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What a Collaboration Looks Like: Planning My Daughter's Birthday

Sarah Reuangrith Birthday Brainstorming Doing what love How To Open House Party Planning Summer Themes

This is one of our Party Planning articles, to read the rest of them please visit our Party Planning 101 Post.

One of the areas that makes Thea-Bel unique is our ability to have multiple crafters collaborate on the same project.  In past articles we have gone through how we can help with your party planning needs but have never gone through a real life example to show how this would look.

What a Collaboration Looks Like

 My daughter Thea turned two in August.  Like most parents we decided to throw her a birthday party so that we could celebrate this special milestone with friends and family.  Since I love event planning (who knew) and own a crafting collective, I figured this was the perfect way to show what a collaboration would look like as well as let you know they are not just for big events.

The Plan

Since it is summer, we decided to host a backyard BBQ for friends and family.  Thea loves everything "water" so we opted for a Beach Themed event.  We selected the date, time and sent out invites for the party (we opted for electronic ones) and then needed to look at decorations.  This is when I brought my vendors on board.

What I'm Looking For

I was pretty open for ideas and was very curious as to what kinds of items my vendors could come up with.  I provided the date that I needed the items by, the theme and asked for ideas.  To help guide my vendors I came up with the following starting points:

  • Signs to label food
  • thank you cards
  • table centre
  • loot bags for kids
  • outdoor decoration
  • cake topper
  • signage directing people to head to back yard / direction of activities
  • anything else you can think of that might work (prizes for games, activities themselves, birthday gift for Thea)

Idea's From Vendors

My vendors didn't disappoint.  Here are the ideas that my vendors came up with:

  • Cake topper
  • Key chains for loot bags
  • Food signs
  • Happy Birthday knitted sign
  • Small boxes to use for loot bags
  • Thea's name on pails
  • Seashell garland
  • Lantern jelly fish
  • Pallet silhouettes of a mermaid, seahorse and nautilus shell for hanging on the fence
  • A beach/sea themed wreath with a welcome sign in it for entrance to yard or house
  • Twine wrapped bottles in beach colors filled with sand to hold balloons
  • Beach/sea centerpiece for a table
  • Thank you cards

Narrowing Things Down

 With that list in tow it was time for me to look at my budget and narrow things down.  Although everything on the list sounded awesome, storing a bunch of beach themed items is not practical.  I wanted decoration that I could reuse multiple times regardless of theme.  By investing in pieces I not only have decorations for this event but also for next year.  I opted to stick with the beach theme for the giveaway items and kept the rest a bit more generalized.

What I Got

Here are the items that I ultimately went with.

H&M Design made these adorable sunshine boxes that I used as the loot bags.  They retail for $2 each ($2.50 if you want 2 Lindor Chocolates inside).  I ended up getting 30 of them (crazy I know but we have a huge family and didn't know exactly how many kids we would have coming).  

Reusable Water Balloons $2.50 from Lindsey Gagnon Photography and Craft.  As we were holding the party in the backyard and it has been so hot this year, we figured we would have a water fight.  What is better for a water fight than these reusable water balloons?  Everyone had so much fun playing with them.  It was very soothing to pull them out of the pool and then throw them at the fence and hear that splat sound.  I purchased 10 of them (again lots of kids) so that we could have them stashed in various buckets and pools around the yard.  If you were purchasing them for personal use you could get away with 3 or so of them.  


Custom handmade beach ball thank you cards from LB Creations.  Instead of gifts we had asked guests to bring a birthday card for Thea that she wouldn't open until her sixteenth birthday.  We knew however that there would be lots of people to thank so it was important for me to get some thank you cards.  While these are not available on the website, they would retail for around $2 and come with an envelop (depending on quantities).


Fantastic drift wood "Happy Birthday" cake topper and starfish and shells on a stick from ROSHKO Innovations.  Following my theme of reusable decorations I opted to leave any names off the cake topper.  Now this can be used for any birthday.  These items were custom pieces that are not currently on the website.  The cake topper would retail for around $35.  The starfish and shells on sticks would be a bulk order item: 12 for $24 or 6 for $15.  If you want them individually they will cost $3 each.  I went with four of each.

Starfish key chains from ROSHKO Innovations.  I got these to give out to guests as part of the loot bag.  They retail for $6.50 each but I got a deal as I bulk ordered them.

Happy Birthday knitted flags from Geekdom Knits.  This was an investment piece that I am just thrilled about.  Each of the squares was knitted individually and then put on the ribbon.  As it is knitted, it folds down nicely and is easy to store.  Unlike some of the paper versions this one will last forever.  Again I opted to keep it generic so I could use for any birthday party.  This would retail for around $100 (depends on colours used, etc.).  If I host 3 birthdays a year for the next 16 years it will work out to around $2 per use.  It should last much longer than that.

The Day Of

We lucked out and had beautiful weather (we were worried and had a backup plan of moving everything inside).  Like any party we had some last minute cancellations but overall had a good turn out and of course the birthday girl had an amazing day.

We kept the food simple with almost all of it coming from Costco.  We had some left over plates and napkins from last year that we used (conveniently they had dolphins on them) and I purchased those great cutlery holders from the dollar store.

 We set up all our outdoors toys as well as two kiddie pools and a bucket for the water balloons.

The happy birthday flags looked amazing hung along the fence.

Due to the number of people we were hosting I made three different cakes (I cheated and used boxed cakes and icing).  I picked up the decorations at bulk barn.  The sand was achieved by sprinkling brown sugar on top of the icing.  The cake on the left was a sandcastle contest.  I used the starfish and shells on sticks to decorate the castles (they made the cake).  The middle cake I used blue sprinkles and gummy bears and sharks and topped it off with the driftwood birthday sign.  The cake on the right was cupcakes that I stacked to create a beach theme.  I used shot glasses full of blue jello for the water effect.  Very easy to do and they turned out better than I thought they would (I had pretty low expectations as I was winging it).  I made the cakes the day before as I figured I could always run out and get a cake if they turned out badly.

For the loot bags I filled the sun boxes with the starfish key chains, left over gummy candies from the cake and these really cute erasers I found at the dollar store (pack of 30 for $3, variety of beach themed designs).  

 Wrap Up

Overall I am pretty happy with how the event went off.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  All the items with the exception of the loot bags and thank you cards will be used as part of next years decorations.  The water balloons get continual use as Thea just loves them and the loot bags were a huge hit.  

There you go, we can help with just about any event.  Simply send us an email and let us know the details.

Want More

Check out the Fairy Lantern birthday party that we did.




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