Baby · Party

A Very Hungry Caterpillar 1st Birthday

It seems impossible to think that Carter has already turned one and his party is here and done.  I knew from about 5-6 months that I wanted the theme to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  The first book that Carter really liked was the soft one for this story.  Plus, I knew it would make a really cute and unique theme.  I scoured Pinterest and other blogs to get some ideas for his big day and am SO happy with how it turned out.
I went back and forth on whether or not to make his invitations.  I looked through all the Cricut cartridges to find a caterpillar that would fit the bill and never found one that met what I wanted so I turned to Etsy.  I found a seller who had a Caterpillar invite and asked if she could make some tweaks to it.  She agreed and had it back to me within a few hours!  She was great to work with and the digital file turned out perfect.  I had the invites printed at Staples which was quick and easy as well.
I spent a lot of time searching Etsy for the perfect birthday onesie – his turned out so cute.  This is another seller I would order from in the future.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do an outfit change at his party or just leave him in the onesie but ultimately just left him in the ONE-sie :).  I did add a “birthday boy” bib for his cake tasting to protect from icing stains.
Another thing I debated on was a custom party hat.  My mom ended up finding this one at Party City the day before his party and the colors were perfect to match with his theme.  I’m glad I didn’t spend more on a custom hat because he kept this on all of 30 seconds before melting down in tears!  He was ok with it sitting on his head but HATED when the elastic was under his chin.  At least I got a few adorable pictures in it!
Speaking of pictures, I decided to splurge and hire a professional photographer to capture the day.  That freed me up to be able to just enjoy Carter and our guests without having to take pictures too.  I do regret not asking someone to record the singing of Happy Birthday – I had every intention to and then just totally forgot.
Until two weeks before his party, I was set on making cupcakes into the shape of a Caterpillar for his cake and then making the head be the smash cake.  After giving it more thought, and finding out I had a business trip that week, I decided to go ahead and work with a local bakery to get the cake, smash cake and cookie favors.  The cakes turned out really cute but the big cake was a little dry.  Carter’s smash cake was delicious – so moist!  I ended up with a ton of cake leftover since so many ended up not coming that had RSVP’d.  The cookies were the most tasty of all though – I could have eaten a dozen!  They were the perfect party favors.
I also made up these little bags of favors for the little ones – they had a set of 3 boats that float, bubbles and some stickers.  All to match our theme/colors.
I found several cute Caterpillar related items online.  I got the plates and napkins from Party City and bubbles, cups with lids and stickers from Oriental Trading.  The little cups/lids also made good favors.  Tip – I had labels ready to stick on the lids so that they didn’t get mixed up.
For lunch, we had a chick-fil-a nugget tray and sweet tea, sandwich tray from Publix, chips/dip, veggie tray and dip and fruit skewers.
Of course no party is complete without balloons – I also loved that the balloons could easily be shaped and decorated to look like the Caterpillar!  I made one on the stairs and one at the front door.  I used the Cricut to cut out eyes and added pipe cleaners for antennas.  Party fail… I thought I was buying one of the big “1” Mylar balloons and it ended up being about 12″ instead!  Ugh.  Not enough time to remedy that mistake so I had to do without.
I made a couple other Caterpillars to add to the decorations.  I found paper flowers at the Dollar Tree and they were the perfect size to hang down from our cat walk to make a focal Caterpillar in the “party room”.  I had one leftover and we stuck him in the corner of the shelf.
I saw a tutorial on this foam caterpillar and knew I had to have one for Carter’s party!  Our first nanny, Madie, was in town and helped me paint him and put together – he turned out great.
My mom, Madie and I made the paper tassel garland and gosh it took a while!!!  Luckily we started several months ago and I had allowed enough time to get it done!  It was the perfect addition to the mantle and high chair and really gave the room a nice pop of color.  There’s plenty of tutorials out there on how to make the garland so I’m not going to share that here since I used several tutorials out there to make mine.  This is the caterpillar that’s on the high chair tray.
I made Caterpillar themed wreath for the front door to greet guests as they arrived.  I found this caterpillar on Amazon and also purchased this little set from there too. I ended up decorating with it, too.  Carter has loved playing with this set – taking the items out and putting them back in – over and over again.
Something else I worked hard on all year was Carter’s baby books – I ended up with three very full scrapbooks of his first 11 months to display at the party.  I also had another frame of pictures of his monthly pictures on display and a picture garland in the breakfast room showing his progression.
 A couple more decorations… I got the first birthday table topper at Party City, the monthly chalk board is from Babies-R-Us, the candy caterpillar is made with peanut M&Ms and rose bowls are from the Dollar Tree.  I wanted some sort of guest book so I thought to incorporate Project Life journaling cards with our guests’ favorite memory of Carter to add to his scrapbook when I get around to scrapbooking his first party.  My mom let me borrow her birthday garden flags.
Carter received so many wonderful gifts and LOVED being the center of attention!  He didn’t care so much for the cake but it was cute when he picked off the sugar letters for his name and ate them all!  When it came time to open presents, he was more interested in crawling around the room than seeing what he got.  He did latch on to the second gift he opened and carried these little Fisher Price Disney characters around the rest of the time!
We had a fabulous time celebrating our little love and enjoyed sharing the special day with our families and friends.

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