Last Week On BOF

Elle’s Swan Lake Second Birthday Party

Sweet Elle Turns Two!

Eloise James was born on February Fifth (one of the three ways Born on Fifth got its name). Having a winter baby, I realized that I was going to need to get creative on the birthday party front. Especially living in a place with unpredictable weather this time of year. Although it’s 70 degrees right now, it could also be snowing. Last year, we celebrated at our home and it was a fête full of flowers. You can see the party here, if you’d like.

This year, since the demographic was a bit more mobile, I decided to seek out a space. There’s a lovely store in Roswell that I was thinking about, but ended up choosing to host the party closer to where we live at Park Studios. Since I wanted a photo-worthy back drop, a photography studio seemed like (and was) the perfect place.

Planning The Swan Lake Party, Phase 1

The party planning came together in two stages. Conceptually I knew I wanted to have a ballerina, since Elle is all about the tutus (she was a ballerina for Halloween). I liked the synergy of the words two and tutu but decided to elevate the theme slightly. Loosely, my concept became A Swan Lake Second Birthday Party. As with last year, I wanted to use visual elements that could as easily work for a bridal or baby shower as a children’s birthday party.

After securing the space and doing a walk-through, I pulled together a vendor list. Mary Catherine and Heidi were the first ones on board! It was important to have them photograph again since they tag-teamed Elle’s party last year and I was so happy with the results. Brent of Dear Elouise pulled together a fabulous invitation and worked with my somehow always-behind timeline. I rented furniture from Collection Event Furnishings and children’s tables and chairs Sweet Seats. Sweetly Cheryl agreed to get chair cushions for the children’s Chiavari chairs to help bring my vision to life. Additionally, I went to Scott’s Antique Market with my friend Brooke to scour for a French-inspired mirror. We hit the nail on the head with our find.

I knew that I wanted Cafe at Pharr to cater, since Elle loves their chicken salad (who doesn’t)?! Alicia with Pum’s Sweets always does a nice job bringing all of my wild ideas to life on the dessert table. This year we added cake pops to the mix. I love following Mac Lab on Instagram so they were top of mind for macaroon and meringue towers. I had a last minute idea to have swan art lattes available on-site (since it was a Sunday morning birthday party, after all). My friends at Revelator Coffee made it happen!

Of course, since the whole concept centered around having a ballerina, I secured a talented Atlanta Ballet dancer.

Planning the Swan Lake Party, Phase 2

The next phase of the planning was the decor layer. I became Insta (and instant) friends with the ladies of Beijos Events out of LA. Using their e-celebrate service helped me hone in on the children’s table decor/details and floral mood. It’s serendipitous that their mood board included floral wallpaper which was supposed to act as inspiration for placemats. I actually have the wallpaper in my powder room, so was able to use remnants to turn it into said placemats (Ellie Cashman is the best!). The Beijos gals also suggested having photos of Elle on display at the party. My original idea of having a photo book evolved as I’d rather make a book to recap the party anyhow! This tutorial is what I used to make the photo branch.

I thought a dress up corner would be sweet for this ballerina birthday theme and the Beijos team pointed me in the direction of Rainey’s Closet. It’s my new obsession!

With the floral and styling direction in-hand, I collaborated with Alyssa of Ginger Rose Flowers to bring the vision to life. Alyssa knocked the flowers out of the park. She was also truly a partner during the very late night set up that took place pre-party.

The Styling Layer

If I’m being honest, pulling together a party like this as a team of one is a lot of work. I made countless trips to places like Target and Ikea and spent a lot of time on Etsy and Amazon to be sure that every last element was cohesive. The outfits we wore for these photos were important to me and I shopped around before settling on this dress (now on sale) for myself! Elle’s sweet friends loved getting to play dress up, too.

I’m certain that I’ve forgotten some tidbit so if you are curious about where an element came from, leave a comment below! Hope you enjoy the photos, if you care to take a look.

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While the exact products are still living above, we continue to get requests for updated party supplies! Shop more current pieces below.

Shop Ballerina Birthday Party

Bringing in a child sized clothing rack with other tutus and ballerina outfits was an easy decor addition to add extra whimsy. 

While I had these macaroon towers professionally done by a baker, I found this tower off Amazon that you can easily do a similar DIY version.

We registered for these Juliska coffee mugs for our wedding. A sentimental touch to be able to use these for Elle’s party.

These melamine cake stands have stood the test of time. I have owned and used for years!

Adored this swan cake topper for the ballerina themed party.

  1. Ashleigh Sellers
    February 22, 2018 - 2:46 pm - Reply

    Emily!! This is such a beautiful set up. I am in love with it. Details details details! I am envious of this birthday party as well :). Making AMAZING happen. Delicate meets striking. IN LOVE. Hellooooo VOGUE toddler edition… Or ANY edition. Pure Joy in these photos. Great job making us feel like we are at the party without giving away all of the intimacy with family and friends.

  2. Nicole
    April 7, 2018 - 4:50 am - Reply

    Gorgeous! Do you mind sharing where you purchased you floral print and blush pillows?

  3. Maria
    January 23, 2019 - 9:31 pm - Reply

    Hi there! Aside from the Swan Necklaces, could you share what else was in the favor boxes? Would you mind sharing the source for he necklaces as well? I also did a Swan Theme party for my daughter’s second birthday, but it was just at home- this was stunning! This year I am doing unicorns (she is a bit more opinionated at almost 3 lol), and I would love to see if the necklaces come in Unicorn versions. Thank you so much! New to your blog and it is simply stunning! xo Maria

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About Emily

Emily Hertz is an Atlanta-based, NYC-born lifestyle blogger with a passion for party styling and an affinity for all things beautiful. Explore Emily’s fashion favorites, entertaining ideas and tot-friendly finds.

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