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Retro Water Ski Beach Birthday Party

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retro water ski birthday party

Is there anything better in the summertime than taking a quick family vacation to the nearest body of water and just vegging out? Throw in some fun on the water and you’ve got the perfect backdrop for a killer party! Nicole Gould of Million Dollar $mile Celebrations is back with this awesomely Retro Water Ski Beach Birthday Party. I am loving the old school details & ski-themed treats, especially that pyramid of water-skiier topped cupcakes! Make sure to read Nicole’s party details — she really knows how to write up (not to mention style) a party!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

  • Buoy cake pops with fondant rope accents + DIY water ski handle wrapped ‘Ski’ soda bottles
  • Retro kids’ bathing suits that double as a decorative banner + matching bathing suit cookies
  • Boat topped ombre waves cake towing the water skiing cupcakes + life preserver topped macarons
  • Layered blue jellos with DIY decorated wooden ‘water skis’ + a vintage kids’ VW bus tent

water ski pyramid cupcakes

retro kids bathing suits and cookies

water ski blue jellos

buoy cake pops

summer beach party desserts

vintage cool kids sunglasses

vintage little girl's bathing suits

family river boating day party

retro beach birthday party vw van tent

PARTY DETAILS as told by Nicole

Picture this… It’s 1954 and summer time has arrived! Everyone is packing up to head to the river. Hot dogs are on the grill, music is on the radio, and cold beverages are sweating on a bed of ice. The hot Arizona sun shining down on the sparkling Colorado River as boats speed by dragging skiers on long mahogany skis attempting to escape the summer’s heat or impress the ladies. Can you picture it? Tonia & Scott Tinker, Drake’s boat-loving parents, visualized and executed a party fit for a little River King!


You don’t need much decor when the Arizona mountains, Colorado River, and California sand all meet at the iconic Parker River Strip. Since the early 1950’s, this location has become a haven for flocks of sun-worshiping folks. Having a shack on the shore, the Tinker family felt it only fitting to host Drake’s 5th birthday (a Retro Water Ski Celebration) at sunset. We dragged the patio furniture onto the sand and set up a shin-dig for all of Drake’s river friends!

The Invite

Replicating the days of grand water ski shows, a vintage-inspired poster was created to invite friends and family to the celebration. Rolled up and tied with boat rope, this invite set the scene for the party to follow.

The Party

As guests arrived to the breezy and warm beach, they found retro swimsuits and accessories to take them back to the times when Fox’s Pier Point was the hottest joint on the river. Swim caps, high-waisted trunks, wide brimmed hats, and cat-eye glasses were carried into the most adorable VW bus tent, and out came the coolest cats and hippest chicks ready to party. Sand castles were made, kites were flown, water was splashed and bubbles were blown.

The Treats & Eats

Every detail of Drake’s dessert table was deliciously designed to capture retro river life. Behind the table, the birthday boy’s name “DRAKE” was spelled with International Maritime Signal flags. A wave-covered vanilla Swiss meringue butter cream cake, topped with a classic Chris Craft wooden boat sat at the center of this lake-lovers treat table. The boat towed a pyramid of six stylish skiing beauties atop wake crested cupcakes. Placed perfectly on vases filled with sparkling blue water, guests enjoyed the sweet ski show. Just in case of a downed skier, fondant life preservers were placed on miniature French macarons filled with white chocolate ganache. The distressed hand-painted buoy cake pops and piped and hand-decorated retro swimsuit cookies displayed the incredible skill of dessert artist, Laurie Reber.

From slightly scratched edges of the floating buoys to the intricate designs on the fashionable and eatable beach attire, the theme was carried out just beachy. I’m just wondering if that paisley design comes in my size?!?! Grandma Dianne meticulous created layered Jell-O cups and topped them with personalized water ski spoons… each with a unique design for birthday boy. Ski brand sodas, adorned with miniature tow-ropes were displayed on an authentic and OLD water ski and helped wash down the sweets and quench the sun and sand induced thirst.

The grill provided the eats, the kids provided the laughs, and the sun set on a perfect evening on the river.

Vendor Credit


  1. Nicole Gould August 6, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Jenn and team! You sure know how to make a party-lovin’ gal feel special! Thank you for the party feature that captured the joy of a little boy’s love for sand, surf, and sweets!
    Million Dollar $mile Celebrations

  2. ravi017 August 7, 2014 at 2:02 am

    looks nice!!!

  3. Brittany White Schwaigert August 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Totally and completely amazing, as always, Nicole Everson Gould! I mean, just brilliant!!!

  4. @Azure_Water August 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    This retro waterski #birthdayparty idea is fun for kids, but with details that adults will enjoy. So cute! http://t.co/aLjmrw8QVm

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