Whether you’re looking for a cute backdrop for your next party or celebrating a special occasion at home, here are a few tips for creating a perfect party vignette.
Truth be told, I was struggling with whether to blog during these difficult times, but realized that as we hunker down for the sake of our loved ones, communities and way of life, we could all use some healthy distraction. After all, there’s no better time to plan and look forward to a special occasion than times like these.
The last few months since the baby’s birth have been hard. There is no better way to say it. Those of you closest to us know that at seven weeks, our little guy developed bacterial meningitis and was hospitalized for 21 days. It was the most difficult and painful experience of my life. Nothing prepares you for the possibility of losing your child. Thankfully, with access to some of the best medical care in the world, the love and dedication of extraordinary health care professionals and modern science, our little one made an incredible recovery. After discharge, we were thrilled to finally be home, but were soon faced with the grim realities of the current pandemic.
We had already made the difficult decision of forgoing all visitors for the rest of cold and flu season, but with the spread of Covid-19 on the rise, out of an abundance of caution, we also cancelled baby’s first 100 days celebration. Traditionally, Chinese families celebrate a baby’s one month mark, but in more modern times, the celebration has been pushed to the 100th day as the first important occasion for a newborn. So, despite cancelling, I wanted to find a way to commemorate the milestone at home and created a little festive area in our apartment to act as a special backdrop for photos.
Nowadays, every successful party/celebration requires a dedicated area for taking a special photo.
Party backdrops are the focal point of any party and help to create a mood or theme. You can always purchase a backdrop from Etsy, Amazon or Party City, but I love personally creating something unique and reusable. So, for our simple 100 Day Celebration at home, I envisioned a backdrop with an Asian fusion flair. To create the look, rather than opt for traditional red and gold Chinese decorations, I found items that felt like a modern twist on traditional decor.
Step 1: Location, Location Location
Locate an empty wall or area where you can easily remove decor or items to act as a clean canvas for your backdrop. In our apartment, we have the perfect set of white french doors. Another great location to consider is a large window. Identifying the location is important for determining the right amount of decorations necessary to fill the space.
Step 2: Color, Theme & Style
Creating a cohesive design requires a definitive theme or style. There is nothing worse than buying an unfocused hodgepodge of items. Whether its a specific theme, color scheme or style you’re after, make sure your vision is clear before making any purchases and remember to always stay on theme! For our little party, I wanted the backdrop to be festive with an Asian fusion flare. For color scheme, instead of opting for traditional red and gold, I decided on rainbow colors with a touch of gold. For decorative objects, I stayed away from traditional items like lanterns, but went for pieces that looked Asian inspired like party pinwheels, pom pom and tassel garlands. Finally, I picked up a few items with “100,” including mylar balloons and sparkler candles.
Step 3: Installation Tools
Every successful project requires the right tools. For wall installations, be sure you have command hooks, a great pair of craft scissors and fishing wire to hang items seamlessly at different heights.
Step 4: Preparing Your Decorations
Take the time to put together or prepare all decorations in advance of installation. In my case, I had to open the pinwheels and blow up and string the “100 Days” mylar balloons, which you can do easily at home with a straw! Insert a plastic straw into the valve of the mylar balloon and gently blow air until full (see video below).
Step 5: Building Your Backdrop
Backdrops are best built in layers and working from the outside in. The first items to hang or install should be those on the outermost part of your backdrop in order to create a border or frame. I created a playful border with colorful pinwheels, being sure to stagger the different sizes and colors to create an organic overall look. Second, I hung the pom pom garlands and was sure to fill spaces that looked a bit empty. Finally, I hung the prestrung “100 Days” balloons at the center.
Step 6: Don’t Forget a Matching Cake
Nothing quite completes party decor like a celebratory cake. Although I’ve been known to splurge on a specialty cake, you don’t have to! For simpler or more casual celebrations, you can still achieve a “specialty” look by simply ordering a cake in the colors of your decor. We ordered our cake from an Italian bakery and asked that they frost in baby blue with rainbow accents. I further customized with sparkler candles in “100.” A cake topper is a great way to customize an otherwise plain or non-custom cake. To add some color to the cake table (which is actually our small desk), I placed multicolor mini party hats randomly around the cake.
Step 7: Strike a Pose
Now that the backdrop is ready, get ready to snap some photos!