Throw an imperfect party & win

* Update- submissions have been closed, thanks to everyone who participated, you are all amazing! Please go HERE to vote for the party of your choice.

Have you been awaiting a reason to do something fun? To stay up all night disco dancing with a lampshade on your head, or maybe cozy up for an evening of scattergories with a few lovely friends? Are you ready to throw a party this winter?

If so you are in good company, starting next week The City Cradle will be hosting our first annual…

Why imperfect? Too many of us choose not to entertain and bless others around because throwing a party SEEMS like way too much work, because our houses aren’t quite clean enough, because we are not cute enough to pull it all together, and of course, because we cannot cook well enough.

This is sad- having a party is about enjoying and blessing our wonderful friends and family, about meeting new ones, and about connecting together. Hosting one doesn’t have to be centered around perfection- It can be lovely, inviting, and fun without draining you of life.

Are you up for the challenge?

Can you think of a group of people to bless, be it 5 or 50? If so participate with us and you can WIN $100 gift card to Anthropologie (usable in person or online).


The contest information

  • This contest will run for 6 weeks and culminate with reader voting the week of March 15.
  • Each week during the event we will be posting a new topic to help you plan your IMPERFECT party- Plan along with us and host your party the week of March 10th.
  • Or submit any other party you are hosting/have hosted within the last 6 months.
  • To submit your party please post a link on the comments of THIS post to your specific party post, or you can email your information to citycradledesign (@) gmail (dot) com by 10pm March 14th. You do not need to have a blog to win.
  • To be entered include 1-5 pictures from your event, a description of the inspiration, and an explanation of one thing that did not turn out quite perfect + you can also include any other important or lovely details.
  • Submissions will close at 10pm March 14th. I will choose five finalist and then a reader vote will decide the grand prize winner.

I look forward to seeing what we can create by stepping out to bless those around us with food, friends, and a little imperfection!

Take the challenge, be imperfect & win something lovely.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted January 21, 2010
Read more from Merrymaking the everyday by

51 Responses to “Throw an imperfect party & win”

  1. Jenna says:

    I’ll be throwing a baby shower, can I enter that into the contest?

  2. […] is the original:¬¨‚Ć The City Cradle ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ Throw an imperfect party & win Tags: all-night, are-running, disco-dancing, few-lovely, manila, markets, past-few, rebounded-very, […]

  3. chelsea says:

    so does something have to “go wrong” at the party. I missed something i think. or are we just posting pictures of a party and then picking a winner of who had the best party?

  4. Vicky says:

    Hi friend.

    Yes, Jenna a baby shower does count:)

    Chelsea, Everything doesn’t have to go wrong, surely that would be sad. However in the entry you do have to share one thing that doesn’t turn out perfectly- just one thing:)

    Happy planning.

  5. Jenna says:

    Alright, well then I guess I need to talk the momma into having her shower in March :). If not, you can bet I’ll be throwing a party, just to enter the contest!

  6. Stacey says:

    I’ve planned two parties in the past 6 months… the first was a “welcome to the world” sort of party for my newest little:
    It was an open house, so people were in and out all day and the excitement was too much for my 4 yr old to take a nap. So she stayed up and consequently had a screaming kicking hissy fit right in the middle of it while all of our friends watched because her grandfather who came from IL for the party asked her if he could help her blow up her floating ring for the pool… she wanted to do it herself.
    The 2nd party was for the fit throwing child’s birthday a month later (I shouldn’t refer to her like that, she really is lovely the vast majority of the time): Having this party hosted and the food done for us made it go off pretty much without a hitch, except that I did have a guest show up really late… I felt bad that she missed part of the party, but I wasn’t going to hold everything up for her. That may not be proper party etiquette, but I didn’t think it would be right to make the other guests who were kind enough to be on time wait.

  7. Tiffany says:

    Most recently we had a housewarming party. My husband and I just moved into our very first home together at the end of November and we were so excited to finally be able to show it off to friends and family. It was New Years weekend when we did the party. I didn’t get shots of the food, but here is the house itself. As you can see, we have a lot of work yet to do. Here is our menu. Despite the fact that it had been beautiful and in the 60s the week prior the temp plummeted to the teens by the day of the party. My broccoli tree did not make it–imagine styrafoam cone, covered in saran and skewered with broccoli florets, dressed with tiny little carrot pieces, cherry tomatoes for bulbs and cheese cut into miniature stars for decoration and the tree topper. Of course none of my guest knew that I had to ditch it because my toothpicks were not sturdy enough.

  8. megs says:

    I’m so excited! I can’t wait to do this. HOORAY!

  9. […] hardy thanks for everyone who has already sent in parties for the chance to win $100. I have gotten many recent emails with amazingly creative ideas and pictures. I plan to begin […]

  10. Aurora says:

    I recently threw an owl themed birthday party for my daughters 2nd birthday – Look Whooooo’s Turning Two!
    Here is a link to my blog post about it:
    Let’s see, what went wrong…
    1) I ran out of time and didn’t get to make the cute owl cookie favors I had planned on making
    2) I was getting dressed & putting on make-up as the guests began to arrive
    3) my daughter threw-up ALL over the floor as the guests were leaving!! Apparently she had picked up a virus because she was sick for several days after that (along with my husband and Dad…luckily no one else got it!)

  11. I threw a party that I must say was one of my favorites.Monkey theme party
    Here is the link:

    What went wrong:
    1.More children showed up than expected..always plan for more!
    2.They wanted to play a lot more games…always have theme music to dance!
    3.Better than gift bags?…custom T-shirts,I always give them and kids love it!
    Thanks for considering my party!

  12. Hey there…I have thrown 2 parties in the past six months. The first was my daughter’s Miss Spider Sunny Patch party. You can see it here:

    I actually was pretty proud of this party, the only thing I wish I would have done different is have it at the old Dutch Barn in my neighborhood, but it wasn’t condusive to a bunch of 2 year-olds. It had also rained that day, so my outdoor activities had to come inside.

    My 2nd party was my other daughter’s High School Musical Party. The budget was a little bit more limited with this one, but I think it still came out cute. See it here:

    Thanks for letting me know about the contest!


    Here’s the run down of my pirate party. I think I explain in the post, how rain, and running out of time, altered my plans, especially for the boats and the cannonball battle. The boys had a great time anyway, even if the boats were cardboard with duct tape showing.

  14. Dawn says:

    I’m sharing a 1st birthday – Down On The Farm Party for a dear friend.

    I’m a very high strung hostess and want every situation to go smoothly because I want everyone to have a great time, which causes me to stress over the little things. Hanging up the barn backdrop smoothly without the lumps and bumps of the tape showing drove me bananas; it was late at night and I was exhausted since she lives a few hours from me. The next day it was totally (only slightly, according to my friend) crooked and that’s all I could think about! :) The party was so much fun, but that crooked barn…my problem is accepting the imperfections because the goal is always reached, everyone had a blast!

  15. Dawn says:

    My Stop, Drop & Roll party…

    The weather was gorgeous, but that’s all I cared about since we were doing our firefighter relay outside…we live in the Seattle area and planning an outdoor party is risky.

  16. My daughter’s 1st birthday was in November. It was a Pink & Green Ladybug theme, which goes right along with her nickname “Lilybug”.

    Here is the link to all details:

    The one thing that went wrong was I could not get her highchair decorated as I had envisioned in my mind & on paper, but it still turned out cute and only I knew it was not 100%.

  17. Stefanie says:


    We did a crown theme for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party. She loves dress up so what better way to help her celebrate but to have a dress up party. Her favorite colors are pink and blue so I tried to incorporate crown, pink and blue throughout the decor. Most everything was hand made by me.

    The one imperfect moment was when we were singing her happy birthday and I forgot to put the crown I made on for her. We had to get pictures after the fact.

    The shirt was purchased here on etsy:

  18. Kristen says:

    Thank you for commenting and letting me know about this giveaway!

    I’m going to share with you my Son’s First Birthday party, themed “As Cute As A Button”. It was so simple and so easy, but very lovely too. And of course, not perfect!

  19. Mariela Jane says:

    I am going to share my daughters 2nd birthday SPLASH Bash!!! Her birthday is in July and we live in Miami…so we decided to have a SPLASH Bash were all the kids would be able to participate in water activites and enjoy the pool…the event was great BUT….it RAINED :( so we moved everything inside….luckily we have a bedroom converted into a playroom so the kids had a space to play anyways….overall the party was lots of FUN and the kids loved it…Enjoy:)

  20. Mariela Jane says:

    The latest party that I did was a retirement party for an educator at our school after 36 years of service…Her favorite colors are brown and beige and she loves children…I really tried to incorporate everything she loves…I think everything turned out great…keeping in mind that I was working with a school budget…so you know what that mean- very LITTLE money!!!

    The retiree was very happy and the whole faculty and staff really enjoyed themselves :)

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

  21. Clau! says:



    I had a party last november, my B-day party, you can see the complete information here:

    The bad thing that hapenned was that not all my friends were there :( I expect more people at the end we were just few but anyways we have fun ;)

  22. Joy says:

    I threw a cupcake party for my daughters 1st birthday.

    The bad thing was I forgot to put the party hats together, I forgot the games for kids to play!!! we were so busy with the pinata and cupcake decorating that games werent on my mind! Also i made my daughter a birthday tutu…she threw up on it after 20 mins of wearing it!!! good thing tho is i took pictures brfore it happened!!! =)

  23. Lei says:

    Hey, thanks so much for the invitation. This looks about right for my non-usage-of-cricuts birthday party! ;)

  24. Monique says:

    Ok, my party was my sons 3rd bithday. I was a great feb day and it may have seemed that all was perfect but, I could not make the animal shaped cookies look like actual animals( not much of a cook or baker), the photo wall was great but could not find film for my poloroid camera at the last min. So the kids did not get their pictures on the spot. Last, some of the animals for the cake fell of on the 45 min ride home. The baker gave mr extra icing just in case this happened, but for me to have to do this, come on you read imperfection number 1. As I look back at the pictures of the cake all I can see is the big glob of icing behind the monkey:-(.

  25. Susan says:

    this sounds like a lot of fun! Here is my party i did last year for my nieces birthday!

    Thank You

  26. Allison says:

    I did a candyland theme party for my little girls 1st birthday. My inspiration came from my love of candy and a candyland party I saw on hostess with the mostess blog. I spent weeks making all the decorations and the party turned out great! The weather is what made this party imperfect. I had rented a bounce house for the backyard and it turned out to be a freezing cold and rainy day so the kids didn’t really get to enjoy the outside activities.

  27. Andrea says:

    I had a candyland theme for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. I had lots of fun planning a got lots of inspiration from Jenn (HWTM).

  28. Liz says:
    This is my sons 1st birthday party. He adores Elmo.
    We live in NY and my sons birthday is November 11, we have a very small apartment and it wasn’t possible to throw the party outdoors, so we had it in our living room!
    We barely had enough seats, people were sitting on the floor, and I planned the party a bit too late and had to put the birthday boy to bed because he started to get cranky! oops!
    I love how his party turned out, everyone was happy, we had good food and LOTS of cake and treats. All the cousins had a ball seeing each other and we got to celebrate my sons special day with people we love.
    Thank you for linking me up to this contest!

  29. autumn says:

    i have 2 parties that i would love to submit!

    the first is a lego-themed party that i recently threw for my 6 year old son.
    i would have loved to have the party at my house, but with 15 six year olds, it was just out of the question. so, i held the party at a local “bounce house”. it was very dark in the room, and i had a terrible time getting any good pictures of the actual party set-up. also, i couldn’t put anything in the wall behind the treat table, and so i had to use a tiny bit of tape to hold up the banner. well, it fell down after about 8 minutes, and then the boys ripped it to shreds! after the party, the room looked like it had been hit by a tornado.
    but, at least they had a great time!

  30. autumn says:

    the other party i wanted to submit is the chinese themed birthday party i gave my 8 year old daughter.
    the thing that drove me crazy about this party was that we chose to have it at home…in the house we are currently renting. UGH. it has the ugliest wood bookcases and fireplace that were directly behind where the table was set up…so in all of the wide shots of the party, i have this cute table, with all of the food and cute decorations, and in the background is this hideous brick and brass fireplace. it kinda made all the pictures look like crud.
    also, the “take out box” pinata came out so deformed looking, that i only took pictures of it behind the food. (so it would be a little bit blurry)
    thanks for running this contest!
    what a great idea.

  31. […] in the coming weeks but I’ve changed my mind. There are simply too many amazing parties. Scroll through them here for a massive dose of inspiration. Instead, I will be choosing 5 parties as finalist to showcase […]

  32. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for letting me know about this!

    The party I recently did was for my 3 year old son’s birthday. He loves race cars so he pretty much chose the theme himself by choosing his two favorite NASCAR drivers.

    Some of the things that didn’t go quite as planned … kids freaked and started crying during the “races” I guess there were too many adults watching, the pinata would NOT break open and my son refused to blow out the candles on his cake! But, we all had fun anyways!

  33. Angie says:

    I am entering my daughters 4th birthday party we did Fancy Nancy. I had big plans for this party but was limited on funds. But was happy with how it turned out. One that went imperfect is I forgot some the food in the fridge that I was going to have for the luncheon. Didn’t realize it until I was cleaning up.

  34. chelsea says:

    I just realized my party is going to be march 20th, which would be too late to enter the contest. Oh well, next time. It’s fun looking at the people you sought out to enter your contest though and looking through their blogs! It’s funny hearing the things that went wrong.

    Do you think you guys would be in town on march 20th? Maybe you could help me with the party! I could use your perfect-party-expertise. You’re SO good at that stuff!

  35. Andrea says:

    Hi! I’m here again to show some pictures of a little Valentine party I did.

    Thanks again!

  36. Sarah says:

    I just threw a beautiful vintage tea party for my daughter who just turned 5.i think since i started to plan about 6 months ahead of time i wasnt to stressed about everything although i think we can all agree throwing any party is just a tad stressful no matter what. Well about an hour before the party i realized my helium tank i had been saving to use for her balloons was completly empty(i really thought it was about half full) so no balloons this time
    Also about 2 days before her party the birthday girl got smacked in the eye by her little sister with her cup and got a huge black eye( you will not see in the pictures i posted because i cheated and did alittle photoshop) but i must say it was actually kind of cute because she was all dressed up and had this nice black and blue eye and she had no shame.

  37. […] Only three more weeks until The imperfect Party Challenge voting will begin! I cannot wait to share with you ideas and inspiration from the many wonderful parties that have been entered. There is still time for you to win the $100 Anthropologie gift card as well, enter your party here. […]

  38. Rachel says:

    I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding which will be taking place on April 10th; the other bridesmaids and I just hosted a bridal shower and found ourselves in a VERY imperfect situation when we were locked out of the party location! We had quite the adventure finding a solution and prepping for the party in less than half the time we thought we would have! The whole story involves snow, mud, a telephone call to local law enforcement, and a garage door opener. I couldn’t even make this up! Read all about it here, on my blog: Also check out the first post about the party, which included more information about the theme and the decor, here:

  39. […] Share your imperfect party for a chance to win an Anthropologie gift card. Two weeks left to submit- […]

  40. […] imperfect party challenge has just over a week until completion. I am bursting with excitement to show you the lovely parties […]

  41. Here is a party we just had a few weeks ago for my Son. As with many of the parties from your commenters, it also rained on our party day. I had many outdoor activities planned that we just could not get to. Though the kids had no clue because they were too busy playing. If you also click through in the post about my Lego soap that I made, you can see that one set was supposed to be red, but the die was pink! So, I used red food coloring so that I would have some Red Lego Soaps for the pictures! But I did not give out the Red Lego Soaps because I was afraid it would actually color people’s hands! Again, these are not details that the kids would notice or even cared about! There are always millions of things that go wrong. Thankfully parties don’t stress me out, as I know this is how it goes and I just go with the flow. It was an awesome party!

    We have tons of other parties that we have also thrown within the last 6 months:
    At this party my sister in law saw it as a problem that the super awesome things she made for the party, she was still making when the party started. However, we are a crafty crew and all pitched in and quite enjoyed crafting together! Again, the kids did not even notice. You know these items were hits, when the kids would keep coming up to us to see when there’s would be done. They had so much fun running around with all of their loot! My kids are still playing with theirs!
    For this party I actually made adorable invitations. However, I only ended up making them for my daughter’s friends and ran out of time to finish ones for my family (so they all just got the info by word of mouth!). I did not even save one for her photo album, or to have pictures of! I do have the parts to make one up and am still saying I will do it….one day!

    What a fun challenge!
    Rebecca of the R&W Gals

  42. Leslie says:

    My daughter’s FIRST birthday party! This party was so much fun. I am already planning her SECOND birthday festivities! I love a good party especially for my little “toot”.


  43. Sarah says:

    My daughter’s first birthday was a ballerina theme, chosen because of a cute little outfit that she wore that day. Check out my blog, – the March 7th post for details. (One of the most recent posts) It has more that 5 pictures, but I believe it is a quick read. Thank you for your consideration.

  44. I’d love to enter Charlie’s nautical 1st birthday in your contest! This is a super idea! In my blog post, I talked about having to re-do the boat at the end of the party in order to get a great picture of my kids in it. Also – the boats we spent painting all night didn’t float in the buckets, so I had to use paper instead. Thanks for including me in the contest!

  45. In the last little while I have been asked to cater several weddings for friends. I am by no means a professional but I am very comfortable in the kitchen. the first wedding misshap: I forgot a bottle opener, some how that did not get into my perfect plan. We had guests trying to open their bottles of sparkling cider with everything from leatherman tools to garden shears. and this all had to be done while everyone was seated and could not start the toasts until every bottle had been opened.

    The second wedding misshap: try catering an event where there is no running water or utensils, and I had just moved out of my home the day before and was no where near prepared for this event when it was dropped in my lap. plus the people delivering the food got lost and were over an hour and a half late to the reception. I thought that was going to end in divorce, turns out not only did they get lost they ran out of gas.

    I throw tons of baby showers, parties, bridal, and wedding showers, and lots of girls nights out. I have catered tons of luncheons and events for our church ladies. all of it is free of charge and without compensation but there is always something that goes wrong. some are very minor and others are huge. the key is in your flexibility! and realizing that the guests won’t know that something is not quite right or the the way you wanted it to be, if you don’t let on.

  46. Whew – I almost missed the deadline!

    This is my daughter’s 4th birthday party… A Nutcracker “Sweet!” Mishaps…. well, 2 of them involved the same little girl. Lesson #1 – kids move thru activities at warp speed. After painting wooden nutcrackers and decorating cookies in record time, the kids went outside to play while we waited on the main event (I should have had Santa planned to come EARLIER!!)

    Suddenly there are tears… a girl (a preschool friend) went down the slide backwards and hit her chin on the bottom of the slide. Her mother glares at me, as if I pushed her down the slide myself. (I considered handing her a hot toddy out of the mom’s crockpot… the kids’ crockpot had hot choc in it!)

    An hour after the party, I get a phone call… same mother. Her daughter had somehow EATEN the nutcracker and ballet slipper SOAPS that were in the kids’ favor bags. The soaps that were wrapped so they were impossible to get into without the help of parents. The soaps that were clearly labeled SOAP. Thank goodness they weren’t toxic!

    Every party has it’s mishaps… but I still love to throw as many parties as I can find time for!

    I would LOVE to be a finalist – thanks so much for letting me know about this contest!

  47. […] You only have two more days to enter the imperfect party challenge. Voting starts next week! var linkwithin_site_id = 19614; (function () { var elem = […]

  48. Stefanie says:

    I recently hosted a Sweet Soiree dinner party for a few of my girl friends. Hope to turn it into an annual event every February. One of my favorite months. Tried to incorporate Valentine’s Day red, hearts, black and damask. Most items were made by me with the help of a few etsy shops.

    Imperfect – almost running out of time. I was still working on decor right up until the first doorbell ring.

  49. […] Thanks so much to everyone who sent in parties and participated in our first ever party challenge. We had over 50 parties entered in the contest. There were of course MANY other worthy parties beyond what I am able to present- you can scroll through all of the designs @ The imperfect Party Challenge comment section. […]

  50. […] to the last day of our Imperfect Party Challenge finals. It has been a blessing for me to share with you these six amazing parties. Keep voting […]