About Us

Who we are

Counting Candles is the leading online platform for birthday party planning and birthday party ideas, providing parents and party hosts with everything needed to plan awesome birthday events. From original birthday party theme ideas to executing the perfect birthday party on any budget, we have all the information and inspiration to make birthday parties magical and meaningful.

Counting Candles connects parents, creatives, and party and event professionals across the country with the largest and most vibrant birthday party community powered by social media.

Counting Candles is the easiest way to get the birthday party inspiration, birthday party advice, and birthday party supply information to help turn birthday party visions into birthday party realities.

Our Founder & The Birth of Counting Candles

Helen Holden


The idea of Counting Candles was born in 2006 by Founder Helen Holden of Los Angeles, CA to fill a need in the market for an all in one birthday party planning site. Helen is the proud mom of twins.

Likes to eat the frosting first!

Helen Holden is the multi-talented virtuoso behind Counting Candles. She has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, an MBA from UCLA, and has worked in consulting and finance for 20+ years. Beyond these accomplishments, she is also a sincere birthday expert.

A native of the Boston area, she grew up in a close-knit family with two brothers and a sister. Throughout her childhood, her mother arranged the traditional backyard home birthday party for each sibling every year. Helen observed that although each birthday party had its similarities, it was her mother who made them singular by creating a whole day of favorite foods and traditions. Helen’s mother knew that her favorites were a mint chocolate chip mud pie for her birthday cake and french toast for dinner.

When Helen was prepared for motherhood herself, she encountered difficulties which were eventually overcome, but the joyous news of her twin pregnancy coincided with the devastating knowledge of her mother’s cancer diagnosis.

The year Helen became a mother herself, she lost her own mother. When her mother passed away just days after Helen’s birthday, she reflected upon the passage of time and how birthdays punctuate life as milestones that mark time whether those times are good or bad.

While still grieving the loss of her mother, Helen endured a complicated twin pregnancy. She was put on three months of hospital bedrest followed by a C-section in which she almost lost her life. She spent time in ICU and her daughter spent time in NICU. Even the very birth day of her twins emphasized the ephemeral quality of life.

After a year of overwhelming emotional highs and lows, Helen did not celebrate her birthday for two years, while still delighting in the birthday of her twins. With time, she came back to treasuring all the birthdays in the family again, because she knew she must make every candle count.

Helen originally founded Counting Candles as a space to focus exclusively on birthday parties and has grown the site into the leading online platform for birthday party planning, inspiration and sharing birthday news and celebrity gossip.

Helen’s birthday party advice has been featured in US News & World Report, Parents Magazine, The Stir by CafeMom, Daily Parent, Mamapedia, Mainstreet.com, PostCrescent.com, TheSpec.com, Georgia Family Magazine, Long Live Your Money blog, Greenvelope, GO BankingRates and TODAY Parenting Team posts.

They Say

  • “Of course your backyard is free, so the savings would be huge,“ says Helen Holden, founder of CountingCandles.com, a birthday party planning site. “If your house is not an option, try a friend’s house. You can also reserve picnic tables or space at your local park, usually either free with a reservation or a small fee.“

    Main Street
    How to Plan an Awesome Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget: 10 Tips for Cost-Conscious Parents
  • Also remember to save what you can for the following year. Helen Holden, founder of birthday planning website countingcandles.com, uses a “birthday supply box” to stock up on supplies and decor throughout the year as she finds good buys (think utensils, white plates, paper bowls and assorted colors of streamers).

    How to keep kids’ birthday parties affordable
  • Serve Cupcakes Instead of Cake
    “For some reason, this simple advice
 makes a huge difference,“ says Helen Holden, founder of birthday planning site Counting Candles. “When you have cake, it needs to be cut, kids get 
upset if their piece is too big or too small or if they get a side piece or
 a center piece.“ But since cupcakes are all the same, problem solved! Plus, there’s no need for plates, forks, and all that business.

    The Stir by CafeMom
    10 Ways to Simplify Kids' Birthday Parties for Once & for All
  • Use digital invitations. Instead of printing or buying paper invites, send digital invitations to your guests. “If you are on a budget and short on time, but still want it to look nice, it is probably most efficient to use Evite, and spend your effort elsewhere like decorations, party favors and so on,“ says Helen Holden, a mother of 4-year-old twins and founder of the birthday party-planning website CountingCandles.com. Sending digital invitations to guests’ parents also eliminates the potential for hurt feelings when paper invites are distributed at school.

    US News & World Report
    How to Throw a Kid's Birthday Party on a Budget

Our Team

We are a creative group with a passion for birthdays.
We think it’s important to make each candle count!

Beth Sanders

Marketing Director

Beth has a background in catering and enjoys traveling. art and photography. Beth loves birthday parties and playing games and is excited to bring her ideas to Counting Candles.

Rachel Willen

Contributing Editor

Working as a Clinical Social Worker in the Big Apple with children, Rachel has the inner scoop on what is popular and trendy when it comes to kids' birthday parties. She looks forward to planning many birthday parties for her baby girl. Rachel enjoys Zumba and taking long walks.

Irene Wong

Contributing Editor

Irene's passion for fashion led her to attend Parsons School of Design in NYC. After gaining experience in the industry, Irene founded two companies - a production company that produces fashion & food events and a fashion flash sale site.

Nita Gale

Internet Director

Nita has never been known to turn down a party.

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