Recently Ari had his fourth birthday and we enjoyed a week long celebration including a trip to Sea World AND a Circus themed birthday party held at our local Strawberry Fields. Ari had THE BEST time, and so did I putting it together for him! I am big on birthdays, not only to celebrate another trip around the sun, but also that we all survived the year together as a family!
Ari had total control of choosing his theme and venue for his party this year. He loves the movie Dumbo so wanted to have a ‘Circus’ themed party. To me it was an extra special theme for him to choose as Dumbo was the first movie that my Grandad watched in the 1950s, and he still watches it with Ari today! When I searched ‘circus theme parties’ on Pinterest I found one particular image that I loved, and based the colour scheme on that.
Jess from Little J Design put together the invitations from concept, design to completion. I didn’t even have to send an idea to get her started! They were bright, playful and fun. I love posting out proper invitations because I know how excited children get when they receive them in the mail. Jess is truly amazing and I am forever grateful for her talents.
As I mentioned Ari had control over the venue for his party and he chose our local Strawberry Fields. Ari’s birthday comes around just as strawberry season commences and it is by far his favourite fruit. We also had a strawberry themed party for his second birthday, at the same venue, which you can read about on my blog. At the time of writing this the fields don’t charge a fee to host a party on their property. The venue is stunning with plenty of patches, a shop, playground and a cafe. It really is an incredible spot to host a birthday party.
Earlier his year I wrote a blog post for Chloe’s second birthday party, where I wrote about how I outsourced the food preparation for the first time ever. I also wrote that I didn’t think I would ever prepare all the party food again and I was spot on! Once again Sharni from Grazing Acres put together the most delicious spread of food including crackers, drips, cheeses, different fruits, meats, pretzels and more. The budget was perfectly on point, with only a small amount of food leftover for us to eat for dinner that night. Outsourcing your food prep really is a no brainer, and if you are close to the Sunshine Coast you must check out Grazing Acres. Not only did Sharni produce the most amazing party spread, but she styled the entire table using items that I had bought and provided including the decor. I will write more about this below, but one thing I did learn from Sharni is how food can be used as decor and to create stunning table scape.
I also borrowed a donut bar from a friend and filled it with delicious donut treats. I wasn’t sure if these would get eaten but every single one did!
The incredible Ange from Ange’s Cakes put together a charming white chocolate Circus themed birthday cake. Ange has been baking all our cakes for 18 months and every single one has gone down a treat! Ange also made 12 sweet little cupcakes which had circus animals jumping through hoops on them. Th concept, design and creation of the cakes was all Ange.
Ari’s cake topper was from XOXO Design which is where I always get our cake toppers from. Again, I had no input into the concept and design. I love working with suppliers who are passionate about what they do and watching their creativity unfold. The topper had a gorgeous circus tent on it as well as Ari’s name and the number four.
I also organised custom chocolates from Print and Party, who had the perfect deign for us! They were customised with Ari’s name on them. There are countless flavours of chocolate to choose from and you can even select the colour of the foil wrapping. All of this came be done from their website.
The sweetest circus themed cookies were handmade on the Sunshine Coast by Sweet P Cakes and Cookies. I love to support local where I can, so this was very special to me. All the cookie designs were in theme with the party and included fairy floss cones, circus tents and entry tickets. The cookies were a huge hit at the party because they tasted and looked amazing!
We had two party favours this time. The first was from Cloud Theory Marshmallows who put together gorgeous wrapped Marshmallows on a red and white sticks. They looked so cute on the table and really lifted the decor. Of course, the marshmallows taste fantastic too! Each gourmet marshmallow was handcrafted and came in the mail from Adelaide with no issues at all. The wonderful woman behind Cloud Theory Marshmallows is just so passionate about her work, I love it.
Secondly, we purchased an empty punnet for each child to go and pick fresh strawberries from the patch to take home. This made me feel a little better about all the sugar they consumed… Life is all about balance right!
My biggest tip when decorating is to choose one statement piece and put your budget into that. We chose to do a gorgeous balloon garland from Party Planet again because I was so thrilled with how Chloe’s turned out earlier this year. I sent Kelly my Pinterest photo and let her create. She is such a passionate and beautiful person. If you are close to the Sunshine Coast you really must check them out, they even deliver and do the set up too. This time we collected the day before and the garland only took 5 minutes to set up, it was so easy!
As the party was outdoors I needed to create a beautiful backdrop, so I ordered a custom screen from Be Branded. Little J Design provided to concept to Be Branded’s specs and then it was printed. The idea was perfect and can be used for future parties as we opted for no wording on this one and a simple design. The cloth attached to a gazebo and was great for providing shade and also as a wind barrier.
Be Branded also supplied a custom cut out for children to have their photos taken with. It was a sweet little lion design. This not only added to our gorgeous decor but provided a lot of fun fir the children too.
As I mentioned before Sharni from Grazing Acres came up with the whole table concept. I love that she set the tables up as a square because I am so used to doing them in a normal L shape look. She is so talented, and I am truly grateful for her creative eye, watching her work her magic on that table was a dream.
Things like the paper plates, cups, popcorn cups and napkins were all purchase online. I had a photo of Ari at ages newborn, one, two, three and four that I printed and put into white frames. Jess from Little J Design made me a sign to let guests know to take a party favour home, and made a cute ‘Roll up Roll up’ printable for me too. I placed vases on the table and filled them with red and yellow flowers that I purchased from Aldi for only $25. There were plastic animals scattered throughout the table, party hats and a sweet little Ferris wheel puzzle that I made with Chloe. Whenever we have a party I always go through our home to see what decor might work with the theme. This time I pulled a few large animals from Ari’s jungle themed bedroom and popped party hats on them.
The beautifully talented Emma Nayler took the stunning images you will see below, and I am so incredibly grateful for her talents. She just went about the day and did her thing, with us able to just enjoy the party with our beautiful boy. I would highly recommend employing a photographer for all your important occasions. The one time I didn’t listen to this advice is the one occasion I don’t have any photos from! Not only does Emma photograph families, but engagement sessions and weddings also (overseas too.)
Chloe’s oufit – Nicole Elliot Designs
Ari’s outfit – Online through Ebay
Gum Boots – Seed Heritage
My dress – Breastfeeding Wear Autralia
We decided to invite the children to dress in circus theme if they wished. Ari really wanted to be a Ring Master so after searching high and low for a custom I bought one on Ebay.
Nicole Elliot Designs made Chloe the most stunning Ballerina costum. This lady is seriously celver with a needle! Everything from her Tutu to the feather belt was so sweet. Due to rain the few days before the party both little enjoyed wearing ‘flashing light gum boots.’
Photography – Emma Nayler
Venue – strawberry Fields
Invites and design of signage and printable – Little J Design
Food table – Grazing Acres
Cake and cupcakes – Ange’s Cakes
Custom cake toppers – XOXO Design
Cookies – Sweet P Cakes and Cookies
Custom chocolates – Print and Party
Marshmallow party favours – Cloud Theory Marshmallows
Balloon garland – Party Planet
Custom back drop and cut out – Be Branded
Chloe’s oufit – Nicole Elliot Design
My Dress – Breastfeeding Wear Australia
Supplier Instagram pages
Photography – @emma_nayler_photographer
Invites and design of signage and printable – @littlejdesign
Breakfast Table – @grazing.acres
Cake and cupcakes – @angescakes
Custom cake toppers – @xoxodesign_au
Cookies – @sweetpcakesandcookies
Custom chocolates – @printandparty
Marshmallow party favours – @cloudtheorymarshmallows
Balloon garland – @party__planet
Custom back drop – @_bebranded
Chloe’s outfit – @nicoleelliott_designs
I have a HUGE list of discount codes available, including to some of the stores involved in the planning of Ari’s epic party. All you need to do is subscribe and it will hit your inbox.
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For party inspiration check out my Pinterest here.
Now for the party spam!