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REAL PARTIES: Bedtime Stories Birthday

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bedtime stories birthday party ideas

I have to admit that today’s Real Party feature makes me extra-happy… because it was inspired by a theme found right here at HWTM! Jennifer Gentry took our Bedtime Stories Baby Shower and spun it into a seriously fabulous birthday party for her son!

There are so many clever elements to this party… from the “story book” style invitations and ultra-creative thank you notes to a ridiculously adorable fondant bed – complete with pillows, books, teddy bear, and flashlight nonetheless!

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

Read on for lots more images & all the party details, as told by Jennifer

I fell in LOVE when I saw the Bedtime Stories theme on HWTM! I knew right away that is what I wanted to do, and Connor’s favorite thing is reading books with us, so even he got excited!

When I told my friend about the theme she gave me the idea to do “books” for invites. Since I am a photographer, the invites were my favorite part, and I had so much fun putting them together.  I made little “books” written from Connor’s point of view about turning 3 and his party. They were a huge hit!

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

I LOVED the idea from HWTM about making the table a bed, so I knew that was a must.

Since we had all the main food on the island in the kitchen, I decided to make the dessert “bed” the prettiest one.  I got the duvet cover & pillowcase from Ikea for only $19.99, and found little blue pillows for only $2. I wrapped orange string around the blue pillows to make them a little prettier.

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

The bed canopies were from Ikea too (only 9.99 each!), as well as the throw blankets (just $7.99). I set everything up on the table, along with stacks of books that I’d covered with decorative paper so that they would match well.

I also covered glass cylinders with the same paper used on the books, embellished them with alphabet stickers, and filled them with orange flowers.

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

I decorated the ceiling of the kids play room with strings of tissue paper poms and hung paper lanterns all over the house.

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

For the food labels, I punched out moon and star shapes with a craft punch, then used toothpicks to stick them in little fondant books that I’d made.

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

I hung another bed canopy above the kids table, covered the table with matching fabrics, and added plastic buckets filled with party toys.

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

Although I didn’t get many photos of the main food set-up, there was a lot of it! In addition to trays of trays of cheese, vegetables, crackers, and fruit, I made parfait cups, caprese skewers, ham & cheese skewers, turkey wraps, mini twice baked potatoes, lil smokies, and pigs in a blanket.

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

I made cream-filled strawberries, mini brownies, marshmallow pops, lemon cupcakes with fondant decorations, and these AMAZING Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes!

The cupcakes were a HUGE hit, and the only change I made was swapping out the cream cheese frosting from chocolate-flavored to regular so that I could dye it to match the party.

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

For the top of the desert stand I made a fondant bed with a little teddy bear, flashlight, and books. It looked so cute! We also had an ice cream bar set up on the counter top.

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

I had all the kids come in their pajamas to stick with the theme, and since they were too small for “real” activities, I just made the play room baby-friendly and set all of Connor’s toys out for play.

The kids played great together and the adults enjoyed lots of chatting time over great food. Since there were no set “projects” for the kids, it made it easy for the adults to just relax and socialize.

I found cute little book bags at the party store and made little hang tags for them that matched the food labels. In the favor bags for the babies I put in a little stuffed bear and an Elmo bedtime book.  Toddlers received glow bracelets, suckers, fairytale finger puppets, sticker books, a coloring book, and crayons.  They looked really cute!

bedtime stories birthday party ideas

Since there were so many people & kids that attended, we decided not to open presents at the party.  I had Connor open them the next day, and I took pictures of him opening each one, then I made storyboards for each guest with the photos of him opening the present that they gave him.

Everybody loved them, and it was great because they still got to see him open their present, but without the chaos of the party!”

bedtime stories birthday party ideas


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POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

39 responses to “REAL PARTIES: Bedtime Stories Birthday”

  1. Elisha Akram says:

    So very cute! Love the desert bed table.

  2. Kendal says:

    Awesome!!! You did a great job! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ebony Sparkes says:

    Very cute! Love the fondant bed!!!

  4. Amy says:

    Holy cow! Love the strawberries, the cupcakes sound wonderful…and the thank you’s are so creative!

  5. Cammi says:

    Wow! This party looks amazing! I love the dessert table, as well as all the decor, invites and thank you notes. Oh, geesh, I love it all. Fabulous job!

  6. Jen Gentry says:

    YAY! I’m so excited to be on your blog, thanks for inviting me over :) And thanks for all the love everyone! Here’s the link to those strawberries too – YUMMY!!

  7. olivia s. says:

    this is so cute! Where are the kiwi and grapefruit lollipops from??? I love them!

  8. suzi says:

    Wow, they look amazing…

  9. TidyMom says:

    Jen did a FABULOUS job……..makes me wish my kids were still little!

  10. Kim says:

    Super cute!! I am craving the strawberries and cream though!

    Kim @
    party inspiration

  11. Rowaida Flayhan says:

    Your blog is wonderful Jenn, it is always a great pleasure checking it. Lots of inspirations and great ideas
    Thank you

  12. Ashley says:

    I love this! I loved the theme when I originally saw it on HWTM and these additions/twist make it special. I love the thank you cards & invites.. do you have a close up picture? Also, how did you make them so that they were customized to the person’s name & gift? Thanks!

  13. Sandy says:

    I love this idea!!! My Granddaughter is turning the big ONE and we were struggling to find a party idea that would work, since there was a large group of kids at various ages… that is until now. Please email me how you did the thank- you notes. [email protected]. We now can focus on gathering what is needed to make this party a big hit:)

  14. Gray says:

    So Cute! I am currently planning a slumber party…what great ideas to get my creative juices flowing!!

  15. Cassandra says:

    I love your Thank You cards. How special! I would love to receive a thank you like that- capturing the expressions of excitement as the birthday boy opened each present! Great Idea!!

  16. Victoria says:

    Fabulous idea about the thank you notes! I’m definately sharing that one.

  17. Shannon says:

    I love the marshmellow pops. How did you make those?

  18. Jen Gentry says:

    Thanks guys! The thank you notes I just made in photoshop then I emailed them to everyone as a jpeg photo. Without PS you could do something like this easily in elements or another similar program. Just get your photos ready then copy and paste them onto a new blank document, then use the text to write out whatever you want to say – very easy!
    Those suckers I found at Michaels – they were up by the register :)
    The Marshmallow pops – just dipped them in those candy melts then in sprinkles, then set them in the jelly bellies to dry – very easy and the kids loved them!! I found that idea right here on HWTM, I bet if you do a search you’ll find them, and those ones were much prettier than mine, haha.
    Thanks again everyone!

  19. Jessica Lake says:

    Love this idea! You did everything perfect! Love the idea of the personalized thank you’s as well. Great job!!

  20. Lovely Scribbles says:

    I absolutely adore this party idea!!

  21. Jenn @ HWTM says:

    Hi Shannon –
    Here’s the link to the marshmallow pop tutorial:

    Jenn :)

  22. […] Jen from Hostess with the Mostess asked me if she could feature Connor’s Birthday party over on her blog!  Ummmmmmm…YES!!  Go check it out – here […]

  23. Julianne says:

    What a great theme! I especially love the strawberries and cream.

  24. dionne says:

    how would you do this with a round table?

  25. Jenn @ HWTM says:

    Dionne –
    It would actually be difficult to give round tables the “bed” look, but you could still do this type of look for a gift or buffet table and then feature coordinating storybook-themed centerpieces for the round tables… things like a stuffed animal propped up with a story book or even a small throw pillow would be cute :)

  26. Tanya says:

    @ olivia s. they have the kiwi lollipops @ Michaels.

  27. This party really is adorable, and all the little details are superb. Loving the bed cake! Was thinking that these teddy bear biscuits (or cookies, as you call them!) at would be a great addition to the “bedtime stories” theme.

  28. Emma says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I am in love with connor’s party…he is such a lucky boy to have a mother so creative like you. I am planing my daughter Emma’s 1st birthday party on June 6th. I loved the strawberry ad cream and your fondant bed.
    I am gaga over your invitation. I wanted to do my daughter’s invitation like catalog book style but didnt know where to start.
    Would you mind pointing me in the right direction. What paper you used, what did you use to tie the book? Did you just get the pictures developed and tie them? Any information would help me. Thanks!!!

  29. Jen Gentry says:

    @ Emma – Thanks! I made the whole thing with the photos in CS4, and I actually printed them through Millers, a professional photography printing company. I think you can get similar accordion cards through WHCC though, or you could google “accordion cards” To bind them I just took a hole puncher along the sides then wrapped the ribbon in and out of the holes.
    Hope that helps :)

  30. Emma says:

    Hi Jen,
    thank you so much for your reply…I got PS4 from a friend of mine yesterday and ging to give it a try. I looked on millers printing website…they have 6 panel printing with 3 pic and 10 panel printing with 5 pic…but how did you get te picture to print on both side of the paper. like the 1st page of the invitation had picture n both side. Again thank you for your help :)

  31. Arch says:

    Wow! thsi is awesome! I have a 3 yr old too – so have a qs…how do you keep the kids away from messing the set up from sheer excitement?

  32. Jen Gentry says:

    @Emma, sorry just saw this – Millers prints all their press double sided – but I am pretty sure you have to be a professional photog to sign on with them. Good luck!
    @Arch – haha, got lucky! Had the kids stuff in another room where they could destroy stuff all they wanted :)

  33. This is so adorable! The details are simply amazing! Off to check out the link. Thanks for the inspiration!

  34. Kirsten says:

    Hi there! I don’t even know when you posted this but I came across it tonight and it was so cute!!! Is there anyway you would be willing to share your strawberries and cream recipe? It looks so cute and elegant and I would love to use it for a bridal shower! Thank you!

  35. Jenn @ HWTM says:

    Hi Kristin –
    Here’s the link to the strawberries recipe:

    Jenn :)

  36. Tania Tangri says:

    This post of yours inspired the baby shower I threw for my dear friend. I love everything you did here. Would it be ok if I provide a backlink to your site on my blog?

  37. Jomygoodness :: where passion meets planning » Blog Archive » Twenty-Ten: No. 10 (March 6 – March 12) says:

    […] * Check out the bedtime stories birthday party on Hostess with the Mostess Blog. […]

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