The Party Of The Year.

Sometimes we see little snippets of party pretty that may not be strictly “W-day” related an first glance but the ideas, decor and colour schemes can easily be utlised for any kind of celebration.

This is what I thought when I saw the beautifully designed birthday of List member David Long’s cute-as- a-button son Rafferty a few months ago. David’s partner Claire and planner Louise from Purely Events set about creating a fun filled village fete theme for Rafferty’s special day and used a selection of DIY down-loadables and easy to replicate supermarket finds to achieve the finished look.


This is perfect for a hen party, big day reception or indeed a similar birthday bash you may have in mind for any of your little ones in the very near future.

I’ll hand over to Claire to share the whole “How-to”


Claire: Inspired by the many beautiful weddings, parties and events seen on the Internet and in magazines I enrolled Louise from Purely Events to help create the 3rd birthday party of the year.

I had some amazing ideas about how she wanted the party to look with a village fete theme, the most exciting of her ideas was an ice cream parlor and sweetie table! The challenge was that this was all decided just 2 weeks before the big day!

We wanted a village fete style party with a pretty feel, using lots of bunting, bright balloons, lucky dip, tin can alley and hook a duck!

All kids love ice cream and sweets – and when we thought about how to present these we decided we could get really creative with it using an ice cream parlour and sweetie table. Rafferty’s age group also really enjoy dressing up and with my partner David Long frequently setting up Photo Booth’s at his weddings we thought why not emulate this for the kids.

We wanted the tables to be clean, crisp and light so kept the color palette simple. Both tables were heavily inspired by Amy Atlas and the beautiful tables she creates for parties, weddings and other events. Taking her ideas, downloadable graphics and the ice cream parlour concept from Eat Drink Chic we personalised them and made them bespoke for Rafferty’s Ice Cream Parlor!

We measured the tables at our local village hall where the party was held and bought some mdf wood of the same length to create a backdrop to rest behind each table which we covered with blue and white stripy wallpaper. Backdrops really do add something special to the tables and are a great way of pulling together your colour scheme. The wallpaper used here was bought from Laura Ashley.

We chose pure white tablecloths for the ice cream parlor, as we wanted to highlight the pretty tone of blue that we were using in the signs/napkins/spoons etc. The tablecloths were £3.50 each bought from John Lewis. We were really pleased with the quality of these cloths, as they were paper made to look like linen. Most of what was on the table was sourced from our own homes – or charity shops. We were lucky enough to find some lovely wooden trays in a charity shop and painted them white. The main topping dispenser was just 3 cheap box files from Ikea which we superglued together and also painted white.

We picked up some pretty card in our colour scheme from a local craft shop and used these to give colour to the white ceramic plates, which held the meringues.

The glass drink bottles were actually just tonic water bottles bought from Sainsbury’s. We washed them with soapy water and scraped the labels off – which was surprisingly easy to do. We used nail varnish remover to completely clean the bottles of all the glue. I had seen stripy paper straws on an American website and we managed to search the internet to find them in the UK from Pippi. This was another great way of bringing the colour palette to the table. The “drink me” labels were designed by Michelle Fiedler and were just printed on address labels. Using the Amy Atlas downloads from her website we passed this onto our designer Michelle who changed the colours and played around with wording adding Rafferty to the Ice Cream Parlour signs and Ice cream cups.

The topping signs were stuck onto paddle sticks bought from the local craft shop.

The ice cream cups were 9oz cups bought from the local party shop and using the cutout designs from Amy Atlas we glued them onto the paper cups. This was really easy and quick to do. You can use any toppings you like for the table – but keeping the colours soft and within your colour scheme where possible does help. We used only blue smarties and the popping candy was really popular!! We filled a drinks bucket with ice to keep the ice cream cold for the duration of the party.

We had a separate sweetie table. Again we sourced mdf wood for the backdrop and covered it in the same wallpaper. We created a sign for the backdrop and also created tags that were tied with pretty ribbon to each jar with wording such as EAT ME, YUM YUM , SWEETIE HEAVEN. We bought white paper bags from e-bay and using a hole punch and pretty ribbon from a local craft shop we tied personalised gift tags to them. These bags were used as going home presents and each child could fill their own bag, which added to the whole experience. Our jars were sourced from The Wedding Of Your Dreams, Asda and also from local charity shops.

The sweetie scoops were sourced from the internet. The sweets themselves we bought from supermarkets as they were reasonably priced. The pretty bunting was sourced from e-bay and borrowed from friends.

The little guests and their parents were in awe of the fabulous ice cream and sweetie tables and everyone commented on how amazing they looked and what fun they added to Rafferty’s birthday party.

The children and adults loved dressing up to have their photo taken in the photo booth and the photographs made a lovely memento of Rafferty’s party which were then used on thank you cards.

Photography – David Long

Styling – Claire Baird and Louise at Purely Events

Sweet Table Inspiration – Amy Atlas

Wallpaper – Laura Ashley

Table Cloths – John Lewis

Straws – Pippi

Label Designs – Michelle Fielder

Downloadable Graphics and Ice Cream Parlour Concept Inspiration – Amy Moss at Eat Drink Chic

Sweets? Ice Cream? Fancy Dress?

Sounds like my kind of party 😉

Do let us know if any of you gorgeous lot are planning a creative affair for your hen, birthday or just for the hell of it (!) anytime soon and tell us what you have in mind, any excuse to gossip about styling and decor!

Big I’m Stealing All Of These Ideas Love

Charlotte xxx

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

28 thoughts on “The Party Of The Year.

  1. Wowza! Kids parties have come a long way since my day – bit of bowling action followed by a Happy Meal on the way home and a party bag with bubbles, a pencil and a lemon lollipop! Doesn’t quite cut it anymore.

    I pretty much think I am going to use all of the ideas for my next birthday – so what if i am no longer a kid! I will definitely still be dressing up!

    Think I would change the colour scheme to green and pink – and maybe add some alcohol! 😉



  2. I thought you were going to announce another RMW party!!

    Wish I was five ‘cept I’d have pink.

    Happy bank holiday love people (and especially the first 2011 RMW Bride!)

  3. Can match these ideas with those from the brighton hen do featured earlier in the year and make a fandabbydozy hen night in! Am thinking this hen night for the fam. xx

  4. Most of the little boys I know would be happy with bowling and a Happy Meal! I think this is something that the parents will appreciate more than the children – not to say it isn’t lovely of course.

  5. Well, in the words of Amy Childs, I am Well Jell of that birthday party and want something similar for my 30th in January… best I get planning!

  6. So gorgeous – a little bit more excited now as David is doing our wedding next weekend!! Yikes 8 days to go…!!!

  7. I had no idea that having children could be a doorway into pretty event organising EVERY YEAR…. post-wedding planning blues begone *tosses contraceptive pills into the bin*



  8. I diiiiiieeeee. Loving the Amy Atlas inspiration!

    My birthday isn’t until September, but I may well pull in forward! Sod the kids, I want I want!!!

    Happy Friday everyone!


  9. Beautiful – great to see a move away from the dreadful ‘McKids’ parties and a return to ice cream, sweets and dressing up. Gorgeous attention to detail.

  10. Some excellent ideas but the most chuckle worthy display of competitive parenting I’ve seen in yonks! Fabulous!

    Love the RMW style cupcake wrappers.

  11. What a fantastic party! A true childhood dream. Love the dressing up idea with the photos to capture the magic and to keep for the memories.

  12. Hi Ladies – thanks for the lovely comments. I had such a lot of fun organising this party with Purely Events – I am ever so slightly shabby chic/vintage/pretty obsessed so whilst Raf would have probably preferred a Bob The Builder party I most definitely saw it as an excuse to submerge myself in the “prettiness” of it all. I have had lots of friends ask me to replicate this table for their parties – such an easy look to achieve but sometimes people just need to see what else can be done! I love the fact it was a bit different – and most importantly the kids had a great time! Maybe next year Raf can have that Bob The Builder party………….

  13. I love the ice-cream sundae bar idea! But I have to agree with some other posters… all this effort, and hiring a party planner, for a 3-year olds birthday party?! I think I had some cake and a run around the park with a couple of little friends when I was 3!

  14. I agree Penny, this is a perfect way to keep the create juices flowing once the big day is over. It all looks delicious and I will certainly be considering something similiar for my little beauties. Thanks for giving us such fab ideas to replicate!

  15. As mum to a 3 year old who has a better social life than me with a party to attend every other weekend I can confirm that kids are still suitably pleased with party bags/bubbles etc, beautifully done though! X

  16. I keep coming back and looking at that photo of the cupcake because I really wish I could just reach into the screen and grab it in all its yummy glory!!! xox

  17. It’s madness, but it’s gorgeous! The decor is beautifully done, and the kids dressed up look brilliant. Loving the animal costumes… something I’ve only ever seen on one other wedding blog!

  18. Hi girls thanks so much for your comments we were so delighted to work with someone as creative as Claire she really wanted to break away from the normal kids parties and she wanted something that could be transferable to any party whether that was kids, weddings, parties at home. The tables are so easy to do and are not that expensive why not do away with your pudding in a venue and offer a few of these tables as an alternative. We are more than happy to come and set these up for you and you will be shocked at how much it will save per head.

  19. I love any excuse for a celebration!! I’m planning my 30th at a villa in Italy next year with a small group of friends and am definitely going to go to town on it. I absolutely cannot wait!!

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