When I plan a party I like a good theme that lets me be creative with the details. For my sister’s baby shower I took the elephant theme of the baby’s room as a starting point and then got my creative juices flowing to come up with an interesting baby shower theme that had something to do with elephants. My first thought was to use a yellow and gray palate with chevrons -sounded cute for decorations and cupcakes and I knew my sister would love it- but I couldn’t wrap my head around themed food and entertainment ideas with simply a palate choice.
I moved on to Dumbo for inspiration thinking it could also be a fun movie night for my daughter. But fun never quite entered the picture. The movie was VERY dated and sort of slow (isn’t Disney coming out with a new Dumbo?). Shortly in my daughter was bored- good, she’ll equate movies with boredomJ- and I was bored and craving a cocktail-there’s a surprising amount of drinking. But the circus theme stuck and I promptly came up with some fun menu ideas for a Dumbo baby shower -mini Thai chicken magpies, balancing act antipasto skewers, tea cakes in stork swaddles, and clown carriage deviled eggs. My 3am idea for a knit bomber hat with goggles and big Dumbo ears sticking out was promptly out by my 6am wake-up call that I’ve never knit. But my sister is an amazing photographer and I knew she could use some props for pictures so luckily my mother came through and knit an elephant clown hat. The circus theme sounded like a fun one to plan but I feared it might enter kid’s birthday territory, so I decided to stick with a more muted palate with a few pops of primary colors. To keep it a bit more classic with a touch of the bizarre (it is a circus after all) I settled on…wait for it (drum roll)…(thanks for humoring me)… a vintage circus theme. I couldn’t have been happier with my choice. It was so fun to plan and even more fun to host. The drawback with picking such a great theme was that I couldn’t stop the creative juices flowing. I came up with so many ideas and I wanted to do them all- all I tell you! But it was a happy problem and as I got to brainstorming, planning, making, and decorating, I fell in love with the theme all the more.
I always find it difficult (or forget) to take pictures at special events so I thought a Sideshow Photo Booth would help remind me to take pictures of guests so that my sister would have at least some, albeit goofy, pictures of the people attending her shower.
I set up a carnival with “games:” a kissing booth, mother and baby-specific fortune tellers, and some vintage games and signs. There was also an “advice for mothers” station where guests wrote notes to the mother-to-be on elephant-shaped paper. People wrote advice, heartfelt messages, or words of encouragement –and my sister came away with sweet little mementos from the people who love her.
The Onesie Station was so fun. I wanted the guests to do something crafty, but I knew the onesie and marker route might end with bad artwork and I wanted my sister to have onesies that could be worn in public, not ones that would be hidden under outfits or not worn at all. The solution: buy fun fabric, cut out cute shapes, have guests heat and bond them onto onesies (or pants), and presto, super cute, totally original onesies! I’m not sure about the longevity of the onesies but the cuteness factor wins hands down. This is my new obsession. Check it out!
I originally planned the party for a week later but it had to be rescheduled. With two kids underfoot, I needed that extra week for food prep and had to sacrifice some of my original ideas, such as the Dumbo-themed food. Bummer. But I did serve the most amazing apple chutney as part of a cheese plate with extra sharp cheddar, pesto, goat cheese and sundried tomato palmiers (a.k.a. elephant ears. Perfect, huh?!), sriracha “fire-breathing” crackers, lemonade, and a sweet cart with cupcakes, sea salt caramel popcorn and vintage candy.
Before leaving, I had guests “test their skill” by writing little notes for Baby J in his totally amazing vintage-y circus book and, in doing so, they won a prize: a goldfish in a bag -buy mini bags, pop in a goldfish snack cracker, and tie. Voila!
I think my favorite part was decorating for the party. I lucked out when I found some vintage circus craft paper (at half off no less!). It was a lifesaver for enhancing the vintage circus vibe. I used it in so many ways and even have quite a bit left. One of the focal points of the party was something I already owned: my super mega trunk on wheels that already looked like part of a vintage circus train. I just made some vintage-y pendants out of the really cool circus paper and hung them on the trunk.