I’m so excited to be sharing a huge, detailed blog post about Lucy’s FIFTH birthday party! We’ve been planning this party for months and it was such a labor of love from sooo many people. 💛 It was so fun to be creative and get lost in tiny, festive details and bring Lucy’s vision to life. Here’s all the details on Lucy’s cheetah-inspired safari party! 🐅🐘🦓🐆🦒
THEME + INSPIRATION
Lucy told me months ago she wanted her 5th birthday to be ‘cheetah themed’ and we decided to just…go for it! Instead of just leaning into cheetah, I leaned into a more broad ‘colorful, safari, party animals’ vibe. I almost always order party supplies from Meri Meri, and while their Jungle + Safari collection is SO cute, I was also loving Rifle Paper’s Party Animal party supplies. I decided to sort of blend the two and create our own magical cheetah-inspired birthday adventure! Here’s a few collages I made to guide the early phases of party planning!
One of the first things I knew I wanted for this party was a big balloon garland. I’ve seen friends create beautiful DIY balloon garlands before and was determined to try it out for Lucy’s party! Thankfully, my father-in-law and mom lead the charge in the balloon department and they turned out SO good! I ordered this Cheetah Balloon Garland kit in the 12 foot size to really make a statement! I had also ordered four bundles of this Safari Balloons set and mixed those balloons into the garland, so we had a mix of three different animal prints, a muted mustard yellow, light pink, and sage green. I originally ordered a Balloon Hand Pump, but so glad that my father-in-law decided to get a Balloon Electric Pump – definitely made it a lot easier! We put additional clusters of balloons throughout the house and made a mini balloon garland for the greenhouse, too! Not only did the balloons look really good, but the quality was excellent. The balloons have been hanging up for almost a week and haven’t even started to deflate yet. I definitely think there’s a difference when you ordered from a quality Etsy shop/small business vs. Amazon or somewhere basic for balloons. Speaking of balloons, I also had a Gold “5” Balloon hanging up our family room.
Another form of party decor was our signage! I bought this Party Animal Signage Printable on Etsy and customized it. I’ve ordered customizable digital downloads before, but this was SOOOO easy to download/edit right from Canva. After making the original ‘Welcome to Lucy’s 5th Birthday Party’ sign, I actually decided to edit the sign even more to make a few other signs for other areas of the party. I had the different posters printed (some via Office Depot same day, and some via Canva — which was much better printing quality, in my opinion!)
In terms of other decor, I hung this colorful Happy Birthday paper banner on our family room fireplace. We’ve actually had this since Lucy’s 1st (!!) birthday and I love getting to hang it up in the same spot every year. I also ordered this adorable ‘party animals’ banner and hung it on our the headboard near the stuffed animals. It’s so cute! I also hung up a Gold “5” Balloon hanging up our family room. I had ordered a set of pink and gold leopard balloons and while we didn’t really need them decor-wise, we ended up scattered throughout the house.
ACTIVITY #1: Grab party ears!
Right when you walk in, kids and grown ups could grab animal party ears! I ordered a couple sets of these Jungle/Safari Animal Headbands and hung them on the wall with clear Command hooks. The headband pack came with 12 options — I loved that there were so many animal ears people could choose from! I hung these on the wall in our living room in a spot that was easily accessible to little kids. It turned out so cute, if I do say so myself!
ACTIVITY #2: Snuggle and take home a stuffed party animal!
As you may know, last year for Lucy and Winnie’s joint birthday party, we hosted an ‘Adopt a Puppy’ party. The stuffed animals were SUCH a hit with the kids. I reached out to my Lucky Collective client, Manhattan Toy, to see if they would be open to gifting/sending safari-themed stuffed animals for this party and they generously said yes! If you haven’t heard of Manhattan Toy, they make and sell the cutest, thoughtfully designed toys for kids. I was a customer for years before having the opportunity to work with them over the last few years. Anyway, the stuffed animals are super soft and several of the safari animals (like the giraffe, zebra, and camel) were much larger and ‘huggable’ than I even expected! It was so cute to see which animals each kid gravitated towards and be able to gift them away to all of Lucy’s sweet friends. While the plush animals are certainly adorable on their own, I couldn’t help but make them extra fancy and put them in these mini party hats.
While the quality of Manhattan Toy really is unmatched, I totally get that it’s a much more expensive option, especially when you have a larger guest list. If you are hosting a similar party and want to give your guests a stuffed animal, another option is this 6 Piece Safari Stuffed Animal Set or 12 Piece Safari Stuffed Animal Set.
ACTIVITY #3: Greenhouse Face Painting!
This was our first time hiring a face painter for a party and I’m so glad I did! The kids LOVED getting their face painted! I’d been recommended Fantasy Face Artistry and was very happy with their work! The owner, Dan, worked closely with me to put together ‘safari-themed’ face painting options for the kids to choose from, and our painter, Liberty, was SO talented and great with the kids. We decided to have the face painting happen in the greenhouse, which was extra fun!
ACTIVITY 4: Art Area!
My mom and mother-in-law handled all the food for the party and it was great! My mother-in-law blew it out of the park with these creative platters! She created a delicious berry tray with a watermelon elephant, and also lion-shaped veggie and hummus tray. They were SO festive and adorable! My mom also made an animal cracker funfetti + greek yogurt dip, topped with colorful sprinkles. We also had these yummy cheese sliders, plus chips, pita chips, guacamole, and applesauce pouches.
For every birthday, we grab a cake from Whole Foods. In the past (for Winnie’s 1st birthday and Lucy’s 1st birthday party), I’ve ordered custom cakes, but this time we just picked up a small, simple (but super delicious) cake for singing happy birthday / blowing out candles. I also ordered mini cupcakes from Baked by Melissa. They are bite-sized and perfect for big parties! I used these little animal party toppers to decorate the cupcakes and cake (here’s another similar option).
THE BIRTHDAY GIRL!
I can’t believe my baby girl is 5! The party theme was all her, and she worked with me closely to picked out so many of the thoughtful details shared here. It really was SO special to get to bring this party to life for and with her. FYI she’s wearing this cute cheetah (okay, technically leopard) sweatshirt.
SHOP THE PARTY
Note: I’ve included additional party items we didn’t use, but that are ‘on theme’ for this party. The products we didn’t use have an asterisk next to them listed below.
PARTY DECOR & SIGNAGE:
Generously gifted by my Lucky Collective client, Manhattan Toy.
ACTIVITIES + EVERYTHING ELSE
Winnie’s 1st Birthday (Blueberry Narwhal Theme)
Lucy’s 1st Birthday Party (Rainbow + Sunshine Theme)