Planning your baby’s first birthday party is often a bittersweet activity for moms. Can you believe it’s been a whole year since that sweet, tiny little creature of yours made his grand entrance on our planet? The first year of a child’s life is definitely the most eventful—your little one has gone from an infant with no muscle control to a moving, babbling bundle of fun. That’s definitely worth celebrating! But before you jump into the planning stages of your shindig, check out the bash we put together. Happy partying!
Most parties are planned around a theme, although it isn’t a necessity. You could just as easily choose to deck the place out in your baby’s favorite color, or your favorite color for that matter—because while the party is in honor of the baby’s birthday, it’s really more for the parents. You deserve this day, so we say make it as memorable as possible!
Chances are this isn’t the first party you’ve thrown, so you will probably already know whether you’re more of a china and silver gal or a disposable plate partier—it’s just a matter of personal preference as to how fancy you want to go. (Although it goes without saying that good china should be kept out of reach of little hands!) Consider the following factors when making your party plans:
Your own home is an obvious choice for your baby’s first birthday party, but many parents prefer an outdoor party in the backyard or at a local park if the season permits. If you do decide on an outdoor fete, have a backup plan in place in case of inclement weather, and print it on the invitation so your guests know where to go if it rains.
Many babies are at their best before lunch, so a 10 or 11 a.m. party time is a good choice for young children. Or, if your little one is more of a night owl, go for a late-in-the-day celebration. Whatever you do, plan around nap time—you definitely don’t want a fussy honoree.
Some moms go all out with decorations and others opt for the streamer-and-balloon approach. Again, it’s just a matter of personal preference. One thing to keep in mind, though, is the safety factor associated with balloons. As much as little people love them, latex balloons should be kept out of reach, as they become a very real choking hazard should they pop. So enforce a strict “look, don’t play” policy for safety’s sake, and opt for mylar balloons.
Have guests put gifts on a table out of reach so the babies don’t break into the boxes before it’s time. You can also split the gift opening into phases, if you’d like. When your little one opens that cool, shiny toy from her cousins, she’s going to want to play with it rather than open the rest of her gifts. So, patiently give her a few minutes to admire her new loot, and then move on to the next goody when she’s ready.
Also keep in mind that little people love unwrapping things, so all the babies on hand might try to get in on the opening ceremony. To give all the kiddos something to rip into, consider wrapping your party favors in small boxes so everyone has something to open while the birthday girl is tearing into her stack.
Do me a favor
Favors are your way of thanking your guests for coming to your little shindig. We made red rose-shaped chocolates and placed them in little red boxes. The chocolates look impressive and were a breeze to make (the best kind of gift!). We simply picked up the already-red chocolate and candy molds at our local craft store—it took about three minutes to melt the chocolate and fill the molds and an hour to chill them down.
Make sure that there’s plenty of seating for the adults and lots of crawling or toddling room for the babies. Setting up a large blanket or foam play mat with a selection of age-appropriate toys is a great idea, since the babies can gather there to play and interact.
Since you’ll probably have both babes and parents at the party, you’ll need to plan two different menus. Finger foods are always a hit and are easy for moms to eat while on the chase. Most parents will appreciate healthy snacks for the little ones, since the kids will soon be digging into cake and ice cream.
Good options for babies without a lot of teeth are bite-sized pieces of fruit and Cheerios, while crackers, small pieces of semi-soft cheese and bite-sized chicken pieces are good picks for accomplished chewers. If you’re expecting tots under 2, have plenty of small plates and sippy cups on hand
[Tip:] Paint sippy cups with names of guests, and they can serve double duty as a party favor!
Most moms choose to invite close family members and friends, but make sure you don’t go overboard with the guest list. The most successful parties are smaller affairs, since babies might be overwhelmed by a huge group of people (guests and the birthday baby alike).
Like cupcakes? So do we! We took our pan to Metrotainment Bakery in Atlanta (metrobakery.com) and they made a yummy red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. It’s also just as easy to hit the grocery store and buy a cake mix and frosting—or pick up a pretty sheet cake at the grocery.
Click here for more tips on planning baby’s big day.