A Tween Garden Party Birthday

Recently we celebrated Eva’s birthday (her first since we moved to New Zealand) by throwing her a tween garden party birthday at home. In all honestly, we’ve been a little slack with her birthdays in the past. We were always renovating and our house was never ‘party suitable’. As a result, most of her birthdays were either just extended family, or at the local pub with a few friends.

In fact, the last time she had a birthday party at home, she was 1. I know, don’t judge! So, this year we promised she could have a birthday party at home, particularly since she’s started a new school, in a new country and made some gorgeous new friends. Our house is far from “party ready” but thankfully our yard was looking good and we have this beautifully shady corner that’s ideal for a garden party.

The birthday girl was adamant about it being “not too kid-ish”, and having a summer garden party theme with yellow & white. I may have encouraged the pink, but that’s purely because I already had linens in pink that would work. This also wasn’t about buying everything new, but rather using what we already had & making it pretty, summery and, above all else, fun!

A Tween Garden Party Birthday - Cottonwood & Co

To set up the main table, I layered an indoor/outdoor rug, an extra large linen tablecloth I’ve had for about 10 years, then added a pretty Gudri kantha quilt on top. This quilt has been used for everything from a bed cover, to covering our sofa or ottoman, and a picnic rug. So versatile! We then just used four left over wooden pallets which we stacked on top of one another to create a table, with tables linens added on top.

A Tween Summer Garden Party Birthday - Cottonwood & Co

The stripe tablecloth is the same one I used for our Easter table last year. The woven pink placemats are from Amanda Lindroth. I bought them during the first 2020 Covid lockdown, and I love them because they add a lovely feminine touch to the table. Even in the absence of a tablecloth.

A Tween Summer Garden Party Birthday - Cottonwood & Co

The wicker plates I bought off Gumtree about 2 years ago. I came across them accidentally and I knew they’d be really handy if we ever had large gatherings, or picnics with big groups. I bought 30 of them for about $40 from memory. Turns out they are perfect for kids parties! You just rinse them with warm water when you’re done, and leave them to dry in the sun. They’re also great for avoiding too many single-use plastic or paper plates.

A Tween Summer Garden Party Birthday - Cottonwood & Co

The blush pink linen napkins are Pottery Barn (bought several years ago) and we use them often. Unfortunately I don’t think they sell them anymore in the blush pink.

The flowers I did myself and they all came from our garden. Daisies, roses, the odd dahlia, a few weeds and some green foliage. These are just placed in my amber water glasses.

A Tween Garden Party Birthday - Cottonwood & Co

The wicker platter above (with a white ceramic platter inside it) was an Etsy find a few years ago. You know I love me some rattan! ha. The other rattan serving dishes below are from here although I don’t think they sell the natural colour rattan anymore. But I love them regardless. They have a glass insert that can be removed, so they’re perfect for going straight from oven to table.

The yellow stripe tablecloth below is actually a large piece of Sandberg fabric I bought back in 2014 with the intention of making them into seat cushions for our kitchen barstools (several houses ago!).

A Tween Garden Party Birthday - Cottonwood & Co

We had her gorgeous birthday cake made by the very talented, Clare from Cakes of Wanaka. Not only did it look super pretty, but it was absolutely delicious! Layers of lemon sponge, with lemon curd filling, and buttercream icing.

A Tween Summer Garden Party Birthday - Cottonwood & Co

A little (or big, I should say!) guest who never wants to miss a party!

A Tween Summer Garden Party Birthday - Cottonwood & Co

It was such a gorgeous day and the girls had an absolute ball – swimming (in our temporary above-ground pool), on the ‘slip n slide’, playing backyard Cornhole (which Chris made himself the day before), and good ol’ fashioned games like Pass the Parcel.

I had so much fun creating this set up for her birthday, but hands down the best part was seeing her face lit up with pure joy. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her quite so happy and excited. Possibly only on Christmas morning! ha.

I loved doing this so much I’m almost tempted to have an adults version before winter arrives.

Nicki xo

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