DIY Safari Magic: How I Threw a Wild Theme Birthday Party to Remember
I spent a lot of time contemplating the theme of my little girl’s first birthday, and although I love the idea of something really girly, I took this opportunity to do a broader theme whilst Ruby is young, and let's be honest, just there for the snacks and cuddles. The Wild One theme appealed to me because she’s not only a Leo, but the jungle aesthetic of palms, natural tones and animals were a recipe for a gorgeous birthday party, in my mind!
I decided that I wanted to hold her party in the backyard, after our lovely baby shower was held there. Knowing her party would be in the middle of winter, we could take advantage of the warm midday sun, with tables and cushions outdoors. I had a vision of our large tree being the backdrop for “wild” photos.
Choosing the decor was the hardest part, as there are so many colour palettes and imagery themes to choose from! I started by screenshotting lifestyle images of setups that I really liked, placing them on a blank page in Canva, moving them around and deciding amongst the different looks which were my favorites. This is what I ended up with:
The overall colour scheme was going to be cheetah print, light pink, earthy browns, beige and sage green. I also wanted to work in rustic elements like wood, hessian, jute and straw.
After saving images of the particular decor items that tied in with the chosen aesthetic, once again I uploaded them onto mood boards in Canva. A great feature of Canva is that you can remove the background, focusing just on the decor item. This helps get better visuals of how the items will look as a whole, whether it be on your grazing table, display table, or under a tree!
This is where I also uploaded a photo of the large tree in my backyard and started placing balloon arches, balloon lettering, a rug (downloaded an image off google and removed the background), a teepee (as I knew I wanted one of those), cushions etc. I spent time re-arranging the decorative items to get the perfect visual for a photo area for friends and family.
As you can see, I also tied in the invite design, piecing together a flyer version to send directly to friends and family who may like to print this as a keepsake. Otherwise, gone are the days of printed invites (do we even know the addresses of friends?), so I created a landscape banner, using the same elements from the invite, and added this to a private Facebook event.
Overall I ended up choosing primarily Ginger Ray branded products from CostumeBox.com.au, as the range this supplier stocks is absolutely stunning. I bought a few of the remaining party supplies from places like Coles and two-dollar stores. Here are the items from CostumeBox:
In the lead up to the party there were a number of DIY projects on the go. My partner built a long wooden table that folds up (perfect for garden parties), I bought a second hand wooden play pen and painted it eucalyptus green, and spent hours trying to perfect a vegan, baby-friendly cake recipe. This is the recipe I ended up using, adding sliced bananas and strawberries between the layers, as well as crumbled anzac biscuits over the top and sides. I sparingly applied the cashew icing to the sides to create a “rustic cake” to complement the gorgeous animal cake toppers found on Etsy.
I also bought a second hand Elephant rocker on Facebook Marketplace, and hired a beautiful large macrame teepee from someone local (saved spending a lot on something that would only be used for one day).
I wouldn’t recommend creating any balloon arches on the day of the event, unless you have someone able to focus wholly on blowing up balloons and piecing it together. It’s quite a long task and very fiddly attaching all the balloons and leaves to the supplied tape. My aim was to have as much of the decor ready beforehand, so on the morning of the event it just had to be hung up or placed on the tables.
Luckily we had a lot of family arrive a day or two before the party, which was a great help the night before, they blew up what felt like endless balloons, and helped piece together some of the more craft-like decorations, like hanging fan palms.
All the decor items came together beautifully, although regretfully, I was way too busy with set up and entertaining guests to take as many photos as I would have liked, not to mention NO video, which I look back on and wish I had asked a friend or family member to help with.
Depending on the age of the younger guests, the party games and entertainment can be tailored to their interests. Given that most of the kids attending Ruby's party were also around 1 year old, I took this into consideration with a fully fenced play zone with mini table/chairs, blocks, rocking elephant, hoppy horse, jungle themed toys and soft mat. I also created suitable party bags, which included stickers, bubble wands, animal figurines, paper animal face masks, sugar-free choccie, crayons and party hats. We had a swing to enjoy and plenty of plush animals around to cuddle.
Ruby was a very lucky gal to have received a mini remote control car as a gift on the day, which proved a fun addition. She ate homemade sushi while we steered her around the yard.. what a Queen! If you can source a mini car (even second hand), I highly recommend this, as she still loves cruising around in it on the regular (aka hours of fun).
The area under the tree proved to be a popular spot for photos, or to sit and chill on the fluffy rug.
I can’t possibly talk about a themed party without mentioning the costumes! Another largely influential reason for choosing a Wild theme party was the endless possibilities for costumes. Most friends opted for something more minimal, like simple whiskers and ears, an animal print shirt or leggings. For the immediate family I wasn’t letting them get away with minimal animal attire. So I placed a large costume order (leaving no excuses about forgetting to order), having the costumes ready on the day to just pop on!
Overall the Wild One theme proved to be an absolute hit for both youngsters and adults. We had a lot of laughs in our “silly” costumes, whilst the babies and toddlers had a ball playing out in the yard. We will forever hold a lot of fond memories of Ruby’s first ever birthday party.
You can find a whole collection of Wild theme party supplies here.