Ara Land – A Wonderland Inspired 1st Birthday Party

Kunbi O / Monday July 31, 2023

Hi Friends! I’m so excited to finally share my daughter’s first birthday party with you. Yes, a whole 7 months later but who’s counting?! I’ve tried to post this party for a while now but it was so hard to narrow down the pictures. I loved every minute of this celebration and I’m glad i can finally share. So people, let’s take a journey through ARA-Land!

Wonderland with a Twist

Ara, meaning “wonder” in Yoruba, set the theme for this fabulous fête. Drawing inspiration from a random trip to Nigeria during election season, I decided to set things in “ARALAND”, a world where there are Ara shops, Ara parks and colorful Ara campaign posters adorning the walls, showcasing our tiny leader’s bright future.

Y’all I sent our designer+planner Ona of Project Olili the longest voice note with ramblings about my inspo and I’m just so grateful she was able to translate my crazy and bring it to life. I wanted it to feel like a place all about ARA and she delivered.

My favorite aspect of ANY party will always be the details. Anyone who knows me , would (hopefully) say that I am a person of intention, and it is something I want to be present in my events. As someone who struggled to have children, one of my love languages is showing my kids how much they are loved and wanted. Im grateful to be able to do that in my everyday and in our celebrations.

To welcome people we had the cutest #DailyDoseofAra photo wall, inspired by the cute pics I share daily on Instagram(#iykyk)! We decided to do this instead of a milestone wall, since you can see her growth and journey through the pictures anyway.  The smiles and memories on that wall filled our hearts with joy.

Ara “Merch” Shop featuring Custom Affirmation Cards & Ara Nla Apparel

Every detail at Araland was carefully curated with love, but three things stole our hearts. First, custom affirmation cards created in collaboration with Table Talk. Let me tell you guys- I can be kind of a “bully”. Immediately I had this idea of affirmation cards, I sent Tito, the founder of Table Talk a one line text: “You should do custom cards for kids” lol whenever Tito gets a text like that from me, she knows what I’m asking and I am so grateful to her for obliging. Tito and I worked together on the content of the cards and they were perfect for our little guests.

The second and third things were our custom Ara Nla (Big Wonder) merchandise consisting of “Wonder” and “Grace” friendship bracelets and fun wonder t-shirts (designed by me) with Ara’s smiley illustration on it. Instead of traditional currency, we introduced custom Ara Bucks to “purchase” these little treasures. It added an extra layer of creativity and fun to the party.

Lastly we had an  “Ara Bar and Grill” with a mouthwatering menu of Nigerian Small chops (by Honeybees Kitchen in NYC), A personalized bar with signature drinks like “Shekinah Glory” (if you know you know) and one of my favorite details ever…

The Ara Nla Birthday Song

Okay I know I’ve said so many parts were my favorite, but y’all, can you blame me? like seriously! My most favorite detail from Araland, was our custom Ara Nla birthday song! We had one of my fave worship singers- EmmaOMG create a special song for our baby, and it was GLORIOUS! The song was definitely heavenly because, as the song played Ara took her first steps! Lord, I was a MESS. It was a moment that captured the essence of Ara’s first year of life – a year filled with wonder and joy.

So there it is y’all. ARALAND! This intimate wonderland-inspired first birthday party was a true labor of love. From the intentional details to the beaming smiles of our guests, every moment was precious. Thank you to my party ACE Ona of Project Olili for bringing this to life. and for my party besties Bolanle and Dami for listening to me ramble about my vision. Scroll below to take in the pictures (by Paula Ortiz) and I hope you find an inspiration (or two) for your own #perfete day.

Special thanks to these amazing vendors for helping bring the party to life:

Photography: Paula Ortiz
Planning and Design @projectolili
Rentals @aridecor__
Signage and acrylic decor @averylittleshop
Print production @twinsprint
Custom Affirmation Cards @THETABLETALKCARDS
Cake @simplydelicious_2
Ball Pit @funcationstation
Boomerang booth @amyanaizphoto
Bartender: @1drink2lit
Ara Bucks: Etsy
Friendship Bracelets: Etsy
T-Shirts, Cups and Shopping Bags Printing: Atinudah Concepts