From gender-reveal revelry to birthday bashes, it’s all about the extreme theme
Published: October 31, 2018
By: Shannon Pease-Severance
Back in the day, kids’ birthday parties were simple. The “theme”: birthday cake. The guest list: grandma, grandpa and a couple of neighborhood friends. Entertainment: pin the tail on the donkey. The menu: pizza. Voila! – instant party.
Now, fast forward to today, the era of the epic party. It becomes virtually impossible to have a basic birthday party for your kids when you start searching sites like Instagram, birthday blogs and, dare we say, Pinterest. Whether you are planning a DIY party or hiring a party planner, the options for an extreme-themed birthday bash are seemingly endless.
The idea of celebrating in an ultimate way strikes early before a baby is even born. The big announcement for moms and dads determined to know whether to decorate the nursery pink or blue used to be delivered in the ultrasound room. The tech would announce: “You are having a boy. Congratulations!” Not anymore.
These days it’s gender-reveal revelry. Have the sonogram results placed in a sealed envelope, pass it along to a baker, and 350 degrees and 40 minutes later, expectant parents can discover their baby’s gender by biting into a cupcake or cutting into a custom confection while surrounded by family and friends. Everyone finds out the sweet results when either blue or pink frosting seeps out. Gender-reveal piñatas, sports balls, silly string, and confetti-filled balloons are some other ways to share the news.
Parents-to-be can decide if they prefer to be surprised with their guests or find out the results in advance and share the news with loved ones during the celebration. Some fun ways to get guests involved are to play games like predicting the baby’s gender based on old wives tales or giving guests a sneak peek at the sonogram and having them vote on which gender they think the baby will be.
So what happens when that little guy or girl turns 1? Well, there was one California mom who gained national attention recently for her son’s first birthday bash. After seeing a resemblance between her 1-year-old and the TV host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, mom planned a Guy Fieri-flavored first birthday extravaganza for her little look-alike. Guests got to pose with Fieri-themed cut-outs and munch on “Flavortown” themed food. Of course, all this comes with a cost, but that photo with the little spiky-blonde-haired baby, sitting among a hoard of over-sized gourmet burgers, pizza, and cake, is priceless.
Then there is the celebrity scene in which moms like Kim Kardashian and sister Kourtney opt for all things glitter and glitz for their girls. Their recent unicorn-themed combo bash for their kiddos is said to have included unicorn horn headbands, rainbow robes and a selection of sparkly, hand-crafted baked goods that looked more like works of art than edibles.
Some local families have certainly proven that they too can keep up. Teresa Blumberg with Blumberg Events in Plantation offers full-service event production nationwide for those seeking that “wow” factor. Blumberg plans high-end weddings and other functions, including teen parties and bat and bar mitzvahs with prices starting in the thousands and soaring into the six-figure range.
“There is no such thing as a general budget,” she says. “It all depends on who the client is and what their vision is and desires are for their celebration.”
For teen parties, she takes the kids’ personal interests and transforms them into a breathtaking scene. Blumberg’s portfolio includes extravagant sports-theme parties for both boys and girls. For a 13-year-old boy and basketball buff, Blumberg transformed a space at Gallery of Amazing Things in Dania Beach into a half-basketball court complete with a hoop, bleachers, backdrop mural with players and fans, and food stations resembling concession stands with servers dressed as referees.
And for a female fan’s bat mitzvah, Blumberg converted The Bath Club on Miami Beach into a chic, neon-pink space featuring towering basketball-filled centerpieces, themed food stations and detailed decor for the birthday girl and 350 guests.
Jennifer Wilson, the owner of All About Entertainment in Pembroke Pines, said some of the current party trends for pint-sized birthday boys and girls are unicorns, mermaids, club the themes, candy, emojis, and dinosaurs. Wilson and her staff assist with every detail, from linen, chair and prop rentals to activities and entertainment. Parties these days, says Wilson, are “micro-themed.”
“The activities are detailed,” she explains. “It’s not just decorating a cupcake. If it’s a unicorn theme, we have horns, ears, and eyes that get put on the cupcake.”
The same holds true for other types of parties they create. Those who are having a dino-themed day have the option of a paleontologist show or a dinosaur bones dig (with the dirt delivered). Having a ballerina or princess party? Chairs can be wrapped and tied with tulle, feathers, and ribbons galore for a dainty effect. If you’re clowning around with a circus theme, then a big-top-style tent and circus performers might be the perfect pick for you.
Elaborate dessert tables as backdrops are also popular right now, as are over-sized thrones for the guest or guests of honor, Wilson says, adding there are ways to achieve these stunning settings without busting the budget.
“They want those big cake and dessert tables with themed props,” she says. “Rental gives them that look for a fraction of the cost.”
Cindy Soto with Sweet Servings Events in Lake Worth specializes in candy and dessert stations, edible party favors and décor. In the business since 1999, she says party trends have certainly changed, but one thing remains the same.
“Cakes are always the center of attraction,” she says.
Some of Soto’s clients have chosen to use birthday cakes more like décor, displaying them as a focal point as guests enter the home. Some, she says, add cascading balloon backdrops and specialty tablecloths to make their cake display pop. Every client’s wishes and celebration is unique, she adds, but they all share a common goal.
“As long as they are satisfied and happy at the end, then that’s a memory forever.”