This is my very favorite image of the entire party. I knew it would be worth the wait to view Ashley's party through Katie's lens. She did a beautiful job capturing Ashley and the details that night. Thank you Katie for sharing your gift so unselfishly with us. I love you sweet girl.
I am going to attempt to show you all the details of Ashley Kate's 8th birthday party. There are literally hundreds of photographs and hundreds of details. I'm going to do my very best to show you the highlights, with enough of an explanation for those of you who like details, without boring everyone else to the point that they wish I'd just stop writing about her party!
In trying to decide where to begin I quickly figured out that table themes and centerpieces would be the easiest. So...here we go...
We had a total of 9 themed tables. Each table featured a character or location from the movie. My goal was for the guest to be able to identify who or what each table represented. I was very pleased with the final product. My mom is a floral designer and probably one of the most talented people ever in this area. Her work is stunning and she was able to bring my ideas to life. I could not have pulled off this party without her help. We began designing in April and it took all 5 months to complete everything.
The themes in order from the picture above where: The Scarecrow, Dorothy, The Wicked Witch of the East, The Lion, Munchkin land, The Tin Man, The Emerald City, Glenda the Good Witch, and The Wicked Witch of the West.
This was one of my very favorite tables. We set up the table in the Kansas set, back inside the fence and rows of corn. The centerpiece featured, sunflowers, wheat, and apples branches(to represent the Haunted Apples that the Scarecrow managed to get the trees to throw at him and Dorothy), burlap ribbon and table runner, rafia, and a bushel basket. The linens for this table were a beautiful gold with a burlap overlay. Each centerpiece included a phrase from the character or theme, This card read, "If I only had a brain". Allie B. was my scarecrow and she was just as beautiful wearing straw as she is when all dressed up. She took my breath away that night!
The next table was also set up in the Kansas set. Dinner at Dorothy's house was the idea behind it all. What fun it would be to eat at Auntie Em's! With each centerpiece we began by choosing a central flower or item to represent the character. For Dorothy we chose a white daisy. This centerpiece featured the picnic basket, the signature blue and white gingham fabric from Dorothy's dress, daisies, along with blue and yellow flowers, a pair of ruby slippers(made from a pair of 2 dollar heels from the thrift store and spray glue with red glitter), toto, and a card that read "There's no place like home". We used white linens with a blue gingham fabric piece. Bright red charges with a white daisy marked each place setting. Beautiful Hayley played the role of Dorothy that night and she couldn't have been more perfect! I have some amazing photographs of this young lady with the guests that night and in every single one she is simply beautiful! I loved the way this table and set turned out.
The Wicked Witch of the East. The pictures don't do this arrangement justice. It was amazing. It all began with a red and black feather and some black, curly sticks. It was designed in three different red and black candle holders. The arranged flowers and sticks eventually all intertwined when set on the table. We added the hour glass and a quote from the coroner of Munchkin land who announced, "She's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead". I loved the black and red linens. Loved the place settings with the deep red flower and wickedly curled stem on the dark red chargers. As you can see just as in the movie Dorothy's house landed on this witch and all that remained of her were her legs and the ruby slippers.
The Lion was so fun! This piece included a burlap flower in a shape that reminded me of a lions mane and so that is why it was chosen. We added some grasses, jungle leaves, and a tall brown pottery piece. The badge of courage was attached along with a card that read "Put em up, put em up". Sweet Emily was our lion and seriously was the cutest character! Everyone loved and commented on how pretty she was and this girl was dressed in a brown jumpsuit! Just proof of how naturally beautiful she is. The linens for this table where a golden brown with a fur piece overlay. Every table had a place setting that included a charger and a floral piece or item to adorn it. A jungle leaf and gold flower finished off each place setting for the Lion's table. It was centered along with the Tin Man's table in the woods surrounded by the Haunted Apple trees.
The Munchkin land table was a favorite with every one! It all began with a huge orange flower and a butterfly pole. We added brightly colored gerbers, some fun, unusual flower pieces, lollipops, butterflys, and hot pink shredded paper in a large terrecota pot we painted turquoise. The card red "We welcome you to Munchkinland" and the linens were bright orange with a hot pink overlay. Each place setting included a brightly colored charger, a huge jewel, a rainbow in a bag treat, and a flower votive filled with skittles. So fun. Our Mayor of Munchkin land was played by Blake's good friend Chris and he did an amazing job. The kids loved him! Munchkin land was the favorite spot of all the kids and its where the fun happened. From playing on the yellow brick road, to picking huge "flowers" and bouncing them along the path, to shopping in the Lollipop bar. So fun! So bright! So perfect!
The Tin Man arrangement began with a single red rose. When I saw it I immediately thought of the heart he was longing to have. The entire centerpiece was made of metal except for the flower. It was all silver with the only color being the red that represented his heart. It looked so amazing. We included wire flowers, a heart cookie cutter, two different oil cans, and a card that read "I shall take the heart, for brains do not make one happy." The linens were silver with a bright red overlay. Silver chargers marked the place settings with a single red rose and a tiny Tin Man's kiss(hershey kiss). Blake was our Tin Man and his frame was perfect for it. He was tall, and strong, and oh so silver! The kids really had fun playing in the woods with this woodsman. I'll talk more about the games in a later post.
The Emerald City table was beautiful! Tall glass towers filled with emerald green stones and water made up the focus in this centerpiece. We added one brightly colored purple flower to represent "the horse of a different color" found only inside the emerald city gates. There were a set of glittered letters that spelled OZ and a card that read "the great OZ has spoken". Green jewels scattered around the gold chargers and a beautiful green flower that sparkled set each place. The linens were a dark emerald green with gold overlay and the table was front and centered by the gates of OZ. One of my favorites!
Glenda the Good. Beautiful table! Beautiful arrangement! Beautiful girl! All the little girls LOVED this table. The centerpiece was built around these pink lillies. I loved them the minute I saw them. We placed them in a crystal vase that set inside a huge, sparkly, crown. The piece included glass bubbles, a wand, the lillies, tiny, hand glittered, pink flowers, and clear glass stones. The table settings were silver charges with a sparkly pink twist attached to a bubble. Glass stones and silver glitter scattered across the pink and sheer linens. Bubbles floated overhead and sweet Caraline visited with each and every guest as they approached. She was so, so gorgeous in her gown and tall, glittery crown. She met each child with a smile and handed out crowns, wands, tin man hats and axes to the guests. All the little girls were crowded around Glenda's table. So sweet. The card in the piece read "you had the power all along my dear".
The final table in our party was the Wicked Witch of the West. As we all know she was on a quest to grab those ruby slippers off the feet of her sister and then off the feet of sweet Dorothy. This centerpiece didn't include a flower, but rather a broom. We added a hat, a piece of green cloth(representing the melted state of the witch after her run in with Dorothy) and a card that read "I'll get you my pretty." The linens were solid black. The place settings were black charges with wickedly curled sticks on top. The table was set in front of the crystal ball and was periodically covered in a steamy, smelly fog that came from behind Brook. Brook was our character. She was SOOOOO good! In real life Brook is the sweetest, kindest, happiest, and friendliest girl I've ever known. I love her so, so much. She did a great job in this role. Her expressions, her hand positions, and her words were amazing. She made this entire table! I had to laugh when I looked across the venue at all the families sitting at the different tables and there at this wicked table sat my family members! Just a little something that caused me to laugh out loud that night.
These posts are going to be long. I apologize to all of you who don't want the details. Its kind of become tradition to share them all here with our readers and many, many of you have used them in your own celebrations. To those who don't want all this info just please skip past it all. I'll never know you didn't read it and it won't hurt my feelings!
I've been a little numb since the end of the party. I struggle each year the week or so after its over until I choose a theme for the next years celebration. This year is very, very hard and emotional. No one believes my sweet Ash will be with us a year from now and that is breaking my heart. I function day to day by making it to the next milestone in her life. Celebrating her birthday is the biggest date on my calendar and I lay awake at night dreaming of what I'd like to create. There have been a lot of tears this past week and the emotions that I'm experiencing as I work my way through the images have been exhausting. I may be decorating for Christmas in the upcoming days because I need a project. I need to have a date that we are working toward in her life. Its hard to explain, but its how I cope with this journey. At this time I can think of nothing better than laying next to my sweet girl under the glow of the lights from her Christmas tree. I'm not crazy(yet), I'm just coping. So if you happen to drive by and see the lights in glowing in the play room before its even September, just smile and whisper a prayer for my baby girl knowing that she's resting underneath a blanket of snowflakes and glimmering lights:)
Thanks guys for even caring about all this nonsense, or for pretending to care. I love you for it!