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Real Parties: Lila’s Dol Celebration

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contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

Today’s Real Party feature is full of so much great DIY inspiration… not to mention the fabulous color palette and wonderfully contemporary vibe! It’s a colorful “Dol” (traditional Korean first birthday celebration) that Angie Bae created for her adorable daughter Lila.

There are so many meaningful & handcrafted details in this party… from the creative cookie invitations and fabulous paper globe centerpieces (representative of family members) to handmade candy pillars (see below), a shimmery cake inspired by Lila’s hanbok, and more!

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

Read on for lots more images and all the party details, as told by Angela…

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

“For Lila’s dol/Korean first birthday party, the inspiration came easily when I first saw her hanbok (traditional Korean dress.) I loved the combination of pinks, white and lime green. They reminded me of Lila’s bubbly and happy personality, so we incorporated them into all the party details.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

Along with invitations from Tiny Prints, we included a set of “button” sugar cookies in pink and green from Meli & Angi. Guests either received a set that read lila/1 or chook/dol (1st birthday) in Korean characters.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

Cookies were placed in a plastic case and filled with white tissue shred for cushioning.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

Since the party was on the 4th floor, we printed out photos of Lila and taped them in the elevators to greet guests. It reads “Oh! You made it. I’m on the 4th floor!” I love Lila’s “oooh!” expression in this photo:

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

When you enter the space, there is a blank wall so we filled it with large sized photos of Lila. They were from different months in her first year, and displayed like a gallery setting. We used 3M temporary hooks so we wouldn’t damage the walls/paint.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

What Will Lila Pick? Board
The “doljabee” is a traditional element of the Dol. Items are laid out in front of the baby for her to choose from. The item that she picks will foretell her path in life. Money = wealth. Pencil = scholar. Thread = long life. Rice = never go hungry. We also added in a Mic = musical and an Abacus = intelligence.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

Guests wrote their names on ballots and put them in the pocket they thought Lila would choose. From the selected item, we randomly chose guests to win prizes. Lila picked the abacus first, followed by the rice.

These paper globes were made by following Heather Bailey’s template. Each centerpiece includes globes of varying height to represent our family of 3.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

The “planter” is a white bakery box with green scrapbooking paper and pink ribbon arranged to look like 3 stripes of varying widths. The “stems” were trimmed down wooden dowels (purchased at Home Depot) and bbq skewers wrapped in green tissue paper. We stood them in floral foam and topped each planter with green crinkle cut paper shred (from Michaels).

The globes themselves were made from various scrapbooking papers found on Amazon. For Lila’s birthday banner, we used the same scrapbooking paper to have consistent colors.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

Lila’s “hanbok” cake was made by Ruth Shin of Brooklyn Cake. It was strawberry shortcake with buttercream filling, and so delicious! We love that she was able to translate Lila’s hanbok into a cake… especially the ribbon detail.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

The birthday table traditionally has go ims (pillars) on display. To personalize them, I used red beans and Korean rice puffs to make: 1) a mouse because Lila was born in the year of the mouse, 2) “Sora”, her Korean name and 3) “chook dol” in Korean characters.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

I also made 2 more using white, green and pink Mentos in stripes and flower designs.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

In front, we have plates of fruit and dduk (Korean rice cakes) which later get packaged for guests to take home.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

To package the dduk for guests, we used plain white take out boxes and printed out thank you labels with pink stripes from Avery.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

Guests were also welcome to take lollipops from this “garden“. All the materials used to make it were found at Michaels – a wooden CD crate, floral foam, green crinkle cut paper shred, individual letters that spell out her first and middle/Korean name, paint and craft glue.

contemporary Dol - traditional Korean first birthday party

We are so glad that Mary Jane Photography and some of our very talented friends (Albert, Sandy, Susan and Sam) were able to help us remember Lila’s dol through photos. I still can’t believe Lila’s 1st year has come and gone. It really did fly by, but I remember every moment like it just happened.

By | 2018-07-15T14:13:46+00:00 February 23rd, 2010|First Birthday, Kids Birthday, Parties for Girls|31 Comments

About the Author:

JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource. HWTM brings creative entertaining ideas to light through an inspirational “how-to” website and popular daily blog. Having hosted countless celebrations herself, ranging from special occasion showers and everyday get-togethers to large events, Sbranti now shares her contemporary style and no-fuss approach to entertaining with others. Her ideas have been featured in media outlets such as People, InStyle Weddings, Life&Style, Real Simple, and Extra! TV, and she is a featured contributor for several well-respected online communities, including iVillage.com and BHG.com. Sbranti resides in San Diego with her husband {and business partner} Sonny and their sweet 1-year old daughter, Macy.


  1. Party Box Design February 23, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    LOVE this party!! So original!

  2. Janice February 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    This theme is SO GORGEOUS! Truely breathtaking!!

  3. youngmi February 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    i love it! this is the cutest dol i’ve ever seen :) i can’t imagine how long the pillars must have taken but they’re amazing. thanks so much for sharing!

  4. kamille February 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    awesome concept!! :) she’s the cutest!!

  5. anthony teo February 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    this is really fantastic… great combination of traditional elements and modern touch.

  6. Melissa Irvin February 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm


  7. Sandy February 23, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    the globes are SOOO cute!! i love them, i want to make some to decorate my house, my work cube, everything!! happy birthday lila!

  8. Jordan - Polkadot Prints February 24, 2010 at 3:19 am

    What a great way to combine tradition & modern! The centre pieces are my personal favourite! :)

  9. amy February 24, 2010 at 7:34 am

    wow wow wow!!

  10. jenn s. February 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Tina –

    I know – Heather is AMAZING! I adore her work too :)

  11. Tina B-Being Wife February 24, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Thank you for sharing the link to Heather Bailey’s Blog! I am Head-Over-Heels for all of her AMAZING talent!

  12. nicole February 24, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    What a beautiful party so full of culture and great photo’s!

  13. Stacey February 25, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I can’t believe those candy pillars. Amazing! Will definitely have to try it sometime!

  14. jae February 25, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Gasp. Amazing!

  15. Jeanne Benedict March 2, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Just spent yesterday browsing in an Asian food market and absolutely love the traditional ideas and artistic displays of the Korean culture at this party. Beyond fabulous.

  16. Tiff March 2, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Beautiful, what a sweet little girl you have. Can you tell me how you made the paper globes?? Is there a pattern somewhere?? Good job!!

  17. jenn s. March 3, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Tiff –
    You can get the pattern for the paper globes on Heather Bailey’s website: http://heatherbailey.typepad.com/heather_bailey/2008/01/paper-globes.html

    Look for the “free patterns” area in the right-hand side of the website and click on “paper globes” to download the pdf :)

  18. Megan April 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Sooo ipo-da and creative! I am planning our Lila’s “dol” in October and am inspired! What did you use for your pillars?

  19. karisa July 21, 2010 at 8:54 am

    i’m also curious what you used for the pillars?

  20. Julia Kim LaSalle July 31, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I love the hanbok cake!! I get so excited when I see events with Korean elements- I need inspiration on how to incorporate my mothers traditions into the celebrations of my life events, and this is a fantastic inspiration!!

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