As one of the talented directors of invitation design agency Zed & Bee, Zoe Ritch launched Lion and the Huntsman after she became a mother, spotting a gap in the market for specialty event stationery with personality for the modern child. Ritch recently celebrated her son Leons third birthday and from bespoke colouring in competition invitations to cute decorations sourced on Etsy, it was filled with colour and creativity
What was the theme for this party?
Unlike Leons first birthday, where I was able to theme the festivities as I saw fit, my son now has a voice and interests, and let it be known he wanted a party featuring his favourite movie heroes from Disney Pixar and Dreamworks characters. Leon is particularly taken with the racing gods, Dusty (Planes), Lightning (Cars) and Turbo (a snail), inspiring the inclusion of chequered black and white flags against vivid, primary red, blue and yellow. In the lead up to the event, the theme was depicted by bespoke colouring in competition invitations that were posted to guests, with little boxes of pencils. The coloured masterpieces were hung, admired on the day and judged for prizes. These were awarded for creativity and every child received a personal gift filled trophy for participation. The theme also tastefully included character illustrated balloons, set against a custom created Etsy ribbon garland, giant inflatable tyre, coloured paper tableware and tiered cake plates. There was a little kids table, lower to the ground, coloured blue and yellow in keeping with the Minions in Leons other favourite movie, Despicable Me.
What do you love about styling childrens parties?
What I love most is the process from initial concept, to the transformation of our living room and the look on Leons delighted face. His unique requested theme posed a fun challenge, and I delighted in searching online looking for party bits and pieces as I breastfed my youngest in the dead of night. I enjoy putting together creative mood boards for work and find childrens parties even more refreshing in their playful quirkiness. My preference is bringing together elements from a variety of suppliers, tied in with homemade inclusions provided by our large creative family, to transform what we already have, a home perfect for entertaining.
What are the key elements to a successful childrens party?
Design with your child in mind
Leon, like many peoples children today, has food intolerances. Due to this, the party served gourmet food that was not only thoughtfully presented to suit the events colour palette, but predominately gluten, dairy and egg free. I utilised the talents of my foodie family, as well as local businesses catering to intolerances.
Take the parents comfort into consideration
Considering the creativity and eye for style in our family, the challenge was to host a party that was aesthetically pleasing and relaxing for the parents, while remaining relevant for the little ones. The Little Hopper retro coffee caravan pulled up in the driveway serving barista coffees to parents on arrival. Champagne was also on offer, why should the kids have all the fun?
Have a reliable wet weather solution in place
With torrential rain forecast in the lead up to the event, marquees were squeezed onto our deck to ensure revelry rain, hail or shine. The weather however was magnificent and allowed Leons friends to make full use of both the house and outdoors, running between a dance floor and Duplo activity table at the front of the house, and face painting on the back verandah. I was particularly overjoyed to stand with my husband overlooking the back garden as the cubby house, slippery dip and trampoline were enjoyed by spirited little ones in fancy dress garb.”
Zoes little black book:
Face Painting: Face Focus
Playlist: Disney Pixar and Dreamworks Soundtracks