The more I study parties, the more I realize that I prefer things simple... simple as in gorgeous. If you have good taste and use the right colors (which is the art of it all), you don't need all the bells and whistles. Case in point: Linda Ly's Anthropologie-themed 1st Birthday party for her darling daughter. A beautiful party for a beautiful occasion.
(A gorgeous backdrop doesn't hurt either)
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PC: Kara's Party Ideas, Z Gallerie