When my daughter was born, we wanted her to have a ‘spirit animal,’ for two reasons: (1) we wanted to choose an animal that had traits we thought would represent our baby and (2) so that if friends/family wanted to get her any gifts, it would be easy for them to find things that were her animal. We chose the penguin for their loyalty stick with family and for their overall awkwardness. Our baby’s first year of life, we have received many penguin related gifts and clothes. So what better way to celebrate her first birthday than with a penguin theme? Here’s some ideas and what I did to decorate (found most of these ideas on Pinterest).
Penguin Dessert Table: I wanted to keep a baby blue and white look for a winter wonderland feel with the addition of penguins. I used two white drapes and the light blue sheet is actually just a bed sheet. We hung everything with thumbtacks. For the baby’s name “Cadence,” we used a wood cutout we already had and spray painted it the baby blue color. The balloon arch was done by blowing up the balloons, then connecting them by using a needle and thread. After hanging them arch on the wall, I took extra balloons and taped them to cover up any holes.
I had white frames (from work) to display the baby’s 12 month photos. My husband drew and cut penguin faces, wings and feet for the two jars holding Hershey’s kisses. To add more penguin fun, we used print outs and our baby’s penguin stuffed animals. The desserts were white Krispy Kreme donuts, chocolate cupcakes, fruit, Flipz (white chocolate pretzels), and popcorn (more like a snack).
Penguin Cupcakes: These were so fun to make! I didn’t have time to bake the cupcakes myself so I ordered from Vons (we are in San Diego) after doing research on which grocer made the best cupcakes. These are chocolate cupcakes with white butter cream frosting (delicious!). For a dozen, it only cost $9.99 so it was a great deal! I purchased Oreo cookies, black round sprinkles (for the eyes) and orange sprinkles (for the beak). After separating the Oreo in half, add the sprinkles to the side with the filling. To the Oreo cookie only side, break in half (or thirds) to use as the penguin wings.
Penguin Balloons: I found this exact balloon template on Hostess with the Mostess. They were perfect! All you have to do is print, cut and tape onto black balloons. We already had strung lights in our home so we tied the balloons from the lights (instead of using helium and having them go the other direction). Our guests loved the balloons and all the kids wanted to take them home!
Penguin Smashcake: Well, the smash cake wasn’t a penguin theme (raspberry mousse cake from Whole Foods), but we continued the theme by dressing up baby in a penguin costume (which she wore for Halloween). Here’s a photo when she was less messy and the cake was still standing. The “One” banner was lent by a friend (and purchased on Etsy).
Penguin Wall: Our backyard has a white wall that we’ve previously decorated for our wedding and gender reveal. For the first birthday party, our friend painted and spray painted the “Happy Oneversary” wall to add to the overall penguin theme. He used a projector (at night) so he could trace over the lettering with spray paint. He’s super talented — and I would never be able to do this!
Hope you find some of these ideas helpful for your birthday party festivities! Our baby had a great time, especially eating her cake! Up until a month before her first birthday, I was advocating not throwing her a party at all. It just seemed so silly! But as her birthday drew near and we had family flying in to town to celebrate, we decided to host a party afterall. It ended up being really fun and I’m so glad we did it!