The circus transports you into another world that takes your breath away and leaves you wide-eyed with wonder. Nikki of More Than an Army Wife remembers going to the circus and being amazed by all the colors and the daring acts and, of course, the yummy food. For her sister’s first baby shower, Nikki and her mom wanted to create a shower that she would remember much like the way small children remember their first circus, as a beautiful place full of beautiful people that you desperately want to be a part of.
“Originally, we wanted to have a “Love Birds” theme,” Nikki confessed. “We even rented the venue because it was a round room that reminded us of a birdcage. Unfortunately, when it came to all of the other details nothing was working for us.” When she thought of a vintage circus theme based on a children’s birthday party she saw on the internet, she remembered her rented venue had a green and white striped ceiling that reminded her of a circus tent. ” When we plan an event we like to go with the unexpected. We thought instead of doing a bold red and blue circus party, a pink and yellow circus themed baby shower might be something others had never considered before, so we went with it.”
The silhouette circus performers were one of the first details decided upon. What is a circus without circus performers? “When we first decided on the theme, I kept envisioning the ceiling of the venue and how it just screamed circus tent. The ceiling was huge, the event decorator said it wasn’t a problem to hang things from the ceiling and so we knew we had to take advantage of that.” The result was a tent-looking ceiling with silhouettes of circus performers dangling. “We also decided we had to have striped tent fabric. The venue was floor to ceiling windows and we thought it would be perfect to drape striped fabric around all the windows to mimic the opening of a circus tent. Finding that fabric was not easy, but there was no way we could have a circus themed shower without a proper circus tent.”
While Nikki normally makes her own invites, the thought of doing 75 pop-up invitations while doing everything else for the shower sounded daunting. An Etsy artist sent her a mock up and it was exactly what she wanted. “How she managed to decipher my terrible sketch, I’ll never know, but she did it and it was perfect. We couldn’t have been more thrilled with the invitations.”"We loved how these centerpieces reminded us of the headdresses the circus elephants and horses wear. Plus, my sister is all about feathers. Her centerpieces for her wedding were feathers, so we thought it was a nice way to incorporate another special day of her life.
The venue offered to set up a photo booth, which Nikki signed up for hoping it wasn’t going to be lame. “We were so happy we decided to stick with it. Guests loved cramming into that booth and having their photos taken. Each session included two strips of photos, one for the guests in the photos and the second strip to put in a scrapbook for the mommy-to-be. Even if it doesn’t fit in perfectly with your theme, I highly recommend it.”
Without a doubt the elephant seat was Nikki’s favorite party detail ”When we were planning for the “Love Birds” theme, the only detail we came up with that we loved was creating a bird perch for the mommy-to-be to sit on to open her gifts. When we decided to go vintage circus, I set my heart on having my sister perch on an elephant while opening the gifts. One of my favorite circus memories is watching the parade of elephants with the prettiest, most glitzed out ladies riding on their backs. We had to have that. We couldn’t decide on how we were going to create this elephant, but then my mom found an elephant garden bench. An upside down garden planter to serve as the elephant stand, some pink and yellow spray paint, and we had our very own elephant parade.”
“I’m a firm believers that food should be directly related to the theme. Nothing against those who go the route of wraps and cheese trays for every event, but food can be so much more creative than that. When we think of the circus we think of pizza and hot dogs and French fries. That’s what we wanted on our menu…slightly jazzed up, of course. We worked with a great caterer, that helped us come up with a menu that was sure to be reminiscent of the circus. We provided guests with boxes to take home leftover desserts. Instead guests were packing up this food! I’ve never been to an event where guests take home more than just the dessert leftovers, but the food was seriously that good.”This baby shower included a selection of assorted gourmet mini flatbread pizzas and gourmet French fries, hot dogs, and creamy macaroni and cheese balls.
Guests had their choice of cupcakes by SweeTreats. They chose from chocolate cupcakes filled with raspberry with vanilla raspberry whipped topping and garnished with a raspberry or white chocolate tent or strawberries and cream cupcakes with a whipped topping and garnished with pink and yellow fondant elephants. The mommy-to-be got her very own circus tent cupcake that was a lemon cake with a blueberry bottom topped with a blueberry buttercream. “She said when she got home her and hubby pulled out some forks and devoured almost the entire cake that night.
What did guests take home? Cotton candy, of course! Aiming for a vintage feel, Nikki and her mom stuffed mason jars with pink and yellow cotton candy and packaged it in carriers along with handmade caramels. Guests also took home a cone of caramel popcorn.
“This baby shower has definitely been my favorite party to work on. I am so proud of the details we put together to create a circus theme. I really think ours embodies the circus more than the ones we were inspired by. It also inspired my mom, sister, and I to take our event planning to the next level by launching Pip Events I fully admit that several times we’ve thrown a party and I’ll see another party with the same theme and think, “Oh, that’s so much cuter than what we did. Why didn’t we think of that?” That’s not the case with this shower. I absolutely love our shower.”
Thank you to Nikki for sharing her sister’s under the big top baby shower with us!
*** AN UPDATE FROM NIKKI ***
A healthy Vivienne Nichole was born on April 6, 2011.. She weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and was 19 inches long. “She is so
beautiful…but she comes from good genes.”
Venue & Photo Booth – Lauxmont Farms, Rotunda
Invitations, Posters, Circus Performer Signs, Favor Stickers, Popcorn Cones – Pictoon Cards
Silhouette Trapeze & Ribbon Performer Cutouts – Darbynwoods
Catering – JDK Group Catering
Cupcakes – SweeTreats
Centerpiece Rental – Smiley Me
Cotton Candy – Tasty Clouds
Caramels – The Caramel Jar