If you live in Hawaii, YOU KNOW. The baby lū’au can be just as (if not more) involved than your wedding day! So taking on Waipuna’s was no easy feat. Here, I will detail what our program was like, show you the decoration elements, activities and personal touches that made our baby lū’au a great success! (To read how the day actually went click HERE for my blog)
Our “personal touches” came about organically. We re-used a bunch of decoration elements from our wedding and Jackson’s baby lū’au. Card box, decor elements, chalkboard signs… and more – all reused! I really wanted to have a photo taking prop at Wai’s party and I wanted to have some “meaning” to it. So, we chose a shark and a hula doll. The shark represented Waipuna’s ʻaumakua and the doll represented her middle name “Laaba” (Blog: What’s in a name: Waipuna Laaba Abigail Judd). I was the idea person and Kaimi executed.
He drew it and cut the plywood, then painted. I got the 3D elements and secured them to the photo board. LOVE.
The coolest thing that came out of the photo board though wasn’t the photos, but instead an idea. We decided to write chalkboard signs with little “fun facts” about Waipuna’s family. We wanted to be sure to pay homage to each branch of the family.
On the Hawaiian side we shared about Waipuna’s ‘aumakua – the shark and the owl. The shark was in the photo board and Kaimi drew the owl on a canvas so that people could leave their fingerprint – both “signing in” and creating a piece of art for Waipuna’s bedroom wall. We did one for Jackson on his first birthday too. That way they can see who was there and left their mark.
Other fun facts? The Reeves ‘ohana lives in Kuliouou on Oahu and they hold the “Kuliouou Olympics” each year. Waipuna’s ancestors were British Royalty (for a week). Keanu Reeves is Waipuna’s cousin. Waipuna’s great-great grandmother named the Mai Tai. Waipuna was named with three strong women in mind: Laaba, Abigail and Sarah. Waipuna’s great-great grandfather was one of the founders of Kapiolani Hospital. Waipuna’s great-grandparents were in an arranged marriage. INTERESTING right??
Our families have so much history and so many amazing stories to tell that it was hard to pick just one… I decided to have a few family members help me out (last minute – this was a super last minute idea) by writing a one page document delving deeper into these family stories. I printed them out and put them in five red folders on the tables and put stickers on them that spelled “Read Me.” Total hit.
We wanted to “go back in time” so I ordered a bunch of games from small kid time: Chinese jump rope, chinese jacks, pick up sticks, checkers and jenga – some of them in the “giant” form. The pick up sticks ended up becoming projectiles so I wouldn’t recommend those for parties with children under 5!
I also decided to make Waipuna’s tutus. One for the day and one for her to get dirty in her “cake smash” photo. Here’s a “tutu-orial” on how to make a super cute no-sew tutu Waipuna is the cutest model! Waipuna’s pink bikini is a Kimi & Li Bikini. Our matching olive green/gray outfits were San Lorenzo Bikinis.
I also hired a local maui mommy, Andrea Sisouvong of Petit Soleil Maui, to make Waipuna and I matching lei po’o for the party. She did such a great job! I would recommend her to anyone! Here is a link to her social media profile.
The centerpieces were simple but also held a little bit of meaning. We got glass bowls, filled them with sand from Maluaka Beach (which we later returned) and put shells and little foam sea creatures in them. Tutu made cute little sea creature signs that were colored, laminated and taped to chopsticks which we used at Jackson’s Baby Lū’au so it was really sweet to see them in the centerpieces at WaiWai’s party too.
A friend of mine also made a chalkboard sign with a bunch of Waipuna’s stats on it. Height, weight, favorite foods, number of teeth, size clothing she wears and even a little drawing of an owl (WaiWai’s ‘aumakua).
Okay, so I think those were all of the personal elements at the party. I’m writing this all out because (1) it’s cool to have a record of it and the thought that went into it for Wai to read about some day, but (2) I really wish I had a blog like this to read and give me ideas for my party before I had my party. LOL Soooo, I’ll list our vendors below and provide you with links, I’ll give you a bit of a timeline and I’ll give you a list of the ‘stuff’ we needed to make it all happen and links on where to get the stuff. Hope some of this can be helpful to you as you plan your baby party!
We got our bouncy castle from Party Zone Maui. Also highly recommend them! We paid $175 for a 6-hour rental and they are super flexible. I think we ended up with the thing for much longer than the 6 hours in the end. They are also really nice. We’ve used them three or four times in the past and never been disappointed. They are a local company and you can also get balloon twisting services, face painting, photo booths and of course all types of bouncy castles (wet or dry). Check em out! Here’s the link.
I cannot say enough good things about Chris Cabotage. First of all, I love working with him for Maui Now… so maybe I shouldn’t hype him up too much or he might not be available for my next shoot! lol He is AMAZING. He has an amazing work ethic, he has professional equipment that’s top of the line (including drones), he has amazing editing skills and a great eye. He moved around the party and was hardly perceptible yet got every shot I could have ever wanted. I remember thinking “Aw man, I should have told Chris to get the cake smash from Waipuna’s back looking out at all of our reactions.” Then, I got the video today – and he did! His edit MADE ME CRY – happy tears. Seriously though, highly recommend. Here’s the link to his website. You can see him in action below or visit my blog “Waipuna’s PERFECT Baby Lū’au” (click HERE) to watch his amazing edit from WaiWai’s party!
Tenessa Cavitt did our “cake smash” photos and they are RIDICULOUSLY CUTE. She didn’t miss a moment of the incredibly adorable “smashing” of the cake. Great resolution and composition. Really captured the moments that I wanted to cherish forever. Tenessa has the most amazing, gentle, sweet demeanor too. She’s never pushy and always makes you feel like you’re super special. Tenessa also did our newborn photos for Waipuna so this was a nice full circle moment for us too when we brought Waipuna’s newborn photo out to do a “before and after” shot with the canvas. Here’s a link to her website. There she is in action (below) in the pretty purple dress. And below that a photo she took at the Cake Smash. More of her images can be seen at my blog “Cake Smash Success: Everything You Need!”
We were very lucky to have three professional musicians at our party! Truly, one of the best types of gifts. Jarret Roback is Kaimi’s cousin and he plays regularly at Monkeypod in Wailea and at Leilani’s in Lahaina. Joe Chee plays at the Montage and the Lahaina Pizza Company. Chase Cavitt plays events all the time as well. Let me know if you ever want to hire one of them and I’ll get you in touch!
Timeline Elements to Consider
Set up / Decorations
Pupu / Cocktail hour
Games / Activities
Lū’au (Lunch or Dinner)
List of “Stuff”
(Purchasing links for some – just click on the images for a direct link to Amazon – if you’re seeing question marks – just click on the question mark for a direct link to the item)
Giant Jenga ($99)
Giant Checkers ($15)
Giant Pick up Sticks ($27)
Chinese Jacks ($4 on eBay)
Chinese Jump Rope ($6.99)
Board Games ($15)
Sandbags (6-pack for $24)
Arrow Signs -Got mine at Walmart for a lot cheaper than what’s at the link
Chalkboard Signs for Food – Linked to similar on Walmart.com – Got mine at Ben Franklin for super cheap
Chalkboard Pens – One thick and one thin ($8)
Ink Pad ($6)
Card Box (Made my own using these boxes) ($13)
Party Favors (I bought cookies and printed a wallet sized photo of Wai to package together)
Decorative Net ($6)
Mesh Ribbon ($13.99)
Happy Birthday Sign ($4.32)
Canoe used as ice box / cooler