How to Throw a Donut Social!


donut social featured

I love planning parties!

I planned a surprise party, and birthday weekend, for my husband two years ago. Last year I planned our very own brew tour for my husband’s birthday and rented a minivan to cart around all our friends. I realized just how much I loved party planning when I threw our son an Avenger’s themed first birthday party. I really enjoyed all the little details, coordination, fun graphics, and invitations. That’s not to say these parties aren’t without stress or complication but in the end it’s all worth it to me.

Planning my best friend’s birthday brunch was by far the most fun I’ve ever had planning a party. It was so exciting to throw a party for someone that is not only so similar to me, with the same high standards and attention to detail, but that could actually appreciate all the effort that would go into this event.

Erika’s Donut Social was the brainchild of much Pinterest pinning, to a secret board so the birthday girl wouldn’t see, and lots of Etsy browsing. I was also inspired by the numerous independent shops on Instagram.


We started with the invitation which I had my graphic designer mom create from scratch including a custom made donut. We hand picked all the colors for the donut, glaze, and sprinkles. She’s incredibly talented and it’s so much fun working with my mom to create custom graphics. She created a custom logo for my husband’s brew tour and did the invites for my son’s first birthday.

Donut Social 1

From there we took the little donut and put the party title on it to create a sort of logo for the event. I’m all about branding!

Donut social 2

Using hot pink, light pink, and gold as my main colors I went to work searching Etsy for just the right pennant flags to hang, something I knew I wanted right away. I fell in love with this sophisticated banner in just the right colors. I also got matching cupcake picks, which I spread throughout the table. I saved the flags because they were too good not to reuse!

donut social, donut party, party banner

Erika and I love donuts, and sweets in general, and have tried every local donut. I knew we’d need a good selection of sweets for this event. I started with Green Mountain Mini Baked mini donuts. Erika and I had been dying to try them for so long but never had the opportunity. I contacted Debbie of Green Mountain Mini Baked on Etsy, where she sells her donuts. She helped me design the perfect donut and made sure they arrived right on time. Truthfully I was nervous about having them shipped but I have to say they arrived in perfect condition. I stored them in the fridge until the party and let them come to room temperature before serving, as Debbie instructed. Honestly, these donuts were some of the best I’ve ever had. Everyone agreed that they not only looked adorable but also tasted amazing. We are big fans and will definitely be ordering again! I displayed half on a white plate at the front of the display table and half on cute little milk jugs. I decorated them with mint baker’s twine and pink paper straws, both from Amazon.

donuts on milk jugs, milk jugs, donut party, donut social

We are also huge fans of Doughnut Dilemma and often stalk their booth at the Burlington Farmer’s Market. We are eagerly awaiting the opening of their retail store! I chose their coconut donut for the display table for a bit of texture contrast. These donuts were so amazing and were a huge hit. I displayed these on a cake stand from Home Goods that I got for $5 on clearance!

donuts on a stand, cake stand, donut party

I originally wanted this donut tree to be solid powered donut holes but I actually could not find enough that day! So, we opted to get a mix of powered and chocolate glazed from Dunkin Donuts and vanilla glazed from the grocery store. I bought a foam cone and covered it in foil. I used toothpicks for get the donuts to stay and I got the idea from Pinterest.

donut tree, mini donuts

We also got some vanilla donut holes from South End Kitchen. Their donuts are always awesome and these vanilla glazed did not disappoint. I actually ordered their cider donut holes but there was a mix up with my order so my husband brought these home instead. I didn’t kill the messenger…but I may have injured him (kidding, no husbands were injured in the making of this party).

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Finally, we got these amazing glazed cronuts for the center cake stand, which was also on sale at Home Goods. I knew these donuts would have to be bigger in order to stack as high as I wanted, and to hold the candles properly. If I didn’t buy these myself I would never believe that they came from Dunkin Donuts! As shocking as that is…these are really delicious! They don’t taste like a croissant-donut, as the name implies, but they taste like a really yummy yeast donut. They’re perfect when you need a donut fix.

cronuts, donuts on cake stand, cronuts happy birthday

The front of the display table also featured white meringues from Trader Joes and these incredible Orange Blossom macarons from Point G in Montreal. These macarons are just as good, honestly if not better, than Ladurée in NYC. I would definitely recommend stopping in on your next trip to Monrteal!

meringues, macaroons, pink macaroons

The other decorations on the display table included a paper marquee light from Michael’s ($12), a printed Donut Social logo in a cheap frame from Home Goods that I spray painted, and adorable paper confetti from Etsy.

donut social table, donut party table display

The other decorations I used were fake flower balls from Michael’s and clear balloons from party city with the paper confetti inside. It made for such a fun and whimsical, yet sophisticated look. I got the idea from Studio Mucci but have also seen it many times on Pinterest.

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donut social 12

I also created a second table for us to eat breakfast at. I covered a folding table with a cheap hot pink plastic tablecloth and iridescent white star confetti from Party City. I used plates I got on clearance from Home Goods (notice the theme here). I also used these adorable donut printables I found on Pinterest. I used a 2.5” and 1” circle paper cutter to cut them out. I bought these fairly cheap from Amazon a while ago. Pinterest is full of great printables for all occasions, and they’re usually free! I got some pink roses from Trader Joes and some pink, white, and teal M&M’s from Party City for the table as well. I framed the invitation with a frame from A.C. Moore and set it up with a pitcher of Trader Joe’s pink lemonade, plastic cups, and a mason jar full of pink and gold paper straws.

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donut social, donut party details

This party was so much fun to plan and even more fun to experience. Everyone loved the setup and the donut variety. It was worth all the effort and stress to see everyone enjoy themselves so much!

My best advice to plan your own party is to start early and use a system to collect ideas. For me, this is always Pinterest but you should use whatever works best for you. I can create a new board and keep it a secret this way I can pin things whenever I get a second or an idea comes to mind. I also highly recommend shopping at Home Goods because you can usually get a great deal and they’re always getting new stuff in. I personally love supporting the small businesses on Etsy and am always happy with the handcrafted items I order. I got so much great stuff from Party City as well, the new one in South Burlington is amazing.

Written by Laura Appelbaum-Babcock

Laura bio picMy husband and I are currently gracing Burlington, VT with our mutual weirdness. We met in high school and I consider myself lucky to call him mine. We have a wonderful dog, a rescue toller, who is slowly adapting to being an older sister to our 20-month-old son, Flynn. We moved here from Oakland, California in 2011 to be closer to my brother, who is one of my best friends. I was born and raised in New York and I will always consider NYC to be one of the greatest cities on earth. I am lucky to have found my career calling at a young age. I’m thankful to be making a living while making a difference all while working from home with my almost 2 year-old co-worker. I love to read, write, get tattooed, bake, craft, plan parties, and listen to music with my son. I’m currently obsessed with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Archer, and Supernatural. We love the Vermont way of life and although I do miss the California winters, we’re happy to call this great state home. You can find me on Instagram at raddest_mom or at


  1. I love this theme idea and all of the touches! I too love planning parties and am in the middle of planning my daughter’s first birthday and agree about pintrest and Etsy. I love that you got donuts and treats from multiple places… it’s silly but it wouldn’t have crossed my mind and I would have stressed if one place couldn’t do everything I needed. I’ll have to keep this in mind for the future. You are obviously a great friend and it looks like the party was such a blast 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


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