Collette’s 1st Birthday Party

| Personal, Story

I didn’t think Collette could get any cuter! But now that I’ve seen my beautiful 1-year old enjoying her cake, I realize that she can! In fact, she might be the cutest thing in the entire world!

Today marks Collette’s first birthday, a special day for my husband and I.

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, we were blessed with the best present that God can give. The past year has been so magical, crazy, overwhelming, joyful, and emotional.

Collette has given my life meaning and inspired me in so many ways. My husband and I always ask each other what life was like before Collette, because it’s hard to imagine our lives without her!

This past weekend, I hosted a birthday party for Collette with my close family and friends. I am Armenian so our “intimate” parties are larger than life. Close family and friends is usually around 100 people! If you guys know me, I like to go big for my parties. I always like to have a fun unique theme and build the party around it.

For Collette’s first birthday, I got inspired by an Instagram post that actress Sofia Vergara had posted over the summer. She was celebrating her birthday with a Dolce and Gabbana Lemon themed bash. I fell in love with the idea and got inspired to throw Collette her very own lemon themed party!

The planning started with the dress, I was so excited to get my hands on a mommy-and-me matching lemon D&G dress. I couldn’t get a hold of the D&G crowns, but my good friend at Clutch Crowns sent over some amazing gold metal crowns for me and Collette. Unfortunately, Collette kept pulling her crown off, so we couldn’t get any photos of her with it, but hey — that’s a 1-year old for you!

Once I had the dress & crown, the planning process began with my amazing planner Lisa Shahinian from Lisa always takes my crazy ideas to the next level. For an unorganized person like myself, it’s great having Lisa by my side because she is so detailed oriented and super organized. Lisa and my childhood friend Saco Sarkissian are the absolute dream team!

Saco owns Petals LA and worked day and night to bring my vision to life. He also likes to spice up my ideas and give it a life on its own. I had told Saco about a restaurant in Capri, Italy that is truly magical. The restaurant is called Paolin and boasts over hundreds of lemon trees where people dine under. Saco made me feel like I was in Capri for the afternoon with his work. From the table settings to the cake art display, it truly felt like we were throwing this party in Italy!

When throwing a party, I always like to start the mood for my guests by sending the perfect invite. My good friend Shen Swaidan started her invitation company Codeau Creative (@codeaucreative) and created this beautiful invite, which could be used as a scarf. The invite set the mood for my guests for what they can expect — sipping rose under the lemon tree!

For the cakes, Saco and Lisa wanted to create a fun display in front of the lemon wall backdrop. The cakes were created by Sweet Escape by Seda Ash ( There was a lot of work that went into the cakes, as each cake had lemons hand painted on it. My cousin Aza from Cookie Print Shop @cookieprintshop created the beautiful lemon sugar cookies, which were so delicious!

For the lunch portion of the party, I decided to do Italian food (Mama Mia!) to go with the theme. I had 17 events and catering do the food, which was so delicious and kept my guests very happy. I also had a fun photo booth set up by Fun Zone Photo-Booth, to have my guests excited. I am always excited to take photos with my friends at any event where there is a photo booth in place!

In order to really create the “LA DOLCE VITA” atmosphere, I had High Class DJ, play Italian music. In my opinion, when throwing a party, the music sets the mood. The lemon trees surrounding the rustic furniture definitely added to the Italian villa vibe. Rental Avenue Rentals ( was a big help, creating that Italian backyard with the furniture and plate settings. My planner Lisa wanted to add metal white furniture around the cake area to really add that Italian setting. She worked with Revelry Event Designers ( to make that happen. Since we were going to have a lot of kids at the house, we decided to cover the pool for safety and to make more space. CMC rentals (cmc party rentals) was a very big help in doing that and very affordable.

When it came to getting gifts, I was in complete shock when my good friend, fashion designer Michael Costello, gave me a box with a beautiful custom gown he created for Collette. I almost cried because I couldn’t believe how beautiful the gown was! It was special getting this gown because Collette was Michael’s model for his NYC fashion show back in September. I can’t wait for Collette to wear this gown. Thank you Michael and Jen Costello, you two are amazing friends!

They say the first birthdays are for the parents, and I believe that saying is very true. The first birthday for any baby is a celebration. It take a village to raise a baby, with the comfort and support of close family and friends. It also is a day for parents to celebrate a crazy year of new lessons — especially new parents like myself.

Happy first birthday to my beautiful baby girl Collette. I know you may be too young to remember this day, but I want you know how much you are loved!

Hope you guys enjoyed my post and I look forward to reading all your comments.

A big thank you to Mher Vahak Photo for the amazing pictures!