Happy Lunar New Year! It’s been a minute since I’ve last blogged, and what better way to revive this ol’ journal than with Dylan’s 1st birthday that was held last month~ She’s been a special addition to our family–we like to call her our sweet surprise. If you’ve been following me via Instagram, I’m sure you know by now that she wasn’t the easiest baby to carry but her presence in our lives have taught us so much about having faith and learning to trust God in ALL things. If any of you are on the fence of making the jump from two to three, I highly recommend it!! 😀
The concept of Dylan’s 1st birthday was birthed with her older sister, Devyn while I was planning her dohl back in 2015. Being a Korean-American, I had grown up doing Korean Traditional Dance from fans to knives to drums to the 3-drums (my personal fave) and even spent some time in Korea teaching English, so I’ve always had a personal affinity and connection towards the Korean culture. I wanted to pay homage to our Korean heritage but decided not to, and totally regretted it after seeing it trend (the downside of being an event planner!). I knew if I ever had another daughter, I would design and style it incorporating our Korean culture with a fun and modern twist – a Korean theme park and so, Dylan’s Magical Kingdom was born!
Michelle of From the Bear created these custom illustrations of Dylan and her animal companions, which included her bunny that she took monthly photos with and Korean inspired characters like the hybrid tiger of Seoul & Winter Olympics + baby chick as a nod to her being born in the year of the Rooster. Hannah of Paper Haven Ink took these amazing images and created all the lovely paper goods from the invites to doljabi sign and other amazing stationery. Special shoutout to Jean for gifting us with the cutest little buttons as favors for our guests~
As guests entered Dylan’s Magical Kingdom, they were greeted with the traditional doljabi table, a fun game where the birthday girl picks an item to predict what she will be in the future. We decided to mix and match traditional with modern. Guests were able to predict what they thought Dylan would choose from a clipboard as an event planner, a chalk/chalkboard as a professor, a golf ball as an athlete, money for wealth, and a globe to be a world traveler.
We brought in the most amazing vendors to create a spin-off of Seoul’s famous night life with Dylan’s Day Market! Seoul Street Co. catered modern Korean street food with bulgogi sliders, bulgogi fries (my personal fave), kimchi fried rice, and spicy rice cakes. They seriously went above and beyond by creating a special off menu for the older Korean adults with a more traditional meal and a super kid friendly meal of bulgogi sliders and a yummy mac salad! Mai of Petit Sweets fried mochi donuts on the spot and we even had a coffee bar for our guests because we all know how much I love my iced coffees!
Heading down to Seoul Street, to the head table where its concept was inspired by a Korean traditional “madang,” or yard. With the help of some friends who happened to be traveling to Korea, we were able to source Korean hanbok fabric and use it as an installation to mimic a Korean traditional yard with shades made of straw mats hung to keep the heat away. I also wanted to honor our Korean-American cultures by displaying Dylan’s English name and Korean name side by side. Hannah of Paper Haven Ink did an incredible job, per usual in designing and laser-cutting all the wooden borders, names, in addition to the paper goods! She is not just one of the sweetest and giving of her time/talents, but truly THE best in the business and so thankful to have known her for all these years!!
The florals and desserts itself deserve its own post and Jina of DeFlora who provided the most beautiful florals and #teamsweetleemade did such an amazing job! I mean, look at that floral installation!! From the matching hand painted silver florals to match the floral stamping on Dylan’s custom hanbok to the traditional Korean desserts made by Angela of Candy Apple Cakes and the sweetest vendor from Rice Cake USA to the paddle bars with butterfly detailing, everything was too beautiful to eat! Jina and Cindy, thank you so much for always going above and beyond!
I spy bojagi made from yours truly from a workshop I attended with Nossi Bojagi!
3-tiered traditional rice cake that resembled a modern naked cake. Look at the floral piping and details!
Of course we had to incorporate a fun little kid’s area to keep the little ones entertained~ Photobooth designed by Clara Choi using the custom illustrations by From the Bear, Balloon Install by the amazing ladies of Oh Shiny Paper Co.!, and the cutest cut-outs hand cut by Hannah of Paper Haven Ink. If you’re in the Pasadena/SGV area and are in need of the cutest party supplies to balloons to tassels, you must check out Oh Shiny Paper Co.!
Play Doh Palace & Slime City for kid’s entertainment + personalized t-shirts for the lil’ ones
Getting ready for the doljabi! Dylan’s custom hanbok was gifted by Grandma and Grandpa Ahn from Onsemero Hanbok in Glendale, CA. If you’re looking for a baby’s hanbok, check out their shop!! I had so much fun working with Yoon in creating this heirloom that will be treasured forever!! My own hanbok was rented from Leehwa Wedding, and was later purchased because I loved it so much!! I loved how it complimented Dylan’s without being super matchy.
After contemplating long and hard, Dylan finally chose the chalk/chalkboard aka introducing the future Professor Chong!
Another outfit change with the cutest, modern hanbok from Petals for Tasi! I’m a bit sad that she didn’t enjoy her first cake as much as I thought she would. If you follow my husband and his mukbangs with Dylan, you know how much she loves to eat but she was pretty pooped by the end of her party~ 😀
My dear friend and colleague, Caroline took these photos from Dylan’s 1st birthday and I know I will treasure them for years to come~ Thank you to ALL the amazing vendors and friends who contributed to making Dylan’s 1st birthday so special for our family!!
We can’t thank our family and friends enough for all the love and support you have shown us throughout the years~ It takes a village, and in our case-a tribe of people that speak into our lives who help us through the good times and bad. We are blessed beyond measure~
Cakes & Paddle Bars: @sweetleemade
Rice cake & rice cupcakes: @candyapple_cakes
Mother’s Hanbok: @leehwawedding
Baby’s Hanbok: @onsemero_hanbok
Stationery & Lasercut: @paperhavenink
Custom Illustrations: @fromthebear
Rentals & Linens: @mtb_event_rentals
Styling, Design, & Coordination: @janeevents
MVPs: @dwejikim @jkimburbank @farahfong Button Favors by @jeenlea Photobooth Backdrop by @claraechoi Coffee Bar by @brian8291 @timsternater Esther & Sung
J Team Assists: @lisaykim @melissaacho MLoh