For his first outback adventure, Cove experienced wild animals, Land Rovers, and took part is his very own cake smash. Now, that sounds like a wild adventure to us! This epic Australian birthday party couldn’t have been possible without the birthday boy’s mama at the Rover’s wheel. Emma at The Borrowed Boutique not only came up with the fun theme, all because Cove seems to be running on Aussie time 😂, but also knocked it out of the park. From arranging entertaining activities for all ages to recruiting her mom to build a photo booth from scratch, to supplying 3 birthday cakes, she ensured everyone would have a great time. And this is a party no one will forget for a long time…
My little man has been on Aussie time since he was born, with his nights and days consistently mixed up. So, what better first birthday party theme than Australian Outback! Safari has been a little overdone so I wanted to change it up with an Australian twist. Land rovers, Koalas, Kangaroos, Dingos and Wombats instead of Monkeys and Lions.
Clearly this theme hasn’t been done too often because finding all of the pieces was a little trickier than I anticipated. Leave it to handmade vendors on Etsy to come to the rescue! I was able to find some adorable downloadable prints and sayings as well as invites on Etsy at a reasonable price to act as backdrops on the walls. A quick trip to Ikea provided all of the frames we needed without breaking the bank. For decor I grabbed a land rover model from the UK that we had personalized with Cove1 in honor of our birthday boy as well as some handmade wooden toys. The little wooden animal toys were going to be part of our infant play area, but they were just so cute that I needed to keep them front and center so they ended up on our cake table as decorations and cake toppers!
Not only were they adorable on top of the cake but they actually gave Cove the inspiration he needed for his cake smash pictures. He didn’t care for the cake itself, but he was all about the little wooden kangaroo! Additional wooden toys including the camera came from Magnolia and Anthropologie. I couldn’t decide between natural wood or black paint for our #1 cake toppers so I ordered both on Esty. The extras I used as table decorations. The kids had a custom table of their own complete with industrial chairs from Target and paper products from ThePartyDarlingShop and OhSoFancyParty. Table decor was kept simple with Australian plastic animals that we painted white, felt and wooden succulents from Magnolia, and wrapping paper that we used to create a runner from Paper Source.
Our parties are never complete without custom cookies from Bambella Cookies. She makes magic for us each time. We asked her to pull from our animal prints and land rover invitation and to incorporate license plates with Cove’s name as well as fun sayings and succulents.
Our cake table took some thought. I had way too many ideas and had to force myself to edit down. The hand cut fondant Koala cake by Gallery Pastry Shop was inspired by our prints from Little Design Haus that framed it as a backdrop. And, I just had to have succulent cupcakes and macaroons, which were crafted by Confectioneiress. Figuring out the cake stand was a fun challenge, but I finally decided to use a small crate that had a more outback feel as the base. I then improvised to get a large enough surface by using a flipped over natural wood platter from Ikea. For some reason I always seem to need three cakes! This time we made a tiny little succulent cake and a very simple smash cake. Instead of using a highchair for the cake smash I grabbed an adorable washable play mat from Little Nomad. We used this at the beginning of the party as a soft spot for our littlest guests to crawl and play safely with toys, and then scooted it in front of the cake table when Cove was ready for his Happy Birthday song and cake smash. This gave him the freedom to stand with the cake which resulted in some fun pictures of frosting on his little legs!
The food table consisted of gold coast shrimp with coconut/marmalade dipping sauce, lamb and sirloin sliders, baby back ribs (secret recipe!), chips, pretzels, animal crackers, kangaroo cheddar crackers, fruit, veggies, coleslaw, and fruit bars. We also had an adult seating area where the grown ups could eat and chat while their kids played. We kept the tables simple with some potted succulents and printed pictures of Cove’s first year of life. On an adjacent table we included additional pictures of him as a newborn and some fun prints by Rylee and Cru and Rifle Paper Company. The event was held in The Borrowed Boutique/Darling Loves Studio so we had to do some inventory and furniture rearranging to make enough space. With the help from our friends at A Classic Party we were able to partition things off with a simple white pipe and drape, keeping things looking modern and fresh without blocking the natural light.
I wanted to have a Land Rover photo booth for the kids but couldn’t find any pre-made pop ups so we had to get crafty on our own! My mother is something of a set design genius so she agreed to build the truck. With a little foam board, paint, and detailing, the Land Rover was revving for pics. The base to stabilize the truck and the children’s table were hand crafted by our friend, Jeff, from Reclaimed Timber. I scored the gas pump at Homegoods several years ago and had been waiting for an opportunity to use it.
Since it was a first birthday party with a huge range of ages in the children attending, I decided to pull in some entertainment that would be fun for everyone! Face painting (Cove’s daddy was all about the face paint), balloon making, and YES!!!! an animal man with live animals for the kids to touch, feel, and even ride on (see pic of Cove trying to ride the turtle)! No animals were harmed :). Even the adults were enthralled with the live animals! For favors, the kids were able to select an Australian outback hat and koala or kangaroo face mask (these were another downloadable print from ForageAndFaunaNC on etsy). The face masks took a little extra prep time since we had to print them and then cut them out, paper punch the holes and string them with yarn. But, the kids loved them.
For wardrobe, I kept it simple. Cove wore a white shirt and khaki pants from Baby Zara. The simple white onesie we striped him down to for the cake smash was from Target (we tossed it afterwards due to all of the buttercream :). His little leather and fur Donsje boots were from our shop Darling Loves. His sister wore a cream and vintage toned rainbow dress by Pleidas Designs. Overall, the party was a blast! First Birthdays are always the best! Now mommy’s goal for Cove in year two… get off of Aussie time please before we all go down under!!!