Emmy turned 1 last summer but I thought I would share pictures from her Dohl party to give you ideas if there are any of you planning a similar celebration. If you’re looking for a photographer for any occasion, I highly recommend Craig Obrist and not only because he’s married to my best friend but because he is truly a talented photographer. We are so blessed to have so many amazing photos taken by him. Most of my friends have also used him for weddings, engagements, family and dohl pictures.
Traditionally, the baby wears a ham-bok (korean traditional outfit) and we celebrate with lots of food and friends. It’s kind of a big deal in Korean culture. Of course, you can make the event as big and ornate or simple and intimate as you want. I’ve attended friends’ dohls at fancy country clubs as well as hosted in their homes. It’s all up to you!
Since we opted to have it at our house, I had ample time to prepare and plan. For the two older kids, I had a larger guest list and so we held the parties at other venues. I wanted a smaller, intimate group of people for this dohl so we hosted it at our house.
We put the dohl table in the dining room and I covered the table with 2 bronze colored curtains I sewed together. Remember how I used it for my sister’s baby shower? It worked out well because I couldn’t find a table cover in the color I liked and it needed to be big enough hit the floor.
I had some trouble locating mint colored decor so I took some mint colored tape and wrapped it around some candles. I took 2 wine bottles and covered them with modge podge (all-in-one glue and sealer) and then covered them with gold glitter. I still use these two vases as decor in my house. I placed some lace fabric along the middle of the table to hide the seams from the curtains I sewed together.
When my in laws were putting their house on the market, they put these 2 large canvases out for donation and I snatched them up because I knew I would find another way to reuse them. Jules helped cover the original artwork on the canvases with white paint. After drying, I spray painted, “ONE” in gold and added gold cardstock circles that I punched out with a large circle puncher.
I was really happy with how these canvases turned out. Jimmy helped me attach them to the wall with temporary velcro tapes. Since he’s a perfectionist, he measures and makes sure everything is aligned properly. I am the total opposite because I’m impatient like that and always, “ain’t nobody got time fo dat”. It’s a good thing because he makes sure these important details are covered. Btw, I’m scheming up another project for these canvases!
I love how the backdrop adds a little pop to all the pictures.
I had so much fun decorating the dohl table because I shopped around my home for decor pieces. Every time I passed by the dining room and saw the table coming together, I would mix and add things here and there. Plus, my gracious friend, Karen let us borrow her 2 kids’ hamboks for the party. We never wore hamboks for the other two kids’ dohls so I’m so glad we have these pictures.
I bought Costco roses and arranged them in small white vases. I cut her name in pink cardstock and glued it against gold cardstock. The letters were placed in these inexpensive, Ikea frames.
The dohl table usually has a rice cake. At the end of the party, we cut and wrap them up for guests to take home. My mom ordered this rice cake from a Korean caterer.
I made a large cupcake for Emmy’s smash cake by using a large cupcake mold. I baked a box cake and piped it with my cream cheese frosting.
I also created a more fancy looking two tiered cake with the same frosting. This was the cake we served to guests. I used 2 round cake pans for the bottom layers and then baked a sheet cake and cut two smaller circles to create the top tier. I frosted it with rose piping and it used a ton of cream cheese frosting! I cut some mini triangles from leftover cardstock and punched tiny holes to make a mini cake banner. I kept this banner and used it for my sister’s baby shower too. I love recycling all of my crafts for other occasions.
The mini banner is tied around two skewers. I found this mint cakestand on clearance at Target when they were carrying the Oh Joy line and it was perfect for the party. I have a thing for cake stands and love collecting them.
Emmy is getting ready for her birthday cake!
She wasn’t as interested in it as we hoped.
I love Jimmy’s face here.
The dessert table in all it’s glory!! We had cupcakes, cookies and my girlfriend Zenia, made a delicious fruit tart and banana pudding. My sister took the maternity pictures seen above. Craig took the picture of Emmy in the large frame. I like to place items in different heights to add visual interest.
I made cupcakes for all the kids using my whip cream frosting. Yes, I cut out those gold hearts and placed them on toothpicks. I know it probably seems crazy to you but I love adding these little touches.
Hey, look! It’s a pom pom on the hat!
When decorating for a party, look for things around the house. I used these wooden blocks to spell out her nickname and placed them on a cake stand. I also took various picture frames around the house and used them as party decor.
I re-purposed this wood into a chalkboard and distressed it with some gold rub-n-buff.
Dol-ja-bi is the big highlight of the celebration. Basically, you place some items like, money (wealth), ball (athlete), stethoscope (doctor) in front of the child and they choose the item which is supposed to represent their destiny or future. You typically allow guests to guess what the child will choose to win a prize. Since we’re believers, this traditional part of the celebration is more of a cultural ritual.
I took the pink frame from the toy room and placed it on the dol-ja-bi table. This was Emmy’s birth announcement taken from my sister. James, Yun Mi and I had fun styling this shot a month after she was born.
Grouping items in a tray always make them look unified and creates a lovely display. A good rule is grouping 3 or 5 items together.
Btw, Emmy picked the stethoscope!
Craig took headshots of the kids and I love them so much. When it’s their birthday month, I put a party hat on top of the canvas because I’m quirky like that. 😀
For party favors, we gave out dduk (rice cake), vintage children’s books and I also made a bunch of hairpins and headbands for the little girls to take home. #hairjules
Typically, you serve Korean food at a dohl party but we opted for a more casual fare and catered a bb-que lunch. We thought it would be simple and perfect for a summer birthday party.
If you’re planning a dohl or any other celebration, I hope this gave you some inspiration. I love putting in all these little touches because it’s my passion and outlet but it’s not the most important thing! I remember my mom throwing birthday parties for us as kids and I knew it was always out of love. Sometimes, she threw an elaborate party for us at the skating rink. Many times, we celebrated at home where she always provided a delicious meal. Throwing these kinds of parties can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. It’s about having fellowship with your loved ones and celebrating life. Ask friends to help you and most likely, they will graciously accept because they will love serving you in this way. #community
Share that spirit of hospitality, do it in love and have fun with it! If you have any questions with any of the crafts, just shoot me a message.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7