You may have seen a lot of Bodhi’s second birthday party over on Style Me Pretty Living last week. I was thrilled and a bit surprised when our amazing photographer Melissa texted me saying it was there. I wasn’t ready to share here yet because frankly, putting all of these photos on here takes a lot of time.

But today, I’m SO excited to share Bodhi’s dessert table with you. I kept everything very affordable this year thanks to a lot of do-it-yourself party planning fun. From DIY cake pop sticks, garland and the canvas backdrop to the very affordable Joe Joe cookie tower, I was working hard to make this budget friendly for us and anyone who might want to replicate ideas. All photos were taken by the fabulous Melissa Oholendt Photography. Enjoy!As always, the dessert table was my favorite detail, so I’m starting there. I’m only breaking this into three parts to save myself some time and to actually get it out there. I’ll share the kids tables, photo booth and a few details later this week and will end with food and drinks.

I used black and white with shades of green, metallic silver and wood as my color palette. I’ll explain how I got this combo later on.

The cake was decorated very simply and was ordered from Whole Foods. It was $15.99. I made the cake topper with scrapbook paper, baker’s twine and paper straws. My husband made the cow candle holder like the ones Jenny from Hank + Hunt made for The Sweetest Occasion.

Oh you guys! These cow cake pops were B’s favorite thing ever. I love how quirky and fun they turned out. Shelby from Shelby’s Bakeshop here in the Twin Cities was FANTASTIC to work with. She was willing to try anything and even delivered these to my door.

All of the signs and buffet labels were designed by my FAVORITE lady Shannon of Grace + Guy Paperie. She did a great job incorporating my ideas and keeping them simple. I knew I wanted a cow silhouette and I knew I wanted stripes.

I added thick ribbon to the balloon bouquet. I loved the way the balloons made the dessert table less symmetrical, but still pulled everything together.

The striped backdrop was another ribbon version, similar to last year, but different enough that you might not notice. Plus it’s on a canvas, so that changes it up a bit. I’ll talk more about that another day as I found a much less expensive option but it was too late to change it out. Such an easy way to make a statement.

A cookie tower is and was the easiest thing ever plus it’s ridiculously cheap AND it goes a long way in feeding hungry little ones dessert when you might not want to spend a ton on desserts.

Bodhi has been in love with cows for a long time now as you might remember from this post. Every time I asked him what he wanted for his birthday party he said “a cow party” and that had me stuck.

My style is definitely on the modern side and the idea of a farm party wasn’t very attractive to me even though they can be very cute. And it seems that any and all inspiration related to cows is a farm party. I tried to find other themes I could go with for months until I realized I could take this cow party idea to a new level-something completely different and make my son a very happy birthday boy.

I found inspiration in animal themed parties like owls and fox because people easily make those animals work, but no one has done just cows!

When reading bedtime stories to my son months ago, I realized that one of his favorite books is The Story of Ferdinand. It’s about a cow who loves to sit under a tree and smell flowers. He’s a very peaceful cow. I realized quickly that this book had to be a big part of the party. A lot of my inspiration came from that. The book is quite old and is black and white. My grandma actually remembers reading it as a kid.

The book has a lot of mentions of the cow sitting under a tree and smelling flowers so I decided to use unfinished wood throughout the party, topiary trees and plants to add a natural element to my otherwise, very modern style.

The black, white, shades of green, metallic silver and wood color palette was so much fun to work with and gave me a lot of flexibility to use items we had around or that my friends had.

I decided to go with black and white to match cows spots and added in greens because I thought it would be a bit unexpected and would work well with some natural elements like plants and trees that I wanted to incorporate.

The following is a list of things we had on hand that I was able to reuse. I highly recommend looking through your house for things you can use. Yes!

  • Kids chairs and tables
  • Platters and cake stands
  • Gallery wall frames
  • Ikea frames for signage
  • Backdrop canvas
  • Paper lanterns-I bought these earlier this year to add to Bodhi’s lantern cluster in his room but saved them to use for the birthday party first.
  • Some of the cows were Bodhi’s.

Party Highlights

  • Kids tables with DIY table runners and topiary tree centerpieces with a cow underneath-this is a nod to the book The Story of Ferdinand.
  • Dessert table loaded with goodness including cow cake pops, milk bottles, birthday cake with a fun DIY topper and cow birthday candle and Trader Joe’s version of Oreos which is a very budget-friendly option and so easy, plus it fit the color scheme well.
  • DIY garland galore-on chairs, on the dessert table, everywhere.
  • The cow and party-themed gallery wall which was possible because we have absolutely no art in our formal dining room yet.
  • The GIANT Yippee sign that greeted guests when they walked in the door. Several people commented that just seeing the word “yippee” made them happy.
  • Lots of kids chairs everywhere to make it clear that this party was for them.
  • Story time with my mom and all of the kids opened their party favors. The favors were one of Bodhi’s favorite books-The Story of Ferdinand. It is about a cow, of course!
  • A mini photo booth with fun props and a cute black and white polka dot backdrop made with a wrapping paper cardboard roll, hot glue, a piece of ribbon and Ikea fabric.
  • Plants throughout the party-from topiary trees to flower pots to some basic plants, we tried to infuse the party with some pretty natural elements.
  • Silver cows everywhere.
  • Cute party favors wrapped in kraft paper and finished with a thick ribbon and simple cow silhouette placed in Ikea picture ledges.

Resources and vendor credits 

Event styling: Jessica Flannigan of
Photography: Melissa Oholendt Photography
Paper products: Grace & Guy Paperie
Yippee signs: Paging Supermom
Dessert table backdrop-canvas with black ribbon
Banners and garlands-DIY using scrapbook paper
Cake topper-DIY using scrapbook paper and paper straws
Cow candle-DIY following Hank+Hunt directions
Milk bottles-Shop Sweet Lulu
Black and white snack cups-Shop Sweet Lulu via Amazon
Cow cake pops-Shelby’s Bakeshop
Cow silhouette and ribbon cake pops-Beyond the Bar Bakery
Cow silhouette sticks for cake pops-DIY at Archiver’s
Ribbon sticks-DIY
Cake pop stand-wood box from Michaels, foam and moss covering it from Joann Fabrics.
Silver cows-plastic toy cows spray painted silver
Cookie cake stand-A Fabulous Fete from last year-spray painted white
Kid tables-Ikea
White, black chairs and green and white stools-Ikea
Green chairs-garage sale and painted kelly green
Table runners-Cut out of Ikea Sophia fabric left with frayed edges
The Story of Ferdinand Book-used as art on gallery wall, fireplace and party favors
Paper lanterns-Martha Stewart on Amazon
Chair garlands-DIY with scrapbook paper
Topiary trees-Home Goods
Photo booth props-DIY
Suitcases on photo booth-Land of Nod
Mini photo booth backdrop-DIY using this tutorial and fabric from Ikea
Party favors-The Story of Ferdinand from Amazon
Green plant pots-Target dollar spot
Cows, cows everywhere-all from Runnings in Benson, MN (Thanks mom!)
Chalkboard easel-Ikea
Balloons-Party City
Eat Drink Play and Eat Drink Smile utensil holders-DIY using this free printable and washi tape
Cake stand and wood platters-Borrowed from a friend. Originally purchased at Michaels.
Silver table for singing happy birthday-West Elm