I am so excited about this new feature I'll be sharing over the next month, leading up to Benjamin's first birthday! As you know, we belong to a pretty big and active mom's/playgroup. This means that we've been to our share of first birthday parties, and let me tell you! My friends have set the bar HIGH, folks! I've asked some of my friends, here and in Cali, to allow me to highlight their parties on Love, Joleen.
First up is my friend, Hanna, her husband, Sam, and their daughter, Abby. I met Hanna here in Atlanta through our mom's group, but she and her husband are Southern California natives like me! Because of this we can bond over things like unsweetened tea. In her words:
The party theme was Mother's Animal Cookies. My husband and I wanted something different and girly but not difficult. We loved that the main colors were white and pink with rainbow sprinkles. I did not want to put an "animal cookie" cut out or picture on everything but I wanted subtle hints of it along with playing with the main colors.
Los Angeles, California
My favorite details were her invites for California and Atlanta. California invites were custom made by the ever so talented Sara Kim. I had to include the Atlanta invites also because it was something that I personally could do for this party. I studded each invite with Swarovski crystals along the rainbow banner. I also loved the cake at her California party because it was such a unique cake that fit with the party perfectly. The jumbo balloons and clear balloons with confetti were also big winners. Oh yes, cannot forget the most important detail: the food! We catered Korean food in California and had Mirko's handmade pastas in Atlanta.
The California party was a bit difficult to plan because I was in Atlanta. The Korean first birthday (dohl) is a huge event and it is rarely taken lightly. Some are as elaborate as weddings but I knew I could not plan such an event with the budget I had set and being so far away. But with the help of my in laws and dear friend Audrey Kim, who is also a baking extraordinaire, we were able to make this party happen with almost 90 guests in attendance. Our venue at the Buena Park Community Center was beautiful and airy. The front table was not as elaborate as other dohl's but we wanted to keep it very simple and showcase the cake. We had rice cakes at the front table as well as on top of each table. We also had dohl towers that I had made using a template online. The traditional doljabi also took place where Abby wore a traditional Korean outfit and chose what her future career would be.
Our Atlanta party was much more fun and laid back. I did not do much planning or prepping for this party because all I knew was that I wanted the dessert table and food to be fantastic. We wanted guests to eat to their heart's content and enjoy each other's company. Not having a creative mind at all, the hot air balloon photo area was definitely a good and easy addition to the party. We used a mini Polaroid camera and gave our guests their picture right after it was taken. My most favorite thing was probably the most amazing buttermilk doughnuts ever from Dutch Monkey. We decided to have Abby do another doljabi at her Atlanta party so our guests could experience a little part of our culture.
With both parties, we asked guests to hashtag pictures on Instagram with #happyfirstabby. I loved going back and looking at the pictures that people took at both parties! Definitely one of the best things we did for both parties. Needless to say, I was completely exhausted after the 2 weeks of traveling and throwing 2 parties but it was well worth the memories that were created.
Thank you so much for sharing Abby's two beautiful birthday parties with us, Hanna!! Also, I've asked if I could share some of my own photos from her Atlanta party. It was as yummy as it looks!
Venue: Buena Park Community CenterCake: Nisa Pungpravat
Party Planner: Audrey Kim
Custom Invites: Sara Kim
Korean Food Catering: Angel Catering
Photographer: Jerome Park
Venue: Mirko Pasta in Johns Creek, Georgia
Dougnuts: Dutch Monkey Doughnuts
Hot Air Balloon Basket: Home Goods