Tuesday, March 4, 2014

{Cormac's POP Art Party!} & Learning to Work With My Strengths!

As most of you know- we were moving cities 6 weeks before this party happened, so the planning of it was as all over the place. I feel thankful that my amazing photographer was able to capture so many great images because my brain was spinning trying to get ideas together in time to make this party a reality. Literally crawling around our basement unpacking boxes the night before, not the usual way I set up for a party!
I already blogged about how the theme for this party came about {Art Party + Balloon Dog = POP Art Party}... and how I tried avoiding putting the family through Party Week here, if you haven't read it yet- you should. It makes me seem like a stress-free party planner... HA!
Although my husband might disagree- for me (and every other party planner), this party was done on a small budget. As with any move, finances were tight (paying a rent and a mortgage!) so I somehow managed to do this entire party for under $350.00- including food thankyouverymuch. (Hot dogs, chips and a soda bar). If you think that's a lot (husbands out there!) then you really don't know how much can go in to a professionally planned party. This is why it's a hard business to figure out profit on... Because things add up- quickly! With the amount of people we invite to our parties- they never end up being cheap, just like they never end up being less than 50 people. Ever. This party was kind of a house warming/birthday so I really wanted it to be fun and welcoming... but I had to keep reminding myself to tap in to things I already owned to save on spending. Having done a Rainbow Party for my daughter's 1st birthday this actually worked out quite nicely. I already had my table cloth and backdrop (Cormac's old bedroom curtains) as well as the lanterns from my birthday this Summer, colorful stacking boxes and a bunch of other smaller d├ęcor. The entire party is pretty much just a mix of every other party I've done- if you've been following me a while- you know this! I call it Party Recycling...
One of the pluses of being a party planner is that friends offer you random things they were planning to donate or get rid of... My advice is that if you have the space- take it! You seriously never know when or where it will come in handy. I was given 12 clear frames a year ago (which I inserted coloring pages in to) and 19 mini wood crates (kid's decorated and took home as "art crates"). These added great detail- all for free 50 free!
I had to learn to let go of some things with this party- because financially I was lucky to be throwing it. It actually helped me learn a few bigger things about myself as a party planner, or as I like to call myself: Party Stylist. Things that are really helping me define myself as a business woman and party planner. Here are a few...
I learned to let go of the idea of the ever popular fondant cake. Are they gorgeous? Yes. Does every party planner these days seem to have an amazing fondant cake at the center of their work? For the most part, yes. Currently however, I do not have the money/connections to use a fondant artist in my work... So I'm not! A while back I thought this would be the party for me to make that happen, but it wasn't... So instead of stress out about it- I went with the poor woman's version of a fondant topper and used a custom graphic topper. I realized I am not known for having fancy cakes anyway. Usually Hannah whips something up and we decorate it cute and simple. My goal is to make the entire dessert table look great, truthfully- the cake is almost a second thought. I am embracing that concept now!
I learned to work with my strengths/resources. As I mentioned before- my strengths lie in design. The extras I bring to the table as a party planner are sewing, color coordination and an eye for styling a table. I am not an excellent baker. I am not a prop-builder. I've learned to use the talents I do have to add the biggest bang to my parties. For this party I decided it would be sewing and using fabric I already had to make each kid an apron as their favor. The only thing I spent money on for the aprons were the ribbon ties I used, even I was impressed!
I learned to not pick apart everything that I wasn't able to finish in time. There were a few things I just didn't get to. One was putting my son's actual art desk out as a "prop". I'd normally still be dwelling on this oversight but in an effort to make myself realize I am literally on 3 hours of sleep while delegating, cleaning my house and getting ready myself- all while setting up a party- I'm learning to not be so hard on myself for letting a couple of things falls between the cracks. Now if this had been I stylized shoot- I'd still be really pissed.
I learned to let go of the idea that we will get the perfect photo of all the kids looking at the camera with their favors... Am I always going to try for this shot? Ya, of course I am. But I'm also coming to grips with the fact that I'm running an actual party that I don't want to zap all of the fun out of. So we try for "the shot" for a couple of minutes and then we learn to let it go and hope there's something we can use... and bank of the candid "everyone be crazy!" shot.
Aside from learning things- the party was really adorable. I feel so lucky to have found Sandy Ford Designs who did all of the amazing hand illustrated graphics of Cormac as well as all of the printables for the party. This is one talented lady!
Cormac had an awesome time playing with his friends and crafting/painting/creating- his fave past times. My husband twisted balloons in every color, shape and size and the Dessert Table and Soda Bar were a hit. All in all I am very happy with the way it turned out, whew!
I hope you enjoy the photos (and that they've had enough time to load!)
xo Party or Die xo

Party Stylist- Miss Party Mom
Photographer- Moments Captured Photography
Printables- Sandy Ford Design
Dipped Fortune Cookies- Pixie's Sweet Treats
Cake- Hannah's Cookies and Treats










  1. 1) PROPS on your expert budgeting!
    2) I'm gaga about the puppy balloon touches.
    3) Cormac is a kid after my own heart with his love of the pinata.
    4) please can do you do a 60s grown-up party with those ikea napkins some day?

    1. Um, YES an adult pop art party would be amazing! Maybe we can convince Bri to have a Pop Art wedding. HA! YA!

  2. So cute! Agree, love the puppy balloon garland!

    hugs! Kim @ Party Frosting!

  3. I can't believe that one of your issues was the cake. That rainbow cake looks AMAZING! So does everything else. The pictures were like dessert for my eyeballs. I see that Juniper and Evie made it to the party. I wish we could have made an appearance too!

    1. Well I hope you know if you're ever in town (as in LA) you're always welcome to any of my parties- I'd love to have you guys over. And I'm glad you liked the cake- I guess the inside was pretty great! The things you miss when you're busy admiring other people's work...

  4. 350???All that stuff?? You're my hero. Even if I try to bake and do the most things by myself is so hard to stay low budget... And that party was amazing. Where did you get the little plates for the cupcakes?? Love them!

    1. Thanks- I thought it was a STEAL too! These husbands have no clue how much a good party costs! The little paint palettes the cupcakes are in are from Michael's- .99 each!

  5. The photos look fantastic! So glad to have relived such a fun party!!! Good job again, Kenna! You're an amazing party planner :). P.S. I am fully impressed by your budgeting skills and doing this party just weeks shy of moving to SB. Clap, clap, raise the roof and all the other good job emojis out there ;)

    1. Thanks Kim, so glad you could make it... and thanks for sharing on your own blog!

  6. Party is very well organized. I love the colors you have used to decorate the walls and the dining table for the kids looks great.
    Party Planners

  7. Where did you get the YUM letters, I thought that was neat?


" "