Princesses are pure magic for 3 year old girls. If you know a 3 year old girl that has somehow escaped the princess craze I want to know how it was done. I’m not saying we completely discouraged it, but we did try to give our daughter equal exposure to all kinds of toys and experiences. She gravitated to everything pink, sparkly and princess anyway. So when it was time to plan her third birthday theme, there really wasn’t much choice in the matter if we wanted to dazzle her with her party. Princess it was! If you remember from last year’s party, I grudgingly throw character parties and only with my own spin on them. That means I wasn’t going to let a princess party mean that I had to buy into a Disney-specific theme.
Along with my friend Phyllis, of Phyllis Sa Design, I embarked on a mission to create an adorable (non-Disney) Princess Tea Party with a picnic twist for our two daughters that were born within days of each other. Lucky for me, Phyllis agrees with me about characters, has great style, and is also a talented graphic designer. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s the same brand of crazy that I am when it comes to planning and executing detailed and beautiful parties. Keeping it simple is not either of our specialties. That being said, we did manage to keep things fairly under control while creating some princess/tea party/picnic magic!
The detailed invitation set the stage for our celebration and introduced the color palette of gold and bright pink with slightly muted rainbow accents. Phyllis created adorable caricatures of each girl as their favorite princess that she used as the focal point on the invitation. In addition to the main invite, we also created an enclosure with a confetti tea bag attached to it that read, “Get ready to celebrate THREE with confetti tea!”. That little tea bag was one of my favorite details from the party… not practical at all, but so cute!
A lot of love and gold spray paint went into the rest of the decor crafting. The paper flag buntings, rainbow tulle pom garland, crepe paper chandeliers, gold burlap table runners, and the castle cupcake stand were all handcrafted. An Aunt of one of the girls created the beautiful flower arrangements. Even the chalkboard labels for the food and favors were hand lettered with care.
Our guest list included many little princes in addition to the princesses, so we didn’t want the activities or favors to be too feminine. As it turns out, little boys love a good tea party! They were just as happy pretending to have tea with the tea sets we had out for the kids as they were playing in the cardboard play castle. Costumes were also rented for the little guests, so we had many princesses, knights, and even a dragon running around.
Lunch was served at a Pack Your Own Picnic food table. Guests customized their own picnic boxed lunch with a selection of gourmet sandwiches and salads plus homemade potato chips, fruit, cookies, and other kid-friendly snacks.
Desserts are always my favorite part to plan for. I love to bake and I’m also fortunate to work with some very talented local sugar artists. NatSweets took the princess caricatures from the invitation and replicated them perfectly on cookies. The stunning candy apples and detailed cake pops were fit for a princess (or 2!) and were crafted by Roni’s Sugar Creations. Each birthday girl had her own princess cupcake topped with her likeness. To complete the sweets table I baked mini vanilla bean scones; after all, what’s a tea party without scones? All of the desserts were gorgeous and delicious!
Each little guest went home with a take-and-make craft. The favors were Design Your Own Royal Birdcastle kits that included a wooden castle birdhouse, washable paints, paintbrush, glitter glue, and various gems and embellishments. All of the supplies were wrapped up in a muslin drawstring bag that had been hand-stamped with gold and various colored polka dots. The younger guests that weren’t old enough to paint got to take home a mini princess coloring book and a package of crayons instead.
The girls thoroughly enjoyed their royal princess tea party and it was a great way to kick off being 3!
Party Styling: a la Mo | Photography: Maria Healey Photography | Invitation and party stationery design: Phyllis Sa Design | Cake pops and Candy Apples: Roni’s Sugar Creations | Decorated Cookies: NatSweets | Princess Dresses (Cinderella and Rapunzel): Cotton Belle Boutique | Costume rental: Party Pax | Gold foil mini balloons and Dessert Plates: Shop Sweet Lulu | Gold lanterns: Oriental Trading | Sandwich Catering: Nutmeg Bakery and Cafe | Muslin Drawstring Favor Bags: The Everlasting Posy | Cotton tablecloths and tulle for party crafting: Paper Mart | Gold Glittered Mason Jars: Twinkle Twinkle Lil Jar | Tea Sets: IKEA | Cardboard Castle Playhouse: Amazon