It takes a village to raise a child, and it certainly takes a village of vendors to pull together a first birthday party. I’m only kind of joking y’all. If you’re looking to achieve that “Pinterest-worthy party” without spending months crafting away or investing a fortune buying things you will never use again, you’ve got to rely on the professionals and know where to shop.
Enter, Mallory Ervin. Mallory is one of the most authentic and fun lifestyle bloggers out there. I had the privilege of helping her with her wedding and then baby shower through Please Be Seated (my company provided the rentals for each of these beautiful events). Mallory and I have become fast-friends, and so when she asked for some tips and tricks on how to plan a fiesta-themed first birthday party for her darling son Ford, I of course offered to help. Everyone can master the “art of delegation,” they just need a little practice! Thankfully, Mallory already had a theme in mind for the party- “Ford’s First Fiesta.” I LOVE a fiesta theme, because it’s one of the easiest parties to design and put together. There are so many amazing online sources for chic fiesta party goods, and it’s usually one of the more affordable themes as far as food goes, since Tex-Mex is cheap. The colors are bright and fun, and who doesn’t love piñatas and tacos!
First, I’m going to chat briefly about the venue, since, since the location of the event caused a bit more stress than we had hoped. Originally, Mallory planned to host the party at a public park and playground near her home. She pulled the permit to use the existing gazebo (from the city office), and so most decisions were made based on the party taking place almost all outside at the park. However, as the date moved closer and the weather took a turn for the worst, we quickly realized that the event needed to move indoors. I immediately suggested she hire a party planner to step in and help secure a venue and make the last-minute changes that would be necessary. Thankfully, the same planner who helped her with her wedding not that long ago, HThree Events, was available and stepped-in to “save the day.” They helped secure a fabulous nearby venue called Ruby that was just the right size and aesthetic for the event. Now, it doesn’t always work out this way, as sometimes you might have to postpone things or end up in a space that you might not love, but that will keep you dry. This is why having a rain-plan is crucial when planning an outdoor event, whether it’s to move the party into your home, a venue or “rain-check” the whole thing entirely (such as a planned pool party, etc.) Anyway, thankfully, the new venue was secured and the team from H Three Events made sure that all permits, licenses and venue requirements were met. Now onto the fun stuff…
For paper goods, I love using the ladies at Nico & Lala. They can create custom invitations and party flair for any type of event, but they also offer many pre-set party designs that are darling and look custom for a fraction of the price. From invitations to plates, napkins, stickers, favor tags, you name it- they make it. It’s a one-stop-shop for paper goods which you know I love, and so does Mallory. For Ford’s fiesta, they provided the following items: invitations, favor tags, water bottle labels, plastic cups, plastic plates, stickers, signage and thank you notes. The invitation design they created for Ford is now available in their online pre-set party shop, so you too can fiesta like Ford!
Mallory’s second call called was VroomVroom Balloon, the ultimate balloon stylist, based in Nashville. They are THE balloon artists, and their balloon creations have been used at everything from hotel openings to charity galas. However, they also install many fabulous kids’ parties, and Ford’s Fiesta was no exception. They went above and beyond with their incredible balloon displays, and with them on your vendor list, you know you’re getting some of the most fun décor available. You don’t need or want to include many other decorations when you use a vendor like VroomVroom!
Before we get into all the other décor, I’ll address the rentals. After all, you can’t have table décor without a table to put it on! Now, initially, Mallory planned to use existing picnic tables that were in the public park, but when the party moved indoors, we added to her original rental order (which was just a few tables and one lounge seating grouping). It’s always a good idea to know your local party rental company options, especially if you host numerous events, as you will most likely need to use them. So of course, Please Be Seated stepped in and provided farm tables, black bistro chairs and some lounge furniture that was all in-keeping with the theme, but also provided seating for guests. There are so many options available now when it comes to party rentals, and there’s something for everyone as far as style and costs are concerned. Mallory even rented the colorful pillows used on the sofa, which was cheaper than purchasing them herself, and she doesn’t have to store them. One thing to note, is that you do often have to pay a set-up fee for your rental items (tables, chairs, etc.), but I believe it’s always worth the money, so that you aren’t stressing and sweating over trying to do it yourself. One of the things I love most about party rentals is that you DON’T have to break them down after the event. You just get to pack up your personal items and head home!
I suggested that we keep all food and beverage very simple, so that it was easy to serve and eat for both the adults and kids. We ordered pre-wrapped chicken and beef soft tacos from a local Tex-Mex restaurant called San Antonio Taco Company. They provided all the additional toppings for the tacos along with chips, salsa and queso and all serving tools needed for guests to serve themselves. Nico and Lala provided the plates and napkins, but we also added some colorful food baskets (linked below) from Shop Sweet Lulu that worked great as kids’ plates. We also ordered some colorful sippy-cups from Amazon (linked below) to go with our cute custom cups for Ford’s littlest friends.
The drink table was simple but festive with a cactus beverage dispenser from Oriental Trading (linked below) and bottles of Mexican beer, Jarritos and water. We added some additional décor items, a bartender (thanks to HThree Events), and our bar set-up was complete.
The dessert table was easy to pull together thanks to Copper Whisk Cakes and Summer’s Sweet Shop. They are both masters at their trade, and the cakes, cupcakes and cookies were works of art. We found a taco truck display on Oriental Trading, and we rented some cake stands and tiers from Please Be Seated to display all the yummy treats. The dessert table was the perfect focal point for the room once VroomVroom added their special backdrop!
Now on to all the fun online shopping sources. It’s almost overwhelming how much is out there for party décor these days. However, I do have some go-to online boutique shops I love, as well as a few large online retailers that might surprise you.
I was so excited to show Mallory the Lula Flora Designs mini piñatas, that I’ve been obsessing over for a long time now. She creates the cutest and smallest piñatas for all kind of occasions, and we used the mini donkeys and cactuses on the table as décor. It’s such as unique and fun spin on a traditional piñata!
In addition to the mini piñatas, I suggested we use paper flowers, instead of real flowers. Paper flowers are perfect for this theme, and they are cheaper and easier to style if floral arranging isn’t your specialty. There’s a great online Etsy shop for small paper flowers, called the Princess Approved Shop, where you can purchase colorful paper flowers in bundles. Note, the flowers arrive assembled but aren’t “fluffed”, so you do have to open them up yourself which takes a little time. It’s not hard, but it’s more “DIY-ing” than I normally include in my party prep. We put 7-8 flowers per tin container, that we sourced from Michael’s for $4 each. We ordered Mexican serape table runners from Shop Sweet Lulu that we put down the center of each table and then put 5 tins of flowers on each table. We added a few other containers of flowers to the food and drink tables which added the perfect pop of color to our décor.
As for all the other party props and details, including the darling favor bags for each child, we found things from Oriental Trading and Amazon. I’ve included a list of everything below so that it’s easier for you to source. I honestly had the best time helping Mallory with Ford’s First Fiesta. And even though the party turn into a larger event than we initially thought, we were able to work together, call in back-up when needed and pull together a super fun and festive event.
Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good “party in a box.” If you’re not interested in putting everything together yourself for a fiesta, then these all-inclusive themed-party packages are the solution. The companies I’ve listed below even allow you to purchase the décor and supplies based on the number of guests you have, so that you’re sure to have everything you need to host a fabulous event. Everything is coordinated for you and they often include items you can’t find online outside of their kits. I’ve ordered from each of these companies, and I was very impressed with their products. All you have to do is provide food, drinks and the guests, and your fiesta is complete!
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Shop Sweet Lulu
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*Photography by Chloe Wen*