the day came and went so fast i feel like i blinked – but our girl is officially ONE YEAR OLD!!! i planned an epic “first fiesta” at edel haus alpaca farm in wall, nj and collaborated with some pretty incredible vendors! they also happen to be many women-owned small businesses, so in honor of today being international women’s day, i’m sharing the details of our amazing event in honor of my most favorite tiny one-year-old little woman! any female-owned-and-operated business featured in this post will be in bold. click through to read about my dream first birthday bash and (of course) to view all the detail shots!
photographed by none other than my pal lauren anzevino, we went down to the farm two weeks in advance to shoot indie’s birthday outfit (customized by swanky shank). this saved us a ton of time and energy the day of the party. instead of worrying about what photos we “had to get”… lauren was able to capture us candidly, for the most part! i’m so glad we did this and i highly recommend doing this if you’ve got a party up and coming! for this shoot, the owner of the farm let us work with one of his most docile alpacas, ‘GT’ as our model and mascot! he was SUCH a good sport and even let me dress him up in custom flowers from barlow’s flower farm. i’ll cherish these pictures forever and being able to print out a poster to display at the party was such a nice touch!
once we finished the shoot it was time to get down & dirty with our party planning. i was fortunate to join forces with ashley johnston of events by asj who organized all the necessary checklists to make sure the day went off without a hitch (and it did!). she was our day-of coordinator and kept me on schedule, even after a few margaritas!
i designed some rustic alpaca-themed invitations from zazzle and teamed up with christie of lettering matters – a local calligrapher – to design a beautiful kraft envelope with white ink and vintage stamps. this is the first time i’ve worked with a local calligrapher instead of going into manhattan for this, and it was a huge success! her work is flawless and our invitation suite was really elevated by her talent.
my vision for the event was to utilize the farm’s rustic atmosphere and add pops of bright colors, mexican-style textiles, succulents, piñatas and of course TACOS. we catered in a taco bar from a local mom & pop shop called azteca, and hired a bartender so that everyone’s margs were mixed fresh (and topped with a rainbow salt rim, of course!). each table was lined with serape-style runners, jarritos sodas, hot sauce, trinkets, and the most beautiful single-stem vases of flowers and succulents i ever did see! i was lucky to collaborate with parker’s petals who designed the perfect ‘finishing touches’ on the big farm tables at the barn.
the focal point of the room was a giant statement balloon arch created by christina miller of faces n’ spaces! it was absolutely massive… it immediately drew everyone’s eye and made for the absolute best photo backdrop i could think of. and yes…. after she decked out the space, she stayed to “paint face!” christina was a hit with all the kids, who had an absolute blast getting all done up in her chair. for a minute i thought about getting show-style entertainment (like a puppeteer or a magician) but in the end i’m so happy that i wound up with activities that our guests could choose to participate in when and if they wanted to. all the kids seemed to gather around christina’s chair and watch her work.
[the real spectacle and built-in-entertainment, though, were the alpacas themselves! the farm boasts 30 alpacas of all different colors and sizes. when you have a party in their barn, the owner puts a bucket of food out so that you can feed them! the farm is 12 acres large but boy do they know where to hang out when there’s food around! adults and kids alike had a blast taking pictures of (and with!) these beautiful animals.
right next to the alpaca’s domain was a vintage camper. this little camper, decked out in fiesta vibes, was a PHOTO BOOTH!!!! another one of my event collaborations was with natalie rigby of bluebird hill events. this camper comes complete with all sorts of a-typical photo props and a machine that takes your pictures SLOWLY….. which is something i was really pleased to experience! have you ever been inside a photo booth only to blink and realize your session was over? with no time to reposition… all kinds of funny not-ready-faces… and a virtually unusable outcome? the camper booth gives you plenty of time between images to make sure you get the perfect shots. this camper can also be “parked” indoors if you have a large enough space that is ground-level. a great example was the barn! if the weather were bad, we still would have been able to benefit from this awesome party feature. our guests were able to take home their own 3-photo printouts that were customized to say Indie’s First Fiesta. how freakin cool!!!
so it’s clear that our guests had plenty to do to keep busy… but we know what they all REALLY came for and that was the SWEETS!!! as always, the main birthday cake (and mini smash cake for our guest of honor) was created by julie and her team at splurge bakery. splurge has done so many of my events – from my baby shower, to indie’s baptism, and even our gender reveal! the cake is delicious and their design (if a fully formed alpaca head wasn’t all you needed to see) is so detailed and impressive. their cakes are always the talk of the town after our parties and this one proved to be no exception… funfetti cake with cookies n’ cream filling!!!! to add to the sweetness, i also teamed up with myrna from sugarworks cookies! this is another repeat collab for me, because i find myrna’s cookies to be impressively cute and also a fantastic takeaway favor at any party! she individually wraps her creations and honestly they’re so pretty that i always stall on eating them because i can’t bear to bite into them!!! we also had succulent cupcakes donated to our event by dulce, owner of the sugar studio! instagram really has a way of brining people together, because i ‘met’ dulce via DM just a few weeks before the big bash and i was blown away by her talent… i couldn’t NOT include her! the cupcakes were crazy good, even days after the party! (oh yes. i took some home.)
we had approximately 80 guests attend to celebrate indie. people came from all over to show their love, and we really felt surrounded by so much support as stephen & i threw our first ever birthday party for our child. becoming parents comes with many changes, and as we looked around the room that day, we really were feelin the love. we ate, we drank, indie took a nap fit for a birthday girl… we sang… the kids danced… we hit a piñata, and we celebrated the light of our lives – the most amazing little girl in the world. indie has been through the ringer this year, and the hand she’s been dealt won’t always make for smooth sailing – but seeing her smile and laugh and running all over the barn in her tutu was an absolute DREAM COME TRUE for this mama. as you can see, our team of creative ladies really came together to make my vision a reality and i’m so grateful to have had this experience with each and every one of them. party planning is so much fun for me, especially now that i get to see the smile it puts on my daughter’s face. happy birthday and happy ‘first fiesta’ to my BFF! follow along on instagram for more event photos and DM me for any additional product inquiry links from the party!