Henry's 1st Birthday Party: Animals, Lanterns, and lots o' cake!

First birthdays are a big deal.
That milestone first year that sees so many transitions, changes and growth in both a little one’s life and his parents’ lives.
With this milestone occasion in my heart, we had to honor our Henry’s special birthday with a special party. 
Last year, on this particular weekend, I felt as big as a house, and ready to be a mommy. My due date was the day after Mother’s Day in ’13. Per my doc’s conclusion, I would not be celebrating my first Mother’s Day with a baby in my arms. It seemed that our little bun wanted to cook a little longer. Eight days after that Mother’s Day, Henry popped outta the oven and changed our lives for the better in every way! Our life changed and our hearts grew bigger than we could have imagined!

{See more on Henry and our first year as a family here.} 

Although Henry’s birthday was not until later in May, we felt it would be extra special to celebrate his 1st one with all of our family on Mother’s Day this year. Honoring motherhood and Henry’s two amazing grandmothers seemed apropos for the big day.
I was led toward an animal themed party with soft colors, sweet treats, and heirloom recipes to enjoy. We were blessed with the most glorious early May day at my parents’ home, and had a wonderful time celebrating our mothers and our little one too. 
Hope you enjoy the pics! 
The par-tay began with the invitation. I designed Henry’s invite around this watercolor painting I did inspired by the little safari animals that would be included in much of the party. I loved the way the little animals were perched under the party lanterns!  
A color scheme of aqua, white, mint, and grey set the tone for the Chinese paper lanterns, linens, and such. 
A few accents of gold here and there gave it all a little punch! 
My parents’ porch is the perfect place to gather. A long banquet style table gave guests a spot to eat their snacks and homemade ice cream. The wooden high chairs came from a storage barn at my grandparents’ farm – they are adorable and I loved using them knowing so many babies and generations of families have enjoyed them over the years. 
The paper lanterns, in 4 colors, drifted in the breeze throughout the day. Something about paper lanterns is so enchanting to me!
I used a combo of white and gray linens for the tables along with my and my mama’s bamboo flatware. Branches pulled from the yard filled simple hurricane vases and lined the table. Gold safari animals, both large and small, looked as if they were marching down the center. 
I found the wooden safari animal cutouts online and painted them gold. The large gold mural, on painter’s drop cloth, was painted by me and my super-hubs. 
It shows a safari scene silhouette – a little elephant and giraffe playing in the grass.
Laura Lyn, my super-talented sister-in-law designed these insanely adorable chalkboards for Henry’s big day. As you can see, we served my grandmother, Mama Doris’, decadent homemade peach ice cream along with my mother-in-law, Pammy’s delicious pound cake. My mama is an expert at pimento and cheese, and I love making the black bean dip. Kettle cooked chips topped off the menu before the birthday cake was served, and sugar cookies were sent home as favors. 
I mean, really? This is so stinkin’ cute! Henry’s Aunt LL did a beautiful job!!! 
I had the guest book with the invitation and a few fun pics along with Henry’s board.
Sidewalk chalk for the kiddos.
And favor buckets to take home.
Turquoise mason jars with animal cookies were offered as favors too.
This table also offered a welcome spot to rest with more little animals and favor jars.
My friend Linsey made the MOST incredible cookies for the day! 
They seriously were the caaa-utest thing ever! 
Pammy’s cake was beautiful and delicious! 
Miss Jan designed and made Henry’s simply stunning cake. Not only is it the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, but it tasted AH-mazing! 
Henry’s smash cake was almost too cute to let him mess with! But, in typical boy fashion, he had a big time smashing it! 
Here’s me and my boys! 
Our sweeter than life one year old baby boy! We
love you so, Henry! 
A few more shots from the day:
Our Griffin side of the fam…they’re so awesome, and Henry is so blessed to have them! 
Henry and his best friend Hampton!
Think he’s enjoying it?!?!
My best friends! 
My super-hubs and super-bro!
My side of the fam…they bless me in more ways than I can list, and I can’t thank them enough for all they do! Henry’s day was perfect thanks to you!
Cake by: Jan McCord
Cookies by: Linsey Freeman
Photography by: Ashlee Culverhouse
Lanterns from: Paper Lantern Store
Chalkboards by: Laura Lyn Coody
Watercolor invitation by: Maggie Griffin