Thursday, March 17, 2011

Surf's Up! A Beach-Inspired Birthday Party

I can't believe Justin's huge "Surf's Up Birthday Party" has already come and gone! It was such a blast creating such a fun, original party.. and all for my dear hubby. I definitely couldn't have pulled it off alone.. thanks again Jody, Marta and Kevin! 

I've been dying to post photos, so here ya go!

I created these adorable little invites after finding the perfect red coral image on Offbeat Design Studio's Etsy shop. I think I may have screamed out loud when I found it! I incorporated a couple different fonts to keep it casual and fun. 
I had the invites printed at Bob Jones' super-cheap printing office (where we also printed our wedding invites). After measuring/cutting each one, I rounded the corners and secured each invite to a variety of red and aqua cardstock with raffia. Luckily I had lots of leftover envelopes from a previous project, so I saved even more $.
The guest list included about 40 of our closest friends/family.
I have have always been a lover of capiz shells, and I knew I wanted to incorporate them somehow. I loved the idea of hanging shells - everywhere - and I basically assumed I would have to rule out that idea, since I don't have a shell drill or even any bulk amount of capiz shells. I came across Janna's blog, TWSST, which demonstrated a fabulous way to create imitation capiz shells with wax paper {the full DIY can be found at Design*Sponge}. Of course my goal wasn't to make a chandelier, but instead, a garland. It was much easier than I thought, and all I needed was a circle cutter and some wax paper.

Faux Capiz Shell Garland - SO easy!
3 sheets of wax paper, between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Iron and cut with a circle cutter. Definitely don't use a punch, it doesn't work. I used this cutter by Martha Stewart.
Just another reason why I love paper so much!
Once again, I had the help of my good friend, Jody. I knew the color scheme I wanted: Red, aqua, navy, white, light blue and orange. She helped me bring all of my ideas to life, as we spent hours and hours - some nights she was over 'til 3am - crafting and creating. Since Justin and I had a beach wedding, I had lots of bulk shells and starfish to use, as well as raffia and netting. Jody had some old unused frames and canvases, which we painted ourselves. Our most ambitious attempt, was wrapping a bunch of frames in twine. It sounded so easy - especially at 10:00pm. When 2:45am rolled around and we weren't even 1/2 done with one frame, we were too tired and loopy to press on, so we had to improvise! I painted a couple canvases in some fabulous aquas, incorporating small stripes of orange. I had planned to suspend each frame,canvases and some starfish from the ceiling, but we soon found out they would be too heavy to hold. To create a little bit of dimension, we created some incredible "shell balls" with leftover styrofoam, shells and hot glue. 

I used the same coral shape to imitate the invites, and Jody helped with securing each cut out to the frames.  
Red feathers - Hobby Lobby
They totally had a great appearance of "coral".
More "wedding shells".. 

I wrapped candles with corresponding colors with ribbon and punched out paper. 

I made one of my own favorite recipes, Shrimp Scampi.

A friend, Kevin, brought some fruit. I made our favorite fruit dip.
I made Sand Dollar Cookies.. How cute are these?!
I made White Chocolate & Macadamia Cookies
Jody's homemade Potato Salad.. Literally, to die for!
Kevin brought Tabouli and pita chips
I really wanted to serve Rum Punch, since it was one of our favorite drinks from our honeymoon
Kevin also made a Crab & Mango salad, which we put into baked wonton cups. Yummy!
Marta helped me bigtime with baking the cupcakes! Pineapple Cupcakes, with cream cheese frosting.. I love cupcakes too much not to get creative with the frosting!  
Shark fins made from aqua cardstock and graham cracker crumbs over peach-dyed frosting, with little umbrellas. Love!
I made some marinated Caribbean Chicken with pineapple on mini skewers.. I didn't even plan for them to look like little row boats.. Funny!
More toppers on these fabulous Triple Fudge Cupcakes.
I made the perfect beach-party music playlist, featuring: Vampire Weekend, Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Surfer Blood, Ben Harper, 311 and more..

What a fun, perfect little evening, surrounded by friends, family and the beach.. Happy birthday, babe!


Capiz Shell DIY: TWSST & Design*Sponge
Images: Coral image: Offbeat Design Studio Etsy Shop, animal cut-outs inspired by images found at


  1. Okay, I love those shell balls and I love how you took a potentially tacky theme and made it classy!

  2. Alanna, I just LOVE your parties! You do such a good job :)


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