Hawaii Mom Blog: First Birthday Party at the Hawaii Okinawa Center (A Catered Experience)




April 5, 2010

First Birthday Party at the Hawaii Okinawa Center (A Catered Experience)

First birthday parties are typically a big deal in Hawaii. There are usually a couple hundred guests. People hire musicians, magicians, balloon artists; some people have petting zoos, shave ice stands, and more, and and you have to reserve a space a year in advance (it's almost like planning a wedding!).

The day I got home from the hospital after giving birth to DS2, I called to reserve the Hawaii Okinawa Center, which is catered by A Catered Experience.

We've been to many parties at this location, but we chose this venue primarily because of the reasonable cost, which included the rental of the ballroom, food, paper goods, set-up and clean-up, and more (for DS1's party we held it at a location where we had to set-up and clean-up ourselves and it was a pain!).

Once I got the venue, the next big step was to figure out the theme. Thanks to @CoolBabyKid, I got some ideas to create a cookie-themed party. I figured favors and goodie bags would be a cinch (all cookie stuff, of course), and games would be easy too.

After several months of planning, I couldn't wait for party day (and for it to be over!).

Most of the reps I dealt with at A Catered Experience were very friendly and helpful, but it was the Hawaii Okinawa Center Banquet Staff who really provided exceptional service.

As for the party itself--it went pretty smoothly.

For table assignments I used Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme bars and printed labels with the table numbers.

The goodie bags were filled with all types of cookie products (Gerber cookies, cookie mixes from Kids Central Kitchen, and more).

I made Oreo lollipos for favors.
And there were lots of cookie-themed activities for both kids and adults.

DH drew a large Cookie Monster and our neighbor sewed cookies filled with rice and kids had to throw the cookies into Cookie Monster's mouth (instead of Me Want Cookie, DH actually wanted to put Toss Your Cookies on the game!).

I made a "guess the cookie" game. Each bag was full of crushed up cookies and guests had to name the cookie.

Another game involved guessing the number of cookies in the jar (the jar was full of Cookie Crisp cereal and a a few Chips Ahoy cookies).

I had a cookie decorating station.

Here are some of the creations...
I also had a balloon artist who also did a magic show.

And now for the food...

We brought in our own pupus. I bought chips and mango salsa from Costco, and soy beans and poke from Tanioka's Seafood & Catering.
The food we catered from A Catered Experience consisted of...

Tossed and macaroni salads

Roast Pork with Gravy

Mochiko Chicken
Mahi Mahi
And my favorite part...the Chanitlly Cake!

It was HUGE!
I also brought in cookies and milk for dessert.

There were lots of leftovers, which we were able to take home (we just had to bring our own pans/containers).

A big thank you to @nanigurl for taking a lot of these photos.

Overall we were very pleased with the food and the service, and if I ever have to plan another function, I would not hesitate to go through A Catered Experience again.


  1. Looks like it was quite a celebration. The food really looks good. I give you credit for doing this for your children. I didn't for mine because we simply couldn't afford it. I just had something small with our parents and siblings and their kids.

  2. How fun. It looks spectacular. The photos are great. Settings look so cool and the food looks great :) Thanks for sharing this. And a Belated Happy Birthday. :)


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