Up, Up and Away Balloon Party {+ Life Lesson}

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balloon birthday cake

Nicolle of Libby Lane Press (our newest contributor!) seriously gave her all to create this fantastic Up, Up and Away Balloon Party for her son Cole’s birthday, but she also has a pretty crazy back story to go along with it…. one that I think many of us can relate to on some level – downed trees and power lines or not!

If you have a few minutes today, please read her details below regarding  – as she once refers to it – “the perfect party gone bad”… and the wonderful silver lining that came after the storm. It will brighten your day and remind you of the real reason why we do all this celebrating. :) Many tanks to Nicolle for sharing!

balloon invitation

orange candy cups

balloon cookies

balloon cake pops


PARTY DETAILS, as told by Nicolle

So, to say June was busy is an understatement.  With both Sophia and Cole having birthdays 2 weeks apart, end of school, and just overall early summer activities I was one overwhelmed busy mom.  Sophia’s Cute as a Cupcake Party was a huge success. Everything turned out just as I had envisioned, the dessert table was probably the best I have ever styled and the children had a ball. So, the Sunday after Sophia’s party I started tying up the loose ends for Cole’s Up, UP and Away Balloon party just two short weeks away.  Well, just as the theme says.. all of my grandios plans went Up, Up and Away.

The day before the party I drove to meet the talented and equally as sweet, Brenda from Sugar High.  She was kind enough to securely package the balloon cake (have you seen this thing yet.. AHHH-mazing!) and  I drove 30 mph on the major highways from Northern VA back to Maryland on a Friday night. Needless to say I gave new meaning to the term road rage for those driving behind me, however there was no way I was going to let my big plans fall short… if I only knew how the story would unfold.  I dropped the cake off at my house, safely stored it away from my curious kids and then went to Target for a few last minute dessert ideas.  I could tell the weather was iffy since it was 100+ degrees during the day,  but knew I had to get a few last things before the party.  While I was in Target, the lightening started and the thunder shook the building.  Before I knew it I was standing in a pitch black store without power. At this point I had to ask myself, “Is this really happening because if so no one will ever believe this story!”  After what felt like an eternity the lights came on and management proceeded to close Target. Not the best news I had ever heard but after the last darkness episode I was willing to forego my final creations.  While driving home I was re-routed due to trees in the road and lo and behold as I discovered a short cut to my house a tree branch behind me fell and there I sat on a wooded road in a thunder and rain storm in between two down branches.  Oh and did I tell you I had no cell service? I wasn’t sure whether to panic or go lie under the tree in front of me. So, I waited until the man in front of me moved the tree branches and we were able to pass.

Whew- ok, I am feeling good at this point and trying to think positively.  At midnight I finally walked back into my house and the rain and thunder proceeded to whip through our community for the next 5 hours.

The next morning we woke to a community that looked like it was put in a bowl, shook around and then tossed out.  Major roads were closed, few people had power and the county was in a state of emergency, according to CNN. Oh, and my son’s party was scheduled for 3 pm at a local park. Comparatively speaking I didn’t lose nearly what some people did, however my heart was hanging low and my anxiety level was high.

The caterer never called and when we went to pick up the food they were closed and without power. This was an hour before the party.  At this point I was looking around for Ashton Kutcher because I was certain I was being Punk’d. This could. not. be. happening.

Long story short- the party went on. Pizzas were delivered from a local shop, travel squirt bottles were filled with water and the 300 balloons on a string, which was supposed to be used as garland, was on the ground being popped like packaging wrap. There was no dessert table, no pretty displays, no cake stands and the push up cupcake pops were in a plastic Glad container. When I finally stopped and looked around I wanted to sit on the bench, put my head in my hands and cry.  All of this work, all of the sleepless nights, the financial investment. Gone. And then I heard something.


During my angst over the perfect party gone bad I missed the fact that everyone was having a ball.  The kids were running wild, climbing on the playground equipment, playing catch with the balloons, picking their balloon animal to be made by the balloon sculptor (God bless this man for showing up!) and the adults were making the best of the hot day with cool beverages.

At this point, I decided to change my standards for what makes a good party.  My son had a fabulous day, my friends helped me more than they ever will know, my neighbor took pictures so I can remember this for all of the good reasons and the children left never knowing my true vision was quite different.  So, some people use the phrase the calm before the storm and in this case I like to think I learned the life lesson from the calm after the storm.

Thanks to my wonderful vendors and I am sorry I didn’t deliver the standard Libby Lane Press presentation of your creative confections & supplies but my day was better knowing you played a part.

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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.

2 responses to “Up, Up and Away Balloon Party {+ Life Lesson}”

  1. Shayla says:

    Such a cute theme. Love the idea!

  2. Helen says:

    Love this balloon theme – so pretty! Great story – can totally relate to your concerns about not having the perfect party after so much hard work, but great to hear you re-evaluated the situation and realized that the most important thing was your son and his friends had a great time. Well done!