Amy Burstyn Fritz is trained to dream up her daughter Grace’s first birthday party. She’s a PR, event-planning and brand-building pro who recently launched Burstyn Inc. along with her business partner and mom, Helen Burstyn. We asked her to fess up to how she planned this Pinterest-ready party without stressing out.
Why did you decide to put so much love into Grace’s first birthday?
“I love putting on events; it’s fun for me. All the little details which might stress other people out, are the things I don’t mind devoting my time to because I believe they make an event really shine. Plus, I obviously have such love for Grace so it was a joy to plan this for her. I added a lot of personal details like the cake smash portraits. My sister is a baby photographer so setting up the shoot was easy. I used a lot of vendors that I already know and trust from my work as a professional event planner. And at night I would watch Netflix while assembling gift bags and adding bows on champagne bottles. I know guests don’t always notice these details, but they personally give me a lot of joy. I approached the party as I would any event and scheduled it into my work day with a task list and even started planning six months in advance. Getting a head start made it easier and less stressful to execute. I didn’t have to waste any budget on rush or last minute fees and had the time to find the best deals for custom work and orders.”
Now that it’s all done, what wouldn’t you do again?
“Admittedly, being so organized also worked against me. I started thinking about random and unnecessary details. I got it into my head that I needed a professional grade bubble making machine which I figured I could repurpose for work. When I put it on in the backyard, it was like a bubble monster. It spat out thousands of bubbles in minutes. It became too much and I had to shut it off after 10 minutes before the soap got into all the food and drinks. I should’ve kept to a standard machine and let it gently play on the porch for the whole day.”
What’s the biggest investment you made in the party?
“I invested in the people. When it comes down to it, you can do up the décor and so many other elements, but what counts is to have all our friends and family there and helping them feel at home. The second investment I made was the food. I did my best to create a menu that satisfied everyone who was invited, even friends who don’t have kids. This meant some grown-up friendly nibbles and alcoholic drinks. We wanted to make sure everyone felt included in Grace’s celebration.”
Are you planning her second birthday party yet?
“It definitely won’t be as big. I put more stock into her first one because I figure you only turn one once, right? Of course I will still plan something ahead because that’s just in my nature. With an advance timeline and budget in mind, it takes all the stress out of any occasion I plan so I can truly enjoy it.”
It’s All In The Details
Welcome to a garden-themed party fit for family, friends and of course, the guest of honour.
“A first birthday party is so much different than kid’s birthday party. It’s more of a family affair because you’re entertaining people of all ages.” Keep this in mind when choosing the menu or even the loot bags. If you have the budget, it’s nice to spoil the grown-ups too like with these mini bottles of bubbly that Amy chose.
Meri Meri designed all the Liberty Print party supplies. “They make the most amazing lines of disposable party supplies. I almost didn’t want to throw them out!”
Plan a drop-in party within a window of time to accommodate everyone’s nap schedules and weekend availabilities.
Don’t bother investing in entertainment. Instead, designate a play area with a large mat and plenty of baby- and toddler-safe toys so parents can enjoy some hands-free time. For older children, set up a face-painting station run by relatives or friends and leave a few balls in the backyard so that they can easily start a pick-up game.
“We had the majority of the catering done by Sorelle & Co., which offers a menu with gluten-free, soy-free, sesame-free, vegan, nut-free and preservative-free ingredients to accommodate potential food allergies. We also went to Loblaws to pick-up cheese, fruit and veggie platters along with party sandwiches and pizza. With so many different people, we wanted to make sure there was something for everybody.
Amy says décor can be as simple as choosing a colour theme and sticking to it. High impact results can be had with balloons and large photos of your babe strung on garlands and lining the walls to add a personalized touch.
Hosting an event in the family home is always special while giving you wiggle room to indulge in catering and other extras. Amy hosted at her parent’s house and cleverly chose a Garden Party theme to tie in with her mom’s classic Victorian-style decor.
Three desserts were on order: A one tier cake for Grace to smash at the party, a three tier vanilla sponge cake with vanilla frosting, and coconut cupcakes with vanilla frosting (below).