Charlie's first birthday & How to throw an Oktoberfest party
I remember Charlie's first birthday party like it was yesterday. A year of sleep deprivation, teething and endless doctor's visits deserved some MAJOR celebrating. We all know first birthdays are more for the adults than the kids, and since we had not thrown a proper party since our little guy entered the world, I decided to throw one hell of a surprise party for Charlie's first birthday. Surprise party for a one year old? Why not!! Charlie was born on October 11th so I thought an Oktoberfest party would be the perfect idea. This wasn't your average Oktoberfest party...so we called it Charliefest. (Poor Ford ..... I feel like going large for number one is such a first child thing).
1. The invite...If you've been following me for a while or even just have read my bio, then you know I love a good laugh. So in proper Mrs. Nipple fashion, we had a surprise party for a one year old. It actually ended up being fun seeing the expressions of our guests when they walked into an Oktoberfest party. I used paperless post because who has time to actually send invitations. Here are the invites:
2. The theme....If your baby is born in late September or October having an Oktoberfest themed birthday party is a must! It's easy, the food is delicious...think soft pretzels and brats, the beer is flowing and being able to give a corset boob cake to a breastfeeding one year old, I mean what could be better? Yup! Oktoberfest it was....though we called it, Charliefest. I started planning just a few weeks before the big day because I decided to change the theme last minute. It was originally supposed to be, Oh, the Places You'll Go...womp womp. We had the party on a roof top in Greenwich. I wanted the kids to have fun activities (Charlie has many cousins) but like I stated earlier this was really for the adults.
3. Charlie's outfit...I ordered Charlie an adorable lederhosen outfit from Etsy. You can find it HERE. I then found the perfect pair of green shorts. You can find them HERE, knee high socks HERE and cute shoes HERE. He was unmistakably a little German boy, ready to party! I loved THIS natural looking crown which ended up matching his outfit....and yes, he only left it on for maybe a minute, but we did get some adorable photos! I had her make the crown so it fit all the way around his head not just on top like the one I linked. I also purchased a hat HERE from the same shop through Etsy.
4.The decor.....My parents brought some old beer steins that we filled with sunflowers. My mom's neighbor made us the perfect Charlie's biergarten sign and I ordered another sign that read, "Charliefest, Prost" from Etsy(it is pictured above), you can find it HERE. Charlie also loves dogs, so I threw in a dog balloon and some beer mug & pretzel balloons to complete the look. I picked all of those up from the Balloon store in Tribeca. I ordered the gold letter CHARLIEFEST balloons but as cool as they look they are kind of a waste for an outdoor party. They would not stay still so you could hardly tell they were supposed to say. I bought all Oktoberfest plates, cups, balloons and little things at Party City and Oriental Trading. You have to order online for most of the items. HERE are the plates etc. I think there is a fine line between going over the top and making it cheesy. I just ordered some balloons, plates, little containers for the brats, pins, little lederhosen ducks for the kids. HERE is a link to the Oriental Trading goodies. I also linked other items I ordered, like big beer mugs below.
5. The food...My family is Lebanese and Italian so naturally the most important part of a party is the food. I ordered soft pretzels, a mixture of brats and buns all from Schaller & Weber. Think old-school German market & butcher shop with a wide variety of wieners plus other imported sundries. You can also sip and shop which I really appreciate...I was pregnant though..yada yada yada. This market is a great place to drop in if you are ever on the Upper East side of NYC. They have a window where you can get different types of brats ready for take out. I love the Saigon Special, it's my favorite, so I decided to recreate it for the party. I was able to even bribe one of the guys there to let me purchase their special sauce that wasn't for sale & they also gave me a secret recipe for another sauce that my mom ended up making. I did tell him I would never share the recipes...but to be fair I wasn't a blogger at the time. We did a few different types of brats and then offered the Saigon as the special. It was a bauernwurst topped with a daikon carrot slaw, cucumber, fresh jalapeno, cilantro & sriracha aioli. The brats paired with soft pretzles was the perfect combo. We also made pretzel necklaces so people could munch and sip all party long. We love wearable snacks!
6. The sweet stuff....There is a traditional German cookie called Lebkuchen. It's a heart shaped cookie that tastes similar to a gingerbread cookie. These cookies have been a staple of Oktoberfest since the 1950s. They are heart shaped, come in all different sizes and can be worn around your neck. We had @Crazyconfections (I highly recommend her and she's based in Stamford CT) make Charliefest Lebkuchen cookies for dessert. I went to multiple bakers who said they couldn't make the cookies just how I wanted them but she said no problem. They turned out PERFECTLY. She also made the perfect cake for a one year old.....a boob cake. Yes, you heard me correctly. It wasn't only on theme because it was a German girl with the long blond braids and a corset top, but I was also still breastfeeding Charlie, so of course he would want a boob cake. I ended up making my own smash cake which is SO easy. Don't waste money ordering one of those. See my smash cake post, HERE and I also made mini cupcakes, perfect for the kiddos. You can find the rubber pan HERE. Kids love them because they are truly bite size.
7. Keep them busy....activities for the kids. We have a lot of friends with young children and Charlie has many cousins so I definitely wanted to include games to keep them occupied. When the kids walked in each one got a german name tag that read, "Hallo Mein name ist". You can find the name tags HERE. I had two babysitters run the "kids corner" and my nieces helped out. We had the kids string pretzel necklaces when they arrived and my nieces painted the kids faces with glitter & stencil kits. You can find them below. I ordered a bunch of fun games from amazon. You can find them all below, as well. The prizes and goodie bags consisted of unicorn poop marshmallows, unicorn poop lilipops and unicorn poop slime. For the little guys I ordered THIS kids fence and THIS foam mat for the ground. It was nice being able to cage in our children so we could enjoy ourselves...all the parents agreed.
That is how you plan the perfect Oktoberfest bash. Even though we had the party around the same time the real Oktoberfest takes place, this theme would be a hit all year long.