When we decided to combine our boys’ birthday parties into one bash this year, my original thought was for a “Dynamic Duo” theme. Mason and Isaac are two years apart and best buds. They have a lot of the same interests, play so well together, and still sleep in the same room (even though they each have their own bedrooms). They’re inseparable and really good brothers. Like Batman & Robin, Sherlock Holmes & Watson, Erik B. & Rakim, Hall & Oates, Peanut Butter & Jelly (you get the idea right?)…we thought “Dynamic Duo” would be perfect for a joint party.
But, when they mentioned how much they enjoyed their school carnival and wanted to go to the County Fair, I jumped on this perfect opportunity to do a carnival/circus themed party instead! I have a feeling that we’ll be doing joint parties from here on out. Mason’s birthday is in August and Isaac’s birthday is Halloween, so it seems like I’m planning the parties back to back. As soon as the thank yous go out for Mason’s party, it’s time to send out the invites for Isaac’s…and during wedding season, things can get a little hectic. So we’ll just use the Dynamic Duo theme another year. Besides, I’m completely obsessed with the look of a vintage or old-fashioned carnival and I’ve always adored the romantic notion of running away to join the circus or the leading the nomadic-bohemian lifestyle of the headlining star in a carnival show.
The inspiration for the theme, colors, style and invitations came from several sources: the HBO original series “Carnivàle”, with it’s visually stunning and historically accurate depiction of a traveling carnival set in the 1930s; as well as Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (namely the gorgeous Vogue feature of Reese Witherspoon, who played Marlena in the movie, shot at the L.A. Circus); vintage carnival and midway games I saw for sale online through some antiques dealers; and several other photo shoots using the props and backdrops of the L.A. Circus (including one that my niece did for photographer Skye Hardwick). LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Can we please do our next family photo shoot there?!!!
The invitations (and decor) were designed around the vintage look of burlap/hessian cloth, dingy striped canvas tents, brown paper sack/craft paper, natural rope/twine and a color scheme of muted dark red, gray, navy blue, teal/turquoise and mustard yellow. The emailed save the dates, with the adorable silhouettes (that my husband created) of my boys are pictured above. And here’s how the invitations turned out…MAGNIFICENTLY!