Young, Wild & Three
Finally, here they are: pictures from Eli’s third birthday party. As usual, there are too many for one blog post, so I have split them up into THREE (how appropriate): The Decor │ The Party │ The After-Party
**All of these posts coming to you today! Please click on each title to link to the relevant post!
The theme for Eli’s birthday was “Young, Wild & Three”. This might sound silly, but I thought about this long and hard, because the truth is Eli’s NOT wild, and I don’t like references to boys being wild, trouble, or crazy. hahaha… forgive me – I hate stereotypes. Our boy is sweet and calm. I didn’t know if I should give him this theme birthday if it didn’t represent his nature. I later decided that the theme, overall, could also stand for adventure, exploration and fun. Right now he is all about exploring and learning new thing. He loves being outdoors, building forts, and running through the trees. He also can’t say “three”, and instead, says “FREE”… so eventually, I decided the “free” theme was perfect.
For Eli’s first birthday, we did a Cake Smash Photo Shoot Session, went for a long coastal walk and then ended with lunch at DejaVu. For his second birthday, we had a little party for him at DejaVu. Later in 2016, DejaVu Cafe close down… leaving us very disappointed. We absolutely loved this restaurant and we were sure going to miss it. There had been so many memories created there – meals with friends, a surprise party for Justin, date nights, burger cravings all through my pregnancy, and then with Eli.
Earlier this year, Justin and I both found out that DejaVu had not shut down, but simply moved to a new location. This happens a lot in China. You go to our favorite restaurant and find the doors closed – no notice, no news… It is the strangest thing! Justin and I both made secret plans to surprise each other with a date at DejaVu. Meantime, neither of us knew that the other knew our favorite cafe had relocated.
While Justin was away, I went to DejaVu for a Mother’s Day lunch. It was on that day that I decided we HAD TO have Eli’s third birthday at DejaVu. I loved that we could make another birthday tradition for our little man!
I said it before, and I’ll say it again… It is NOT easy to decorate a party (or anything, really) in China. There are no craft stores, and options are very limited. Since I have now done a fair share of parties and events, I know how to improvise, but it does take a lot longer because I have to search and search. I also have to handmade a lot of the things that I could just buy if we were in the States. Nevertheless, I hope that the struggle to decorate makes me even better when I someday live in a more decor/craft-friendly place.
It is not easy in China, but I’m getting the hang of it!
We did a THREE photo shoot for Eli, and I used a lot of those photos as part of the decor. The large letters wrapped in print, spelling out his name, were from his 2nd Birthday Party. They took hours to make so we thought that it would be nice to use them again. I want to paint them, but Justin loves them like this, so we kept them the same.
The tee-pees were made from old birthday party hats. I wrapped them in paper, glued a couple of sticks to stick out the top, and drew some cute patterns on them. The wooden circles I used from our home decor. I simply painted them with white and then chalkboard paint, and then wrote on them with a chalkboard pen. Justin and I made cute head pieces for the kids – each of them had a white feather and a word or pattern across them. The cake I got made at a bakery, and asked them to make it plain white. I then decorated it myself. The rest – banners, lantern, balloons, ribbons, and cake banner – I got online.
Above, One of the reasons that we love DejaVu is that the decor is SO AWESOME! This new location has an even better decor collection, so adapting it to our party was really fun. Last year we use the above wire wall bird cage to attach pictures of Eli. It definitely made me smile to look at it this year!
We had asked everyone to come to the party at 10:30 so we could sing and have some cake, and then those who wanted to stay for lunch could do that. Yup… we totally advocate cake before lunch! My initial goal was to have all the snacks be black and white to keep with the overall monochrome theme. I soon figured out that I must have been out of my mind to think that I could be so specific in China. This is the land of bright, over the top, loud colors. There were no black and white candies, foods or drinks… so I gave up, and just provided some basic snacks and foods to tie everyone over to lunch .
A couple of people asked if the party was “Zebra”-themed. hahaha. I guess all of the “Young, Wild and Free” posters weren’t clear enough. I put the zebra on the cake because it was black and white, and as I mentioned above… options are limited here. My thought process: Zebras are wild and free… Plus, they are black and white. I know Eli will be intrigued by this zebra and it will make hi, stare at the cake with excitement…. (I was right. He giggled excitedly when he saw the zebra!)
Below, Look at his blurry hand!! YUP… going straight for that zebra!
The Set Up
We got to DejaVu just after it opened at 9am. Our sweet friend, Sarrah, came with to help get the decor up, and my mother came with to make sure that we didn’t need to keep an eye on Eli. We only had about an hour to set up, and we were starting from scratch. Those shelves you see were packed full of booked, and the tables were all set up in lines. It took about 15-20 minutes to get everything down, and then start building it up the way that we wanted. I’m so thankful for the helping hands. It is strange to be “directing” things, and I have to admit that I LOVED it. I would love to do this, and photography, full-time.
Below, The view of our set-up from the stairscase leading upstairs.
There you have it – the location, set up, decor and food, at our sweet boy’s third birthday.
Up next, pictures of all the friends having a good time: Eli’s 3rd Birthday Party.