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Up Up and Away: Annie’s First Birthday

Up, up, and away, we celebrated Annie’s first birthday! I’m sure MANY of you caught glimpses of Annie’s party on my Instagram stories at the end of September. Whether it was the organized chaos the day prior while we were frantically making DIY clouds and setting up our paper garland. Or, if you lucked out and happen to catch the birthday girl in her element soaking up all of the love and indulging in her smash cake.

Annie’s birthday turned out so beautifully and I think it’s safe to say, it was one of the most unique parties we’ve thrown to date! For those of you who missed out on catching it in real-time, I’m going to share all of the details with you today along with a fun behind the scenes video by One Peak Creative Agency and of course, gorgeous photos by Rachelle Beatty!


I came up with the theme of Annie’s birthday while I was in her nursery one day, her beautiful “To the Stars” framed hot air balloon print from Minted and her dreamy cloud wallpaper (the Nuage Mural from Anewall!) caught my eye and that’s when the light bulb went off. The hot air balloon theme was born!

I wanted her birthday to be dainty, whimsical, and fun and this theme checked all of the boxes. Not to mention, I’ve been wanting to throw her a birthday party ever since I found out we were having a girl, so, this really was a dream come true for me!

Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday


We had so many existing items in our home that I was able to pull out for the party decorations. I placed Annie’s hot air balloon picture on our fireplace mantel and her “You Are Magic” framed print on the bar. I collected all of the pink pillows and throws (we even had two cloud pillows!) from around our home and placed them on our porch swing and rocking chairs to add a pop of colour outside. I even brought Annie’s giant flamingo out of her nursery and added it to the front porch decor and hauled her (very heavy!) blush pink dresser from Pottery Barn out into the dining room to use it as our candy station.

Typically I like to host these parties outside on our lower patio near the pool but our September weather this year had other plans so we decided to play it safe and keep the party inside. I’m really not used to decorating indoors (unless it’s for Halloween or Christmas) so it challenged me to figure out the best layout and get creative when hanging items such as the fluffy DIY clouds and paper garlands that Team Jilly helped me with!

Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday

I was able to re-use some of the paper fans and honeycomb balls (from Oh Happy Day) that we used for Leo’s 3rd birthday! We re-used the mint green, light blue and ivory paper fans and honeycomb balls and busted out the pinks, corals, and oranges that I had saved specifically for Annie’s birthday! We made two paper garland displays, one over the candy station and one in the front entrance. Even though it was a little outside of my normal colour palette, I loved the mix of pastels and more vibrant colours for the garland.

We also made these incredible DIY clouds out of batting that we got from old pillows from Value Village! It was such a fun DIY (minus the burnt fingers from the hot glue gun! LOL). If this is a DIY you want to tackle, it’s pretty easy! All you do is cut out a cloud shape from foam core board, and start gluing the batting on! You can make the cloud as “fluffy” as you like by adding more batting. To hang them from our ceiling we poked holes in the foam core board and strung clear fishing line through and hung them from 3M hooks!

If you look closely in the photo below, you’ll notice we also added cloud decals to the walls and doors of our front entrance (in addition to where Annie’s high chair was stationed for her smash cake pics!). These decals are from Urban Walls, they were super easy to put up and added the perfect finishing touch to our DIY clouds! While I was able to pull this birthday party off ALMOST plastic free, I did use a total of THREE balloons which is a huge improvement from the past parties I used to throw!

I also had this BEAUTIFUL felt Happy Birthday banner made by Sera and Chelsey from She Felt Lovely Designs. I LOVE this banner for a couple of reasons. Not only is it ridiculously adorable but we also decided to make the “Happy Birthday” banner in a nice light blue so we can use for BOTH Leo and Annie’s birthdays. She made the “Annie” banner out of a soft pink and we are getting one made for “Leo” in either a different colour blue or potentially green. I love the fact that I’ll have these banners for each of them for years to come! Sera also made us felt hot air balloons in a variety of sizes that we were able to hang around the birthday banner.

Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First BirthdayJillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday

All the the florals including the flower “A” in our kitchen and the greenery you see on Annie’s highchair was all from Bylands, I love the fact that it was so simple yet so beautiful!

When I FIRST started planning Annie’s birthday I reached out to (my party planning lifesaver!), Yuriko, from Vintage Origami to see if she had any ideas and not only did she come back to me with a contact for a REAL hot air balloon but she also let me know that they were going to create a hot air balloon photo booth and backdrop for the party! While we didn’t end up moving ahead with the real hot air balloon, Yuriko arrived at our house the day before the party with the most stunning photo booth (complete with DIY clouds JUST like ours!) and vintage plates and mugs for the appetizers and dessert. I was honestly floored (but not surprised!) by how incredible everything turned out. Yuriko did it … yet AGAIN!

Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday

Appetizers & Desserts

Speaking of appetizers and dessert … Brea from Table49 made the most delicious vegan (and some gluten-free!) appetizers for the party which included Artichoke Crostini’s topped with a Radish Rose, Pickled Carrot Sandwiches, and even pink (yes, PINK!) mini Brioche Cucumber Sandwiches (which looked like macarons!), plus SO MUCH more. It absolutely blew me away and yes, it tasted just as amazing as it looked!

Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday

Then there were the desserts. Brea made gorgeous strawberry shortcakes and displayed them in the antique cups that Yuriko lent us, The Cake Mama made the most indulgent and PERFECT cookies that were a mix of rainbows, clouds, and hot air balloons. Jenna Rae Cakes blew us away with the prettiest macarons with printed images of Annie directly on the macarons themselves!! I didn’t even know this was possible! Then, of course, Kakes by Kathie knocked it out of the park (once again!) with this gorgeous 4-tiered hot air balloon cake and the most adorable (Nacho approved … lol) smash cake! When I saw the appetizers and all of the deserts for the first time, my eyes welled up because I honestly could not believe just how stunning everything was!

We had an assortment of candy on the dessert table along with custom reusable cloth bags from The Market Bags for the kids and adults to fill up with their desired treats along with takeaway cotton candy in the cutest mason jars by The Cotton Candy Lady

To top it all off, we even had a great supply of delicious red, white and rose for the adults from Sandhill winery and of course, lots of non-alcoholic options to quench everyone’s thirst after indulging in all of the incredible treats!

Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday Jillian Harris Up Up and Away: Annie's First Birthday

I’m so glad I was able to share Annie’s special day with so many of our closest friends and family … and now, all of YOU! I think I’ll refrain from throwing another party like this until Leo turns 5 … I need a little break! LOL!



Leave a Reply

  1. This is very really unique helpful information.I learn so much from you as well! Thank you so much for sharing your helpful information. Keep it up.

  2. So freaking beautiful!! You and the team did an incredible job. I was wondering how you hung the collapsible paper fans? Was it with 3M hooks as well? Thank you 🙂

  3. This birthday was soooo beautiful. Watching the video made me tear up a little listening to you guys answer those questions. What a wonderful keepsake for Annie to have when she gets older. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

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