This week I have a special guest who is spilling her beans on creating great kids’ parties. Courtney Goodwin creates amazing parties and I am so excited to have her stop by and share her great ideas with you. Make sure to check out her blog and website too!

Welcome, Courtney!

Anatomy of a Party

Hi there! My name is Courtney and I’m happy to be talking parties with you this week! I’m a mom and the owner of Nesting instincts, an interior redesign and event design business in Portland, Oregon. Lisa was kind enough to ask me for a few helpful party-planning tips from my own experiences. I’m not sure I can add much to all of her fabulous insights, but I’ll give it a shot! This week, I thought it would be fun to take one particular party – my daughter’s third birthday – and each day we’ll talk about a few details from that event that could easily translate to any other party, as well as my favorite vendor resources for each aspect of a party. Hopefully you’ll find even just one little hint or tip that you could use to help you create a special party for your own child.

If you’d like to know more about me or my business, check out my blog at

1. Theme/Décor

It’s okay to let your child dictate the theme. After all, it is their day, right? My three-year-old wanted an “Elmo” party, much to my chagrin. (I don’t normally like doing anything with licensed characters…but hey…she’s only three…and pretty cute…so I couldn’t say no.) I compromised, though, and decided I would make it my own personal challenge to try and make an Elmo party “chic”. I took the color of Elmo as my inspiration – reds, oranges, yellows, blue…basically primary colors…and played up the colors more intentionally than the character. I still gave her Elmo plates, cups, and party hats….but did funky colorful fabric and striped napkins from Ikea, rather than store-bought matchy-matchy stuff. I did cute take-out boxes to hold the favors, but tried to fill them with favors that fit the Elmo theme. In the end, both of us were totally happy. I also don’t like balloons as décor – but she does – so balloons we had. But we also had 99 cent plants in 4-inch pots as centerpieces – I placed them inside colorful paper bags that were cut down to 4” tall – and then sent those home with the moms.

I used two Lack tables from Ikea for the kids to sit at, and purchased some plastic chairs from The Container Store. Having this arrangement at their level made things really convenient. Our dining room and living room happen to be in one big room, so parents were able to sit on sofas and eat while their kids were at the little tables. You can check out photos from this event on my blog at

FAVORITE RESOURCES: favors and paper goods, party supplies super cheap favors and party supplies décor, paper goods, party supplies affordable fabrics, paper goods, kids toys & decor attractive and modern paper plates, napkins, etc.

Say It!


  1. maybe i will add about the party genre. it maybe a fairy tale type, forest, etc.

    party supplies Newark Ca said on July 1, 2008
  2. Hi, could you please tell me where I can buy some of these plastic white chairs?

    Belinde said on December 4, 2011

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