For this month’s ‘Partying with Kids’ feature, I’d like to introduce you to Raeleigh Jane and her adorable daughter, Avery Grace. For Avery’s 6th birthday bash, her mama threw her a princess party fit for a queen. From the magical invitations to the fairy tale celebration, no detail of the planning process was overlooked, and the photos are proof that dreams do come true.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about who this stunning celebration was for, and how old she was turning.
A: This event was to celebrate my beautiful daughter Avery Grace’s 6th birthday. Avery is a very imaginative little creature’loving all things storybook and fairy tale. Even our farm animals play a featured role in whatever movie reel may be rolling in the heads of her and her friends while they play at our house. So celebrating Avery’s birthday with a Princess Tea Party theme was an obvious decision.
Q: How did you decide on this particular theme for a party? What were some of the other options you were considering?
A: I am generally a huge proponent of the have-your-parties-anywhere-but-your-home method of event planning. The planning, as well as execution, of a truly memorable birthday party is enough work as it is, and being able to come home to a kitchen that is not slathered in pink icing is all sorts of amazing. However, considering our own property was perfect to use as the grounds for such an event, the opportunity couldn’t be passed up. Avery was the one who posed the option of a Princess Tea Party-themed birthday, and when we discovered Alyssa Nielsen of ‘As You Wish’ (Princess Impersonations for Every Celebration), it was an absolute go. Her website looked promising, but in all honesty we had NO IDEA just how incredible she truly was.
Q: Walk us through the fete and tell me some more about the guests, timing (how long/time of day), menu served, games/activities and decorations.
A: We sent the invitations out a month in advance since we had requested formal princess attire and wanted to give all the mommies some time to prepare. The invitations were handmade by Avery and I, and we used vintage tea party scrapbook appliques. They also included a small skeleton key with a note saying ‘bring this key to gain entry to the magical kingdom for an afternoon of tea, toasting, fun and frivolity.’
On the day of the party I set up a pretty elaborate treat table with a framed sign on it that read ‘Sweets for the Sweet.’ The treats were all in princess storybook themes with little labels indicating what they ‘in fact’ were, hence gummy frogs being transformed into ‘Kiss a Frog’ treats. We made a massive amount of Snow White’s Poisoned Candy Apples, complete with little applique leafs on the stem. I ordered my cookies from my friend, Pam Macgregor, who created perfect little yellow Princess Belle dresses, crowns with Avery’s name on them and elaborate pumpkin carriages. We laid a small dining table with pink lace linens and used wooden stumps as chairs, complete with little tufted cushions. I bought bouquets of various pink tea roses from Costco and then arranged them in vintage teapots. We set the table with a mish mash of vintage teacups and saucers that we collected from garage sales and thrift stores. Above the table, we attached two lace bed canopies, to which I glued an assortment of fake flowers on.
I also attached the gold frame from an oval mirror I got from a thrift store to a branch with fishing line, so it appeared to float amongst the greenery. I then had all the little guests pose behind it while holding a small bouquet of roses. I also set up a few options for princess dresses from our own trunk, in the event that any of our guests were unable to find suitable attire or if last-minute guests joined us.
We planned for Alyssa Nielsen (aka Belle) to arrive shortly after the guests were expected. Upon her arrival, all of the mamas and I were able to sit back and watch in amazement while Belle utterly captivated the entire legion of little princesses who were hanging on her every word. Belle was in perfect attire, right down to a drastic change in hair and eye colour. The little princesses gathered around her and they spent the next hour reading princess stories and singing a variety of songs from the Disney Princess movies.
As a special treat, Belle sprinkled a bit of fairy dust on the head of each little princess while they made their deepest wishes. She then crowned the birthday girl in a special ceremony and gave her a small gift. The look on Avery’s face during the crowning ceremony while Belle sprinkled her with yellow rose petals was worth every single second and penny I spent preparing for this day. As the cake was brought out and all of the little people began singing, Belle slipped out the back and we wrapped up the big day shortly after.
For Avery’s party, we purchased glass ‘note-in-a-bottle’ wedding favours and then filled them with a variety of coloured sparkles, decorated the bottles with thin, colourful ribbon and included a label indicating that it was fairy dust. We purchased a few other wedding favours, including little bottles of bubbles and pretty containers in which we placed princess candy. We made DIY crochet backing tiaras, sprayed them with silver sparkles and attached a few ornate paper flowers to each.
Q: What was your biggest challenge with creating this party?
A: The biggest challenge was knowing when to draw the line and get myself under control. I love every single thing about the creation, planning and execution of a children’s event’and then photographing and basking in all of the light and imagination that ends up on their faces as a result. Being able to decide that the event has been appropriately prepared for, and stop making it more elaborate, is a significant weak spot for me.
Q: Please finish this sentence: the thing I’ll always remember about this party is __________________________.
A: The thing I will always remember about this party is the ‘Birthday Princess Crowning’ ceremony and how embarrassing I was as a result. Gah! I love my Avery Grace.