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Wmelia Gippin loves “Alice in Wonderland.” Really loves it. A lot.
“She’s seen the movie about a million times,” says her mom, Shane Wynn.
So when it came time to plan Amelia’s 4th birthday party, the theme was a no-brainer for Wynn and her husband, Josh Gippin. Because the “Alice in Wonderland” story is so complex with so many creative possibilities and characters, Wynn chose several of Amelia’s favorites and incorporated them into the invitation, décor, food, entertainment and favors.
The party, which took place last September in the backyard of the family’s Highland Square home, included 35 guests. Among them were relatives, Amelia’s friends and their parents and siblings.
Wynn used evite.com and selected a brightly-colored teapot and checkerboard design for Amelia’s invitation. This website is helpful for planning because it keeps track of RSVPs so the party-planner doesn’t have to. And, because it’s online, there’s no need to buy stamps.
A Mad Hatter’s tea party is a must-have for this kind of celebration so antique chairs and couches were moved outside, along with a table set with teacups and teapots that Wynn bought at estate sales. The teapots were filled with iced sweet tea.
Wynn found oversized playing cards at a garage sale and turned them into a banner that framed the scene. She also ordered Amelia’s “Alice” costume online at etsy.com; her daughter continues to wear it as a dress.
Party guests enjoyed food catered by Hudson’s Restaurant in Montrose. The grownups sampled mini sandwiches, goat cheese-stuffed peppadew peppers, the Queen of Hearts’ phyllo tarts, Tuscan flatbread and grilled vegetables.
With kids, finger foods are always the smart way to go, and both the young- and the young-at-heart enjoyed boneless chicken wings with barbecue sauce, fresh fruit skewers and spiral-cut potato chips.
The children went crazy over tiny, corked glass bottles filled with pink and blue fruit drinks, tied with notes that read, “Drink Me.” For dessert, guests ate pastel mini cakes printed with the words, “Eat Me,” just like in the movie.
To keep the kids occupied, the backyard was transformed into a croquet court with balls, mallets and wickets. Wynn’s mom, Diana Kunze (who dressed as the Queen of Hearts), made white tissue paper roses, which the children painted red.
Local balloon artist Mot Buchanan served as the Mad Hatter and made whimsical balloon-sculpture headwear for the children and adults. Wynn’s sister, Jen, dressed as the White Rabbit, carried an alarm clock and reminded the children at dessert time that they were “late for a very important date.”
The centerpiece for the tea party table was a small bush, decorated with ribbon necklaces, each strung with a key to open a magical door. The adults were amused watching the kids run around the backyard, trying to find a door to unlock.
>>Whatever theme you choose for your next family celebration, the Internet is a great source for ideas and products that you can’t find locally. The party is limited only by your own imagination.