Thursday, January 17, 2008

To Theme or Not To Theme...

“Hello, my name is Deanna, and I am a party theme-aholic.” Ask almost anyone who knows me – they will vouch for this. I don’t know where this comes from, my parents enjoy a party, but neither of them is really into the theme thing… Anyway, ever since my husband and I bought our first home, we both really enjoyed entertaining. Some friends of ours invited us to be a part of a monthly “gourmet” club, where we take turns rotating each month with 3 other couples and that seemed to spark the inner event coordinator in me. This month we are having “Pub Night” at our house and I am getting a little overly excited about the theme – I’ll just leave it at that.

Well, what started with an interest in throwing nice dinner parties pretty much exploded into an obsession with children’s birthday parties once my oldest was born. For her first birthday, I was a LITTLE excited and I bought this beautiful “princess-like” dress for my girl to wear to her party, along with a birthday tiara. And then I needed to send out invitations and plan the party, of course! I made these cute invitations – a pink piece of paper folded into a little “book” with a picture of her on the front in her birthday tiara, and a story that I wrote on the inside, in the style of a fairy tale. I even put little pink ribbon bookmarks in each invitation. So “storybook” was my theme and I went with it! I invited everyone to come dressed as their favorite storybook character – we had Dr. Doolittle, the Cowardly Lion, Little Bo Peep (that's me, in my own interpretation), the Hobbit, Harry Potter, Captain Hook, Little Red Riding Hood – you name it! (If you are a “theme-aholic” your addiction will only continue to grow if you have a bunch of people who enable you!) Her birthday cake that year was an open storybook, and it was totally adorable, totally fit into my theme!

The theme for “2” hit me on the expressway on my way home from work one night (having a long commute also adds to a “theme-aholic’s” problem – your mind wanders to all of the party themes that you could plan!) – “Tea for Two” of course! This involved a cute, inexpensive dress with teacups & teapots in the print, adorable (if I do say so myself) invitations in the shape of a teapot with a dangling handmade label in the style of a tea bag, and a beautiful teapot birthday cake.

For my girl’s third birthday we bought her a “big girl” bed and so in keeping with the theme, we had a pajama party (during the afternoon, but some brave family members came in their pj’s) with an amazing cake in the shape of a bed, with a throw pillow and everything, and I handmade the invitations – soft flannel material glued down on cover stock paper, cut into the shape of a pj top, with little tiny buttons down the front and when you opened it, the invitation was printed inside. Those were labor-intensive, to say the least! That burned me out a little and fortunately by the next year my girl was into character-themed parties and pre-printed invitations!

I thought that I was done with big theme parties – I kept telling myself that even if I had another child, I was not going to go crazy on birthday party themes! No more of these extravagant cakes from the bakery (that made my wedding cake…) – no more crazy invitations! But even when you think you have kicked the habit – sometimes you just can’t say “No!” When my youngest’s first birthday rolled around, I did scale back a little – I opted to do a sweet invitation through Kodak Gallery ( with a picture of her surrounded by Winnie the Pooh and Friends. I invited all of the guests to come dressed in their favorite red t-shirt, just like Pooh wears – very cute and in keeping with the Pooh theme, but not overwhelming for the guests (and of course, they all came in red!). And then there was the cake… I had made an agreement with myself that I would not get a cake from the fancy bakery – unless it really went well with the theme. Well, again, I had an epiphany – while trying to fall asleep one night, I believe – if the bakery took the round-ish shape of their teapot cake, and some of the adorable bees they put on some garden-themed cakes that I have seen of theirs – they could make Pooh’s honey pot! Well, of COURSE, I had to go with that! I don’t know that I’ll be able to top that cake – I really may need to go into retirement after that one. I even had them make a single, small cake (as I had done years 1 – 3 for my first daughter) so that my baby could stick her hands in it and make a mess without affecting the cake that we were serving to guests. And didn’t the bakery throw a couple of little bees on that little cake too? (See – enablers, all of them!)
Anyway, this year we went to get my girl’s birthday invitations, and what does she tell me? “Mom, I DON’T want a theme this year!” Unbelievable – my own child – all themed out by the age of 7! We are having an ice skating party at a local rink, she chose smiley face invitations (and I was at least able to persuade her to use smiley face bags for the goody bags!), and I broke down and ordered a "Bratz" cake for her (she loves them, I don't). I'm breaking out in hives a little over the whole thing -- I may need to find a meeting! ;)


Christine said...

As I mentioned, I do think you may be the only person with this theme problem so you may need to start your own support group.

You do, in fact, throw wonderful parties. No one can dispute that! Someday you should do this for others and charge BIG money!

I've also been thinking that your girls look alike (I always thought that.) I didn't realize HOW MUCH until you look at both of their 1st birthday pics. They look like the same child! AMAZING!

Deanna said...

I know - I have to rely on the support of my family and friends!

Well, thank you! I think that if it were my job I may not enjoy it as much!

Isn't it funny? They look very different to me when I see them every day, but when I look at pictures from when they were the same age, the resemblence is pretty striking! I think that's why Kenz has the birthmark -- God knew we'd need a way to tell them apart! ;)

Teamcarbone said...

I really enjoyed reading this post, you do an amazing job coordinating your themes. I'm very interested to see what you have planned for Saturday!

I agree with Christine, I was sure that was DD1 but had to open up the picture and look for the birthmark, or lack of one! :)

Deanna said...

Saturday should be fun -- we're looking forward to it!

Yes, they look very similar -- different personalities so far though!