I love a big birthday party and anybody who knows me knows that. I always go way over the top and create something extremely elaborate every year for Zelda, and this year was no different.
After doing a Coachella theme last year, I decided on a ‘Christmas in July’ vibe for big number 4 this year. It’s a theme I’ve had in mind for a while because I love playing with color, but wanted to wait until Santa really played a more significant role in Zelda’s life. Plus she was born almost exactly six months before Christmas, so it’s just a fun spin on dates, too.
I have a lot of pride in all the parties I’ve planned for Zelda, but this one really was something special. Our venue was, once again, the Swissôtel and I have to say, they pulled out all the stops for us. They just remodeled their Presidential Suite and you could tell it was brand new. Everything was so gorgeous and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for a venue!
Swissôtel also handled all the catering and absolutely went above and beyond. Man, do they know how to cater an event! Zelda had a very specific cake request that they just knocked out of the park. She wanted a unicorn cake along with her favorite fruits—blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, which isn’t exactly the easiest design. But you can see from the photos that they completely delivered, and then some. And let’s not forget the rest of the magical food lineup. Right when you walked in the door you were greeted with an insane sweets bar. I mean, a donut wall, does it get any more delicious? Zelda was completely in love.
If the Christmas tree on the invite above looked familiar, that’s because it’s by one of our favorite artists, Chris Uphues! His work can be seen throughout Chicago, and he was kind enough to let us use some of his work on the invitation and other graphics seen around the Presidential Suite.
And as if the beautiful donut wall and cake pops weren’t enough, the amazing team at Swissôtel created the cookie decorating station of our dreams!
You’ll also notice that Santa was there decked out in full tropical gear. It was tough to get him to take a break from his vacation in Florida, but he made the trip! We had such a beautiful set up with his chair and faux glittery Christmas trees topped with flamingos. Huge shoutout to Revel Decor for creating such an awesome centerpiece for photos and the kids to sit on Santa’s lap.
…as you can see the setup was so good the adults couldn’t resist getting in on the fun too!
And speaking of decor, we also had my dear friend Elaine from Luft Balloons do all the balloon installations using Anagram Foil Balloons and she absolutely nailed it. When you walked into the suite, it was like a balloon explosion of holiday goodness. It seriously could not have been more perfect and Zelda and I loved everything.
Activities throughout the afternoon included ornament making with Make to Celebrate and flower crowns with a holiday twist by Crowning Event. Kids could also get their face painted by the very talented Star from Monkee Paint. I’ve honestly never seen someone paint faces so well and do it as fast as she does. And finally, we had our favorite DJ, Matt Roan, spinning all our favorite holiday tunes.
When planning the party, there’s never a limit on the number of guests and we always try to keep it very inclusive. As she gets older and starts school, we’ll also make a point to invite everyone from her class so they can join in on all the fun as well. The way I see it, the more the merrier (get it?!), and I love teaching Zelda to be inclusive with her parties and the people she lets into her life. Giving back is also something we do every year for Zelda’s birthday. Teaching her things like inclusivity and the meaning of giving back is so important to Spiro and I, so it’s a birthday tradition of sorts. (Read this post to see how we gave back this year.)
We ended the day with dinner and a small pizza party in the room and then had a pancake breakfast in the morning. So it truly was a full birthday weekend and we’re so thankful to Swissôtel for hosting us. Needless to say, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect final hoorah in the city before our big move to Aspen. We have loved every minute in Chicago and all of the people we’ve met here, so having such an incredible party before leaving felt very fitting.
Thank you SO much to all of these people for making Zelda’s party the best yet. I highly, highly recommend all of them for any of your birthday/event needs!
Location and Catering: Swissôtel Chicago
Decorations: Revel Decor
Balloon Artistry: Luft Balloons
Audio and Visuals: PSAV
Photographer: Hallie Duesenberg
Artwork: Chris Uphues
Invitations: Paperless Post
DIY Christmas Ornaments: Make to Celebrate
Flower Crowns: Crowning Event
Face Painting; Monkee Paint
DJ: Matt Roan
Thank you again to our vendors who made this whole day possible and to our friends and family for taking the time to celebrate with us—we love you! I hope this can serve as some birthday party inspiration so you can plan a great bash as well!