a minnie mouse 1st birthday

A few weeks ago we celebrated the first birthday of a VERY special little lady, my baby BFF Jordan Aubrey. Last year I was wrapped up in preparations for her post-birth baby shower, if you recall. Her parents had an ambitious, family-and-friend-filled (70+ people!) celebration in mind and asked for help just in the nick of time. With the assistance of my trusty Twin Tag Team, we pulled off an incredibly fun party with a lot of really great AND affordable ideas for a large event.

The theme: Minnie Mouse, of course!

It's quite an endeavor to saturate a big house with enough Minnie Mouse decor to make an impact. I also always err on the side of personalization when I'm planning parties, because it gives people insight into the person or people being celebrated. I decided to create multiple clotheslines, using pink and white polka dot ribbon, and asked Jordan's parents to print out as many photos as they could in chronological order from Jordan's first year. I also asked them to pick out some of her most important outfits from the year - seasonal things and all of her tiny preemie clothes - to pair with the photos. They'd give guests a true sense of how much Jordan had grown and changed over her first year of life. To complement this very visual decorating, I added flat and dimensional (in the form of paper lanterns in pink, white, and black) polka dot garland, balloons, and Disney-themed signage throughout the house. The cupcake table was also quite a statement, with cupcakes in a variety of flavors finished with Minnie Mouse ear toppers! Finally, we had incredible mouse ear banners made by my mom all throughout the house!

So much of Jordan's first year was photographed by her parents, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to share another sweet photo with guests who attended her party. I also needed something easy to assemble and affordable, because we were going to make 70+ favors! In the end, I decided on small wooden flower pots, painted hot pink and polka dotted in white with an eraser tip dabbed on a stamp pad. I glued a dowel rod into the center of the pot, and then a clothespin. We used Prinstagram to print out 2 3/8" square photos from Jordan's 1st birthday photo shoot. They were lined up on the console table in the entryway for guests to take at their leisure.

My first photobooth! We purchased some inexpensive cotton fabric in pink with white polka dots, and I ironed it carefully together to create a backdrop that was about 6' tall by 8' wide. I pinned it to the wall and added a banner made by my mother to further clarify why there was a random bit of fabric on the wall. We staged one of Jordan's dad's cameras on a tripod with a shutter-release remote in front of the photobooth, and props were made by my mom using the Disney Cricut cartridge. She was super smart and made them double-thick with cardstock to withstand a day's worth of photo posing, and I added thin wooden dowels with some hot glue. Jordan's parents also added some of their Minnie & Mickey ears from trips to Disney to the mix, and I also painted a few pieces of wood with chalkboard paint for folks to write notes to the birthday girl. While things took a while to get going, we wound up collecting a HILARIOUS collection of images from the party. Most were added to Facebook for family and friends to enjoy, and the rest will be part of Jordan's memories for years to come. All of the people who love her with silly props and silly faces.

It was a wonderful party and a fantastic celebration of one of the strongest little ladies I know!

All images by Jason Dunham

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All content © Meaghan O'Malley, 2009-2012. Header image by Rebekka Seale.