Adina's Up Up + Away First Birthday Party

Adina is officially one year old! I still can’t believe it! We had a hot air balloon themed first birthday party for her and it was wonderful, whimsical, and so memorable. Since Adina is the first grandchild (and great-grandchild, niece etc.) on both sides, we knew that many of our friends and family members would want to celebrate this milestone with us. We were so moved to have guests join us from NJ, Boston, Western MA, and even Chicago for Adina’s special day. It was amazing to feel all the love for our sweet girl and she had the best time partying with all of her friends and family!


I started thinking about her first birthday a couple of months in advance and decided to choose a theme that would be fun for a kid’s party, while still being tasteful. After perusing Instagram and Pinterest for some inspiration, I knew the hot air balloon theme would be perfect! We went with a pink, mint, and gold color scheme.

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Once Michael and I began to get an accurate head count, we realized we couldn’t host a party for that many people in our 2-bedroom Brooklyn apartment. So I began researching local venues that could both hold a large group and accommodate the needs of many different ages from newborns to ninety-year-olds. Enter Da Nonna Rosa Restaurant in Park Slope, BK.

Da Nonna Rosa is one of our go-to places in the neighborhood. The pizza is delicious and it’s super baby friendly, with high chairs, changing tables, and plenty of room for strollers. Although we had eaten there many times, I never knew about their private party room on the second floor.  The space had a great layout for our party, with a bar and high top tables where people could mingle on one side and a room with round tables and chairs for people to dine on the other. We set up a dedicated area for the babies to play in the corner of the room and had a slideshow playing on their flat screen TV.

The events manager Anthony was a pleasure to work with! He helped us select a menu and dealt with our frequent questions and last minute requests. We served a variety of items from salads, to pizzas, to pasta dishes, to fish. Guests also enjoyed a choice of mimosas, sangria, and beers. We probably overestimated the amount of food we needed, but I’m not complaining because I love leftovers!



In keeping with the blush, mint, and gold color scheme, we added some festive banners and decorations to the walls. The gilded tri-color “Happy Birthday” banner was so cute and I will definitely use it for years to come. I spelled out “Adina is One” with my favorite this botanical party garland from Rifle Paper Co that I’ve had since my bridal shower four years ago. I also printed out the monthly photos of Adina and strung them up in order next to the buffet. It was so cool to see how she grew and changed from month to month. She doesn’t even look like the same baby!

Near the baby play area, we created a life-size hot air balloon for the babies out of a basket and multi-colored balloons. My attempt to take a photo with Adina inside of it was only somewhat successful but it definitely added to the whimsy at the party! By the bar, we displayed framed photos of Adina with a sign-in book. We asked guests to write a message to Adina one of the pages in Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday Baby book.

I absolutely loved how the centerpieces turned out! With the help of my extremely crafty and talented mother-in-law, we managed to create the most beautiful hot-air-balloon floral centerpieces for each table. Using square glass vases as the base, she glued wooden sticks to circular gold and pink paper lanterns to create the look of a hot air balloon. Then we added beautiful white hydrangeas and blush roses as a fresh flower touch. Finally, we glued tiny gold mini bunting banners to each of the paper lanterns to give it that whimsical hot air balloon look. For the finishing touch, we sprinkled gold, mint, and blush hot air balloon confetti around each of the centerpieces. I am so grateful for Michael’s mom for bringing my vision to life!

Dessert Table

The main feature of the room was definitely the dessert table! We decorated the area with a gold foil “ONE” balloon, multi-colored DIY tassels, and some colorful garlands. On the table itself, we included some photos from Adina’s cake smash shoot, mini stacking suitcases, cake stands, a mini hot air balloon with a stuffed animal bear, and hot air balloon toothpicks in each item. For dessert, we served fresh strawberries and grapes in a chocolate mold cornucopia and hot air balloon cake pops. Our dear friend Maria is an incredible baker and made delicious cupcakes and balloon-shaped sugar cookies for the occasion. The cookies and cupcakes tasted just as delicious as they looked! The most eye-catching dessert was of course Adina’s beautiful cake, designed with hot air balloons and clouds and topped with a glittery gold “one” cake topper.


Although we had toys available for the babies and kids to play with, I began to think about including some additional entertainment for them at the party. After a little bit of brainstorming, I knew right away I wanted to work with one of my favorite local musicians and child educators, Cassie from Bright Lights Music and Yoga. Throughout the summer, Adina and I attended a weekly sing-a-long where Cassie performed and Adina absolutely loved it! Cassie has a great way with children; she is sweet and interactive, providing puppets, scarves, and musical instruments for the babies to play with while she plays a fun music set with her ukulele. She also has plenty of options for children of all ages. She was a hit with all of the little ones at the party - they were captivated by her music and loved playing with all of her props. I am thrilled to announce that Cassie is offering $20 off of her birthday party packages to Ariel Loves readers! If you live locally, I highly recommend having Cassie come to your next event - you won’t regret it! You can read more about Bright Lights’ offerings and find Cassie’s contact information at the end of this blog post.


Adina had to look extra chic for her big day so we went with this gold Kate Spade dress and these sparkly Sam Edelman shoes, an outfit fit for a princess! To complete the look, Adina wore this custom flower crown by Mason & Harlow. Gina from the shop created the perfect hair accessory that pulled the whole look together. Adina was quite the elegant little lady!

Although Adina totally stole the spotlight, I wanted to look extra special for the occasion too so I decided to try out Rent the Runway for the first time. I rented this Trina Turk peach dip dye dress. I couldn’t believe that I rented it for less than $30 when it retails for $378! I paired it with nude ballet flats and a statement necklace. Since I had never used Rent the Runway, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, especially because I usually don’t do too much online shopping since I like to try things on in person. But it was so easy! I read dozens of reviews from real women before choosing my dress and size and RTR sent me two sizes of the dress a couple of days before the party. It was so easy to mail back to them with the self-addressed return label. It was such a fun way to wear a new designer dress at a fraction of the cost - I will definitely be doing it again! I am excited to share a referral link with my readers to give you $30 off of your first rental with Rent the Runway! Just use this link when you place your order:


I knew I wanted to have lots of photos to remember this special day. But I wanted to be fully present with Adina and our guests and be able to enjoy myself during the party, without worrying about taking pictures. I am so grateful that I worked with Anna of Anna McClellan Photography for the birthday party.

Anna is a NYC-based photographer who specializes in portraits and street photography, and she does family and event photography as well. She was an absolute dream to work with! Not only did she come straight from another photo shoot to take shots of the room and all of the decor before guests arrived, but she managed to snap a few family photos of us and captured so many candid moments - big and small - throughout the party. She sent us a few sneak peeks later THAT NIGHT and had the full gallery of edited images within days of the party. I love the way the photos came out, way better than any I could’ve taken with my iPhone. All of the party photos in this blog post were taken by Anna. I will treasure these photos forever!

I hope you enjoyed these photos and got some inspiration for your next party! Happy first birthday, baby girl, you are so loved!



Bright Lights Music and Yoga:

Cell: 319-239-6718 | Email: | Facebook: Cassie Naaktgeboren | Instagram: @brightlightsmusicandyoga | Website:

From Cassie: Originally from Iowa, I moved to Brooklyn in 2012 in search of a supportive, creative community of educators and artists, and to share my love of music, yoga, theater, and art with students of all ages.  I now work as a music, yoga, and movement specialist at preschools, daycares, public libraries, and yoga studios in Brooklyn and Manhattan teaching infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, along with prenatal and postnatal yogis. I strive to be a nurturing, energetic teacher and performer, facilitating experiences that are imaginative, musical, collaborative, and FUN for kids and parents alike. With a multi-disciplinary performance and movement background (including studying and performing opera for 7 years!) I utilize whimsical props, puppet play, live ukulele and singing, storytelling, and a whole lot of yoga based movement in every engaging class and birthday party. We can work together to find a theme or incorporate some of your kiddo’s “favorite things” into the program to create a memorable, meaningful experience for everyone. I would love to bring my unique style of entertainment to your next special event or your child’s birthday party!