-daily playdates and the wonderful connection that seems to come along with sharing the ups and downs of parenting.
Our guests began arriving to celebrate Chase’s first birthday at noon and we tried our best to clear out our family room and remove our coffee table to create a big space where babies could crawl around and play with a myriad of Chase’s toys that we had on hand.
Before the madness:
In the middle of the madness:
We also had a kiddie pool, water table and bubble station set up outside along with towels and sunscreen that The Honest Company kindly sent our way for the kids who preferred to splash around and enjoy the summer sun.
One thing I didn’t realize before having a baby is that one year old birthday parties don’t tend to last all that long! Babies get tired quickly and naptimes often dictate party duration, so by 4 p.m., almost everyone had already headed home and Chase was a solid hour into his afternoon nap. (The ability to put Chase down for a nap at our house during the party was a serious plus.)
The only regret I have regarding Chase’s party was that we ran out of time to do his smash cake when everyone was around. The babies were playing so well in our family room that I didn’t want to break up the fun to do his cake and by the time we would’ve been ready to sing Happy Birthday, Chase was more than ready for his nap.
“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!” Poor birthday boy!
I knew a cranky baby would not make for smash cake success and after my Aunt Laurie said, “You do what is right for your baby,” I knew she was right, so Chase waved goodbye to his party guests and spent the last hour of his party happily sleeping away in his crib. (We had him on display on his baby monitor so he was still part of the fun. Ha!)
Though all of Chase’s baby BFFs were gone by the time he awoke, our family was still around and so we made sure to strip Chase down and sing Happy Birthday to our favorite one-year-old before he dove into his sunshine smash cake.
I think it’s safe to say Chase LOVES cake.
He cracked all of us up when he had to tap out for a water break before diving back in…
Once we had the birthday boy all cleaned up and we shared some bites of his cake, we spent the rest of Chase’s birthday party celebration day opening gifts, reading books and playing with new toys before Chase crashed hard.
I hope Chase enjoyed his first birthday and felt all the love that was coming his way!
We had so much fun celebrating our favorite little boy.
Happy FIRST Birthday, Chase!