A Princess of Play-Doh Coronation (E.V.’s 4th Birthday)

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When I describe this particular party, I can’t help but grin. It’s SO NOT me, but is SO Emma Vance.

A while back, Ryan and I were talking about our girls’ party themes, and we began to talk about the inevitability of having to do a princess party. I felt exasperated at the thought — I never can seem to be satisfied with a normal theme — but as we talked, Ryan came up with a fabulous angle:

“What if we held a coronation?”

Yes! I immediately began to envision a princess coronation (not the Elsa type), and as E.V.’s obsession with Princess Play-Doh grew, my vision began to come into focus. We would have a Princess Play-Doh Coronation. Yassss!

*What is “Princess Play-Doh,” you ask? Well, if you’re a mother to a screen-watching preschool girl, you already know, but for everyone else out there: Princess Play-Doh is a genre of YouTube video (related to the Unboxing genre) involving making Play-Doh dresses for Magiclips (small Disney princess dolls), opening blind bags of Shopkins and the like, breaking Kinder Eggs, and so on. It’s insane, but any kid who sees these videos is instantly obsessed. And any parent is instantly annoyed, haha!*

My usual party angles lean more toward the sophisticated end of things instead of the young-and-fun end. For this party, though, I fought my inner monologue in order to truly embrace the heart of Princess Play-Doh: The colors were as BRIGHT as could be, the motifs were hand-drawn gems and unicorns, and the style was just about as fun and funky as I could manage. ;)

So we set out to crown Emma Vance the rightful Princess of Play-Doh. I stuffed Shopkins into Play-Doh containers; made more homemade play dough than imaginable and housed it in jars topped with Disney princesses; embraced pinks and yellow and neons like I never thought I would; dip-dyed and hand-painted a castle backdrop; prepped paper unicorns and golden crowns to be crafted; risked letting tiny guests dig into paint to create a one-of-a-kind cardboard castle for our princess; stuffed a unicorn piñata to the brim with sweets; chalked our front walkway with gems; engulfed a Goodwill chair in rolls of hot pink velvet and a cloud of gold spray paint until it emerged a throne fit for a preschool girl; convinced our teenage babysitter to dress up as Belle to officially crown Emma Vance; and decorated a cake with everything a preschool sugar addict could ever dream of…yeah, you could say I embraced this theme whole-heartedly!

Speaking of E.V.’s cake…It was HOT out. Like melt-your-face-off hot. We tried to make our backyard as enjoyable as possible with fans and misters and shade over the kiddie areas, but summer in Georgia is just miserable. Unfortunately the cake did a bit of melting in the Southern heat, making it lean a little this way and that, but the odd angle just added to the narrative of our funky theme. (Or so I’m telling myself!) In fact, I can’t complain much because I originally planned on making it a drip cake, but I decided (about 30 seconds after ruining my hot pink ganache beyond repair) that a buttercream top would do just fine. If my original plan had worked out, the chocolate topping holding all of my sugary goodies on the cake would’ve surely run and it would’ve been a true disaster! Sometimes mistakes end up working toward your advantage. Plus, our family tradition of letting all the kids grab a fork and dig into the cake kid-style was totally unaffected by its leaning, so it all worked out in the end!

Overall, I think we held a coronation fit for our very own Princess of Play-Doh. And she’s already planning her fifth birthday party…hahaha!

P.S. THANK YOU, as always, to everyone who helped me pull this shindig off: To Wendi and Mike for watching the girls during the long hours of crafting and for setting up our beast of a tent; to our babysitters who wrangled the girls morning of, helped with the Play-Doh-ing during the party, and crowned Emma Vance; to our friend Brandon who shot exactly one billion photos of the event (and stuck around to clean up!); to Alli, who seated alongside of me morning-of; to Meredith who always surprises me with the loveliest florals; to our friends and families who endured the heat to celebrate with us; and, of course, to Ryan for putting up with my harebrained-ness. Y’all rock!
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