While you probably don't remember your first birthday party, for many millennials, it likely included a modest cake, a few other children, the odd gift or two, and perhaps some streamers. That description couldn't be further from the birthday bash Lulu & Georgia founder Sara Sugarman threw for her daughter, Vivian. It was one of the most exquisite, carefully planned, and expertly designed children's birthday parties we've ever seen.
Aptly titled "Viva la Vivi," the themed event was inspired by the birthday girl's name and the time of year. "Since the party was in the summer, I loved the idea of an Italian Riviera theme, featuring colors like blue, white and yellow, with a touch of blush," Sara Sugarman tells MyDomaine. "Plus, it was a great excuse to enjoy Italian food (pasta is my ultimate fave), and it felt like the perfect backdrop for Vivian's first birthday."
Unlike the children's parties of yesteryear, Viva la Vivi wasn't just a kids' event. Sugarman says she wanted the event to appeal to parents, too, a growing trend, according to Jacquelyn Kazas of Beijos Events. "You want to make sure the kids have a fun time but also make sure the adults are taken care of and comfortable themselves! We really loved that it wasn't your typical first birthday party; [it was] much more chic!" she says. The venue included an ice cream cart, a live band, a giant ball pit, Negronis, Lulu & Georgia–styled lounge areas, and gifts for parents.
Get ready to pin—these gorgeous photographs from Vivian Brenner's first birthday party make for the perfect entertaining inspiration, no matter your age.
From the moment guests received an invitation to the birthday party, the Italian Riviera theme was clear and tied in with the event styling. "The colors we used were pretty hues of blue, white, and yellow from images of the ocean and beach," says Kazas. Baskets of vibrant yellow lemons and lush greenery were displayed throughout The Fig House, an event space in downtown Los Angeles.
"Vivian loves a good party!" says proud mom Sugarman. "She is a very social baby who likes the limelight, so I thought she would enjoy the event." The girl of the moment wore a citrus-print outfit to tie in with the surrounding décor. "My favorite memory from the event was seeing our guests play with Vivian and her reactions of pure joy and happiness. As a mom, one of the most amazing things is watching other people love your baby."
Naturally, the event was brimming with Lulu & Georgia accents, which allowed Sugarman to personalize the venue. "We needed lots of rugs for the babies to crawl around on, plus I wanted a lounge area for the adults to relax and enjoy a drink," she says. "We incorporated several rustic pieces, a lot of wood accents, and blue-and-white rugs—that really made the event! I always try and mix Lulu & Georgia pieces into any event I'm creating; it allows me to showcase my personal style at a party."
The alfresco table setting was inspired by "yellow-and-white umbrellas strewn along the sand," says Kazas. "We used simple china, flatware, and glasses, [and] added pretty details like yellow napkins tied in a knot." The blue placemats were designed by Sugarman's graphic designer and printed on thick cardstock to personalize the event. "I find that with any party it's all about the little details, and that is what can really impress your guests."
The ice cream cart by Carmela Ice Cream was a clear crowd favorite for adults and children alike, and it was adorned with greenery to match the theme. "Flowers are so important to events, I always find that once I have the florals in place, it just all comes together and looks gorgeous no matter what," says Kazas. "Florals can be a pricey part of a party, but they are definitely a wow factor."
It wouldn't be a birthday without a cake, and naturally Vivi's tiered treat tied in with the party theme. "We love to add a nice touch by personalizing things. This can be with cocktail napkins, cocktail stirrers, cake toppers, or even with the signage," says Kazas. The Roc Shop provided the bespoke cocktail stirrers and the cake topper emblazoned with "Viva la Vivi."
It was important that the menu included food that would appeal to adults and children alike, says Kazas of the vast array of cannoli, cookies, and Italian biscotti. "With any child's party, you have to have something that they will love to eat, so buttered noodles and pizza were a must!" says Kazas. "Add a couple light salads for the adults as well and you have the perfect summer party setup."
To top off a flawless event, each guest was given a thoughtful gift to take home. Sugarman explains, "When Vivi was born, our friends got us a book called, Mangia! Mangia! It’s a fun board book about Italian food. When we chose the theme, I knew we had to gift the kids this book," she says. As for the adults? "I thought olive oil made for a lovely presentation and a gift everyone could use. We added rosemary and a cute gift tag to complete the look." If these are the lengths they've gone to for a first birthday, we can't wait to see number two.