As you approach the one-year milestone, planning the perfect celebration is EVERYTHING. Parker turned one just a little bit ago and his birthday party was all I could have ever hoped and dreamed for. After all, this occasion is more for the parents than it is for the kids, because come on, they’re only one. Here’s some mom to mom tips on how to plan your little one’s first.
Picking the theme is where the whole thing starts. Pinterest was my best friend in deciding what I wanted to do for Parker’s party. I knew I wanted to incorporate the fact that it was his big ONE. We ended up choosing a “Where the Wild Things Are” theme, and called it Parker’s Wild ONE. He’s a little crazy in a good way, so the theme was fitting. Once I selected the concept, it made everything else easy.
Selecting a budget you’re comfortable with spending on your child’s party is the most important thing. Three months before my husband and I started planning Parker’s, we came up with our number. Because I went a little crazy on the decorations, I came out at the top of my budget (around $500). Depending on where you have the event, you can plan the perfect party with ANY budget. We spent $0 on the venue (more on that in a second) $200 on food, $150 on cookies and cake, $150 on decorations and invitations. We had more than enough to eat and the place looked
Planning the time of the party was a bigger deal than I thought. You must make sure it’s a time where your little one is awake! Parker tends to nap between 10:00-11:00am and 2:00-3:00pm, so we scheduled the event right in-between. My personal recommendation is to only plan the event for about 2 hours. It worked perfect for us. We found towards the end that Parker was overwhelmed with the people and the activity and got really warn out. In terms of the location, I really wanted something super cute and fun. There were a couple of neat venues around the Scottsdale area we looked at, but ultimately, unless the venue includes food, spending money on just the event space wasn’t worth it to us. We ended up holding the shower at a clubhouse, the same place I had my baby shower. It was special for us and it brought us full circle.
I really wanted the party to be as easy as possible, so my plan going in to this was to cater everything. My husband had a different idea. He wanted to cook as much as possible to save money. We ended up compromising and doing a little bit of both. We had a brunch party so the food we served was appropriate. We ordered an array of different foods from Panera Bread and made a couple of dishes on our own. It was nice to have a variety, but it was stressful preparing it all. I was grateful that some of the food was catered, and recommend going that route if you can. Planning and preparing a party with a little one is a lot of work!
Because a good amount of your guests at a first birthday are grown-ups, I recommend having some grown-up beverages. Lots of little kids screaming and crying can be a lot, especially if some of the adults at the party aren’t around kids a ton. We had a Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar, since we planned the party around brunch time on a Sunday. It was a HUGE hit. We also had a TON of deserts that matched the theme to perfection!
It was important to me to do something really unique to capture Parker’s first year. I had ordered a bunch of vines on Amazon to decorate the venue and had a ton left over, so I came up with an idea. I printed a ton of pictures I had taken over the course of the past year and hung them, in chronological order on the vines. I hung it up as a photo wall. My guests loved being able to look back and see how much he grew. I recommend finding some way to time in a reflection of your little one’s first year. Its personal touches like this that can make your party extra special. I know it did for us.
Decorating the venue was my favorite part of my preparation.
I ordered a ton of stuff from Etsy, had the cake, smash cake, cookies, and cake pops decorated to match the theme. The room was completely transformed. From the table centerpieces, to the balloons, the high chair cover, I really felt like the theme was executed almost perfectly. We were able to capture a ton of cool photos to remember the day because of this.
This is the most fun part of the entire party. It’s a classic item on the to-do list for any first birthday. Put a mini cake in front of your baby and see what they do with
it. My son has been struggling with eating, so I figured he wouldn’t do much with the cake. And I was right. He touched it, but that was it. So we took matters in our own hands and helped him out!
A few extra things I learned from my event… baby’s are still unpredictable, even at a year. Parker LOST it and cried a ton while we were opening presents. I actually had to stop opening presents and feed him a bottle before proceeding. Speaking of opening presents, do it before the cake if you want your guests to stay for that part. Opening presents can be boring for the party guests, especially if your little one isn’t so great at ripping apart the paper.
Take a TON of pictures. We had a family friend who happens to be a photographer there to capture all of the moments. Your little won’t remember the event, so having good photos to show them later is everything.
Bring outfit changes, it gets MESSY.
And the biggest thing I learned, it’s only a party. Don’t stress and have fun.