Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first year of parenting!
You’ve made it possible to function after 2 hours of sleep for 365 days, you became an expert in cleaning diaper blowouts, you educated your vocabulary with phrases like baby led winning, and you finally know how to swaddle a baby. Your baby is one year old, alive and smiling.
And now to your reward- planning baby’s first birthday!
First things first, take a deep breath and relax. While the baby is the person of the hour, it’s good to keep in mind that the only things she will remember from this event are what you will be photographing. So giving the right instructions to the person with the camera should take some of the stress out of the preparations. Also, make sure you have our ultimate checklist for a kids birthday party at hand.
Here is your go-to guide for baby’s first birthday party:
It helps to start with a theme. Choose something that will fit whatever budget you’ve set.
Themes with strong color palettes tend to look better in photos and are fun for the guests. Also, kids love bright colors and balloons, so any theme that incorporates those will always go over well. Any theme with fun, creative decorations is always a winner as well.
Some popular themes include Winnie the Pooh, anything from Disney or Pixar, unicorns, fairies, dinosaurs, music and nautical. Find more fun party themes for a baby first birthday here.
There are many things to take into consideration when choosing the right venue for baby’s first birthday. How many people are you inviting? What is the age range of guests? How will it fit with your theme?
Here are some important things to consider when choosing. Go for a location that is kid-friendly and baby safe since some guests will be of the little person variety. Also, choose a place that can accommodate all your guests. If the weather is nice, consider something outside in a park. Or if your budget allows, somewhere like a kid-friendly restaurant or even the zoo could be fun and save on the stress of preparing food and decorations. If you need more inspiration choosing a location check out 2019 location trends for parties.
The most important thing to consider, however, is to choose a location that the baby is comfortable with. After all, the day is all about them.
Equally important is the time frame. Most toddlers can only stand so much fun before they start getting cranky, so it’s recommended to keep it short – an hour to an hour and a half at the most. Also, plan around your baby’s nap times. You want to make sure they enjoy the party and don’t sleep through it.
Keep the guest list limited to close family and friends. You want people there that your child is comfortable being around and a large group of strangers could be overwhelming. So don’t stress about inviting anyone and everyone or hurting feelings.
It’s also good to keep in mind the comfort of your guests. If there are going to be some tots coming, it’s good to make sure there is a quiet space for little guests who get cranky and need a nap. Be sure there’s also somewhere to change diapers or breastfeed away from the party.
Probably the most important thing to remember for baby’s first birthday is photos. You’ll want tons to remember the day by, and to show baby once they are older. Since you’ll be busy running around organizing everything, it might be wise to get some help in this department. If you have the budget, spring for a professional photographer, so the pictures are guaranteed to come out looking good. If that doesn’t fit into your budget, ask a friend or family member to be in charge of photos, so it’s one less thing that you have to worry about.
Either way, make sure you have a nice photoshoot of you and the baby before all the guests arrive since babies tend to be unexpected and will probably be sleepy or edgy while everybody is there to celebrate for them.
With any kid’s birthday, there’s no need for a large number of elaborate snacks, though if you would like to include some fancier options for the adults, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. For the kiddos, stick to kid-friendly food like soft foods or finger foods. Cut fruit is always good, as are mini muffins, crackers, cheese, cold cuts, deviled eggs or mini meatballs. Avoid hard foods like candy or nuts that could be choking hazards. It’s always a good idea to check for food allergies in advance as well.
The best beverages for the kiddies are milk, juice or water. For the adults, go for tea, soda or even mocktails if you want fancy drinks but are unsure about including alcohol.
Most importantly – the cake. It’s good to have a large cake for the guests and then a smaller smash cake for the birthday boy or girl to go to town on for photos.
Probably the trickiest thing to figure out for baby’s first birthday is what to do, especially if you have a range of really young kids up to older kids. Try to plan entertainment for all ages, whether it’s inviting a princess or magician (let’s face it, even the adults can enjoy a good magician).
If you are at a loss for activities or games to plan, use your party theme as inspiration! If you are having a music-themed party, include a make-your-own-music corner with various kid-friendly instruments. If you go with a nautical theme, add a fishing game using a kiddie pool in the backyard. Include a digging zone for a dinosaur party where kids can unearth their own fossils.
Other activities you could do are an arts and crafts table and a play zone for younger guests with age-appropriate toys.
make it special
Remember Emma Geller-Green’s first birthday? Outside of the colossal mess, Friends nailed a fun trend that is still popular among first birthdays – creating a time capsule. You can film it, or you can put out paper and markers and have older guests write notes to the birthday boy or girl that they can read once they’re older.
You can be sure both guests and future youngster will be touched from the gesture.
Although it sounds quite impossible by now, please try to make this day a little bit fun for you as well. Try not to get to upset when things don’t happen as expected, don’t force it on your baby if you feel she is not up to all that jazz, and take a moment with a piece of cake to appreciate all that’s good and wonderful in your life.