Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you: Party planning is one of my absolute favorite things. I love capturing every detail of life’s happiest moments and smile ear to ear when friends and family enjoy and appreciate all the effort I put into my parties. I always have a theme — because that’s just more fun — and I spend tons of time dreaming up ways to display my theme through decor, food, favors, and printed materials. I lie in bed before big events dreaming up new party ideas and listing my DIY plans, then perfecting every project like it’s my entry into an art show. Yes, I’m a bit obsessed. But it’s an obsession which makes everyone involved smile!
From showers to weddings to children’s parties (my fave), I enjoy consulting, planning, and throwing functions big or small. I love how party planning enables me to express my creativity and create lasting memories.
Here is a collection of some of my favorite personal parties I’ve thrown. As I throw more, I’ll post them here! Feel free to contact me for any inquiries. And be sure to check out more of my favorite party inspiration on my Pinterest page!
The color scheme I chose for my wedding was hot pink and yellow. They’re two of my favorite colors, and since we got married in August, I didn’t want any boring hues but a palette with some real summer “pop” to it! And yes, there are ways to use vibrant colors while keeping things elegant, and there are also ways to choose “feminine” colors without alienating the guys. We had a traditional church wedding and a formal reception at a beautiful new venue, so I wore an elegant ball gown style dress to fit the occasion. I was blessed to have gotten my dress at the famous Kleinfeld’s in NYC (of Say Yes to the Dress fame). My Mom and I worked with Camille (a regular on the show and the sweetest consultant who made me feel so comfortable) and my gown was custom designed by the incredible Pnina Tornai herself (who was wonderful and made me into a princess for a day!) Take a look below at the fabulous details of this dress, including all the hand-placed Swarovski crystals! Our wedding was a dream day and definitely one of our happiest. It is so true when people warn you to enjoy every second of your wedding day, because blink and you’ll miss it (especially the food!) Here are some pictures of the laborious but oh-so-worth-it details! Two of my favorite details are the guests’ place cards which were photos of us holding up table numbers, and the monogram I designed which was woven thoughout the day… even made into chocolate favors (with edible ink!)
Photos by Kate Connolly Testa
MY BABY SHOWER
My Mom knew I wouldn’t want to be surprised for either my bridal or baby shower. I never understood the idea of having a special day just for you that you can’t get excited about or plan a pretty outfit for. I also don’t know how smart it is to yell “Surprise!” at an eight-months pregnant girl! So, my baby shower was happily not a secret, and it was beautiful. My Mom knew I wanted input so I enjoyed some DIYing for my own shower! I knew my son’s nursery was going to be aqua and white, and since I also love yellow I chose those for the summer shower colors. Here are some of my favorite details, including the onesies clothesline table numbers and beautiful dessert table with milk bottle virgin pina coladas and mason jar trifles (each and every glass hand washed by a pregnant yours truly!)
We had my son baptized when he was four months old, so his big day fell on the coldest, snowiest day in February. Since Christenings and Communions are big deals to us Catholics, I had to make Jack’s celebration extra special. His wonderful godparents Stephanie (my best friend) and Nelson (my husband’s cousin) are both living in Florida and flew home to the freezing Northeast on Valentine’s Day just for their new godson. They got major points for that one! The Church ceremony was beautiful and we had a party afterward. Although I wanted the party to be festive, I didn’t want it to be like a Sweet Sixteen with loud music and craziness. I felt this was a family event, a baby’s occasion, and a religious one at that, so I wanted to keep it elegant and tasteful. Since lambs are a Christian symbol and a symbol of babies, I chose a theme of Lamb of God and tried to incorporate the spirituality of the event into the party. Here are some of my favorite details, including the amazing cake by Mrs. B’s Cakes, the fun activities I set up at the “Kids’ Corner” table, the personalized m&ms and giant guess-how-many m&ms jar giveaway, and the awesome printed place cards. Every guest received a tiny envelope with a card inside resembling a dictionary definition of a spiritual word… then they found their matching table name which featured a Bible verse about babies and children.
Photos by Kate Connolly Testa
JACK’S 1st BIRTHDAY “Mickey Mouse”
With a new baby and lots of happy occasions, I was on a roll throwing theme parties! And there couldn’t be a more exciting or fun reason to throw a theme party than my son’s first birthday! Jack was drawn to Mickey Mouse from early on, which I love since I’m a Disney fanatic (don’t get me started on my plans for his first trip to Disney World!) My husband and I agreed that Mickey was the perfect theme for Jack’s first birthday party, so I jumped in head first DIYing up an awesome handmade invitation with the Mickey theme colors of red, yellow, and white (just a touch of black with the ears… not too much for a baby party.) We had Jack’s party a few days after his real birthday at an awesome restaurant right on the Hudson River overlooking the NYC skyline. The day started out rainy but I was so relieved when it cleared up beautifully so we could enjoy the outdoor features of the party…including an outdoor fire pit s’mores station and a real Hot Diggity Dog cart! And it was all captured in beautiful photos by the super talented and fun Jacqui and Julia, of Jac & Jules Photography. Some of my favorite details were custom Jack cookies from the Pink Cake Box, another fabulous Mrs. B’s cake I dreamed up, and giant red and yellow tissue poms strung from the rafters (which took me 759 hours to assemble but are always worth it in my book!) I did a ton of crafting for this party. My favorite DIY projects included Disney themed buffet cards, JACK spelled out in handpainted Disney character designs, posters of Jack’s 1st year month by month pictures and achievements, and mounted 1st birthday portraits above the dessert table. This was one of my happiest days ever and I loved seeing my baby’s one-year-old little face light up at the sight of his first birthday cake!
Photos by Jac & Jules Photography
JACK’s 2nd BIRTHDAY “Chugga Chugga, Two Two!”
I went all out for Jack’s 1st party because, well, it was the first! But for his 2nd birthday party I wanted to do something smaller, casual, and toddler-friendly. Now that Jack has his own preferences and interests I found it easy to pick a theme, location, activities, foods etc. Trains — especially Thomas the Train — are among my little guy’s absolute favorite things in the world. So for his 2nd birthday theme I chose “Chugga Chugga, Two Two!” with an emphasis on “Jack & Friends.” 😀 We rented a pavilion at our favorite park which I knew would be special since Jack and I spend so much time there. There’s a beautiful carousel that boasts incredible hand-carved animals from which Jack first learned all his animal names and sounds as a little baby. The picnic area has tables and sits right on the big, awesome playground. Best of all, this park has an adorable real miniature train ride which circles half the park for a relaxing seven minute trip! I prayed for sunny, rain-free weather and my prayers were answered on a mild October afternoon. But there were record winds which made the outdoor decorating less than ideal (people were practically blowing away not to mention all our balloons!) So although I couldn’t use every adorable train detail I planned, it was still too cute for words and a perfect theme for my happy 2 year old. The piece de resistance which defied the wind was definitely the incredible cake made by Amanda at my favorite bakery Mrs. B’s Cakes. I came up with the crazy idea of all of Jack’s favorite characters riding a train around his cake…and Amanda brought it to life better than I dreamed! I love every cake they’ve made me but this was by far my favorite…yet! Here are some of the amazing pictures captured by two of my favorite photographers, Jac & Jules.
JACK’S 3rd BIRTHDAY PARTY “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”
Some of the beautiful pics from Jack’s 3rd Birthday at The Little Gym!