June 21, 2018

Inspiration for a Rainbow Themed 1st Birthday Party

Rainbows and sunshine; it's time to celebrate this daughter of mine!


Well, as you probably know, my baby girl turned one last week! You can read my (final) monthly letter to her here. This past weekend, we hosted her first birthday party! If you follow me on Instagram (which you totes should! Haha), you likely saw a ton of pics on my IG stories this weekend.

Wow – the party was everything I hoped and more! Everything was perfect, but what really made the day amazing was seeing how happy she was! She is a social baby, and she loved having so many people celebrate her! It was so cool to be surrounded by so much love.

While we will surely share photos of the end result, I wanted to backtrack and share with you some of the planning process.

Planning Process

No matter what party I’m hosting, I always seem to follow this general thought process…

1. Pick a theme

When it comes to planning a party, I love a good theme! Choosing a theme can then serve as a launching pad for all other aspects of the party. And it’s one of the most fun aspects of party planning, in my mind.

For Elle’s first birthday party, given my love for color (and hers too!), the obvious choice was rainbows. Plus, I threw in a dose of sunshine, as she definitely is my sunshine! In fact, we sing “You are My Sunshine” each night, just as my granny used to sing to me. And she even has art hand lettered by Amy Tan that has those words hanging in her nursery.

So, rainbows and sunshine it is!

Once I’ve settled on a theme, I like to create a Pinterest board and start pinning away! I’m fortunate enough to have a team helping me around here, so I ask them to pin too.

I jokingly call the first round of pinning “judgment free pinning”. I encourage myself and teammates to pin anything on theme that catches their eyes. After that, as favorites begin to emerge, and as a common thread is woven between some pins, I go back and “unpin” some of the less relevant, less inspiring pins.

But the key here is to pin with abandon at first! Only when you have a plethora of themed images in front of you can you really start to hone in on your vision.

Side note: Are you following us on Pinterest? If not, you should do so!

2. Focus on a few key elements

Next, as I alluded to above, after brainstorming and collecting on-theme ideas, I like to pick a few standout ideas to focus on. Those few creative elements can really make a party! They’ll create moments to remember!

For this particular party, I ended up with  seven colorful ideas on which I wanted to focus our creative efforts.

1. A colorful backdrop for photos: obviously we needed something in rainbow order colors, right?

2. A balloon chandelier: this is an idea I’ve been wanting to try forever!

3. Rainbow florals

4. A rainbow cake: much in the spirit of those that the Flour Shop in NYC is popularizing these days.

5. Rainbow foods

6. A creative display of her first year photos

7. A candy bar: a rainbow ordered candy bar with goodie bags for people to take home as gifts.

Beyond these key ideas, I’ve learned to let go of smaller details! Or at least don’t stress about the non-core details as much as you stress about these core creative concepts. Some of the peripheral  details don’t matter as much as your key ideas. For instance, I decided not to stress about exactly which paper plates and cups we got – because that wasn’t going to make or break the party.

Now, I’ll admit seven key ideas was a bit much. Usually, I try to focus on just three or four. But my baby only turns one once, right?

3. Execute on the details

Finally, once you have all your key creative concepts selected and under control, it’s time to pull together all the little details.

Before the big day, I try to think through the event and how things will flow. What time should things happen? What order of events makes sense? What will guests need? Do you have everything needed handy?

On the big day, always allow more than enough time to set things up. Stuff happens, vendors might show up late, and things always take longer than you think. So, just allot extra time so you won’t be rushed or frazzled when your guests arrive.

Closing and A Big Thank You

Now that you’ve seen my inspiration, are you excited to see the final product? I cannot wait to share with you! Stay tuned…

Lastly, I have to extend a huge thank you to my team and all the great vendors who helped bring my vision to reality. More on those specifics when I share photos of the actual party.

But for now, a big thanks to Jenny Weber. If you don’t yet know Jenny, check out her bio on our About page. Jenny is now our chief party planner, because everything she touches turns to party gold! She believes in celebrating all of life’s moments, little and big. Jenny – thank you for helping me celebrate this big moment in an epically colorful, magnificent way!


  1. Cayla says:

    Love reading about your process for the party planning – thank you for sharing! This rainbow theme is hands down the best party theme I have ever seen! Can’t wait to see more pictures. 🙂

    1. Thanks a bunch, Cayla! We had so much fun with it.

  2. Jenny says:

    I LOVE working with you Carrie! We share the same love for celebration and color! Xo

    1. You are the absolute best! Xo

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