We're surrounded by parties every day... Excited families throwing big bashes for their babes. So what do we do when it's OUR babes turn? Well we get a little crazy on Pinterest, battle it out with the hubby on what is the little man's current obsession (cars or taco's).... And we throw a Mexican fiesta themed party (clearly I won the argument)
Now when I say Mr Two (aka Archer or Danger) is obsessed with tacos, I mean the kid literally looses his shit at the mere sight of a wrap (tortilla or not) in the supermarket excitedly screaming "taco's mummy, taco's" This was the starting point of inspiration for his party. That and my obsession with succulents. I decided to throw in some on-trend Cactus partyware to really round out the theme (with hubby constantly asking "is this party for Archer or you?"... Duh, totally me haha)
I quickly pulled together a mood board of ideas (my life revolves around mood boards before tackling ANY concept) I settled on a palette anchored in green and white with fun fiesta pops of pink, red, orange and yellow. Getting a visual of palette really allows you to keep the whole look cohesive and executed gives maximum visual impact (in deco's, food AND props!)
We designed Archers custom invitations to be fun and colourful, featuring a cactus with ticker tape background proclaiming "AREEBA AREEBA it's a fiesta!" Ticker tape envelope liners matched back completing the Mexican inspired stationery set.
Hands up all you time poor mummas 🙋 The beauty of Instagram is you can literally shop your ideas from it (and for someone who has no time you can miraculously spend hours in this rabbit hole). We turned to a few of our faves Insta biz's to source the party ware for our fiesta
There's a huuuuuge trend in foil balloons right now, so we headed over to Poppies for Grace to fulfil our needs. A little parcel arrived in days with balloons ready to blow up and spell out "TWO" (along with a little T2 tea sampler to our surprise and delight!)
I became obsessed with sourcing Cactus print partyware and searched high and low for one particular design I NEEDED. I was thrilled to find it just down the road in Ballarat at Lark Party Store. Tick, another local store and online purchase direct to my door (note, here is where I get parcels shipped under the business name so hubby doesn't suspect how much I'm buying online for this birthday party). But seriously how AMAZING are the balloons, cups and straws and all found under an easy tab titled "cactus party". Winning
Party styling is an area that absolutely makes the visual impact of your party but where a lot of people don't feel comfortable. My top tip is plan. I pulled together a quick moodboard of ideas. I lay out all my decoration choices days before to ensure it all worked together. Partyware colours and patterns should be complimentary to each other. There should be a grounding colour. I used white and green. I did have black napkins with maracas on them but in the end it looked too crazy so went with plain white. Not every item has to be themed, but it should work with the theme.
The morning of the party had a lot to be achieved so I sketched out a very quick lay out of where decorations should go. It turned out be original plan was too complicated and less was more. The sketch also assisted people helping me set up as they could refer to it rather than asking me constantly. It wasn't a fancy sketch - I did it one night watching tv with a wine!
When it came to the food and sweet treats I turned to Pinterest for menu inspiration. Clearly the day was about fulfilling Archers taco needs (oh and celebrating his birthday). Using this as the basis I worked with my sister, who is a head chef, to bring together a Mexican fiesta. My sister always recommends when planning catering to balance the menu. For example with meats try and have both red and white meat (we went pulled pork for tacos and mince beef for chilli con carne) and she always pulls me up if I choose 2 dishes of the same meat! Plus ensuring there's a vego option. Same applies to hot and cold food. Balance how many options you have of each. We added fresh slaw and Mexican rice salad that doubled as both taco fillings and side dishes.
The key focus of the sweet treats was custom cookies and Archer's birthday cake. Cookies are so on trend right now and I headed to cutter designer Kate from Say It With Sweetness (who is also my cousin!) for a cactus design to match the invites plus a skull shape so I could make sugar skulls. Honestly props out there to all the cookie decorators. I hand painted everyone of those cookies and it took foooooooooorrrreeeevvveerrr. Well 5 hrs actually and only because I could not go on to do the rest from exhaustion.
The cake was the splurge. I am NOT blessed with the baking gene (I'll confess the above cookies were a packet mix!). Last year Archers cake was another packet mix so I wanted to spoil him this year. Fellow Geelong Creatives member Mel, from Two Bird Cake Designs came to the rescue. I sent her a few inspo pics of cakes I liked plus the invitation design. And this is what she came back with... A delicious 3 cake high vanilla flavored, lime covered bonanza complete with ticker tape and cactus topper to match his invites. Ironically, on the day Archer decided he didn't want to eat cake and opted for an orange instead.
Our friends have children of all ages so we need to cater for kids games from ages 2-12. Plus what on earth could go in goodie bags to suit these ages too?! In the end the answer was easy... Smiggle! A coloring in station was set up with a 1m long coloring page. Lipstick erasers added to the girls bags and spy pens added to the boys. Kmart came to rescue with blow up cactus limbo (that got used more for jousting than limbo) and Spotlight for a piñata. Finally to top it off, a couple of dress ups: moustaches, ponchos and sombreros. Mostly found on the adults, not the kids.
My tip to other mummas... When planning a party a budget is a must, whether it be big or small. Being creative (and a graphic designer!) I knew there was a lot I could and would do myself. But I'm also a mum with a lot on my plate, so enlisting help from professionals and family takes the pressure off plus takes care of the things I'm not so great at.
My final tip is have fun!! Many find hosting a party stressful. You don't have to be a hero and do it all yourself. Ask for or accept offers for help. Write down clear to do lists so you know what needs to be done. If you're running out of time ditch something. No one knew I didn't make the cactus banner or food tags, or even the sign the was going to say "I Hate Taco's, said no Juan ever" (although that sign would have been hysterical). Start planning early to alleviate last minute stress. And have a sneaky glass of wine close to hand!
See a list below of the amazing small business we bought from for this birthday bash and their Instagram accounts
Cake: Two Birds Cake Designs
Cake Topper: Zilvi
Cookie Cutters: Say It With Sweetness
Foil Balloons: Poppies for Grace
Cactus Partyware: Lark Store
Invitations: Danger & Moon
Party on Party Peeps xx