I can’t believe that it’s been a year since my son’s first birthday and baptism celebration. We wanted to create a sentimental baptism and a fun, filled colorful birthday extravaganza that incorporated our family’s three cultures – Dutch, American, and Filipino. Since he was getting a double-celebration I wanted to take extra care with all the details and was fortunate to stumble upon vendors who was willing to work with my vision (after of course, countless hours of research, interviews and budget considerations). It was also a fun challenge preparing a party for 100 of our closest family and friends – we’ve been very blessed to have wonderful people welcome us into their lives and we couldn’t resist not sharing the joy of such a special day with each and every one of them.
For the theme, we we naturally gravitated towards Nijntje for sentimental reasons. Nijntje is a beloved nursery character created by Dutch writer and illustrator Dick Bruna. Dick Bruna is one of Utrecht’s most distinguished residents. Our son also happens be born in Utrecht (and so was his dad/my husband), spent his first year living in the heart of the city (Oudegracht) and celebrating his first year of life in Utrecht. Don’t you just appreciate how everything falls together?
To keep it small and intimate, we held his baptism at a small chapel in Saint Augustine’s cathedral presided by our family priest. Taking advantage of our talented friends, we had two guitarist and three singers singing This Little Light of Mine, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, and the Prayer of Saint Francis.
Going Dutch style, we choose the Chapel room of the Centraal Museum of Utrecht conveniently located a 5 minute walk away to host the festivities. Guests enjoyed a Filipino buffet with lechon (roasted big), pancit (Filipino stir fried noodles), two types of lumpia (shrimp and beef), rice and mechado (Filipino meat stew). For guests who had more discerning Dutch tastes, we provided ham and cheese Nijntje Dutch sandwiches. The dessert table featured treats such as red velvet cake pops, mango cupcakes, ube cupcakes, three types of chocolate pops, ube ensaymada rolls and colorful macarons. To satisfy our guests thirsts, we served organic juices, coffee, tea and other beverages.
For the children’s entertainment we set aside a special play corner filled with toys. We also had a photobooth set up so they can take home an extra keepsake. A special wishing corner was set up asking guests what they would hope for our son in his grand adventure of life. We also made sure that our guests didn’t leave empty handed, providing take-away Nijntje boxes to fill up with sweets on their way home.
And truth be told, it was a great experience in design & event planning for me. I really love celebrating life and making all the pieces come together. While I am a bit disappointed that I won’t be able to throw another birthday extravaganza for my two year old birthday boy, I’m still looking forward to making memories on his special birthday weekend. Stay tuned for what we did with our blossoming toddler.
Photography: Melody Rae Photography | Cake & Sweets: Sweettoot | Birthday Stationery: Alex Tebow Designs | Birthday Banners, suitcases, props: Dille & Kamille | Catering: Kimara Party Catering
Venue: Centraal Museum Utrecht | Church: Chapel at Saint Catherine’s Cathedral