I’m so excited to be planning my niece’s 1st birthday party this fall! For anyone who really knows me, I absolutely love planning. It is one of my obsessions.
After making numerous planning mistakes, however, I would like to share with you some tips I’ve learned along the way.
If you are planning your child’s first birthday party, make sure you plan ahead. No procrastinating!
Why You Must Plan Ahead
A few years ago, I planned an Easter party for terminally ill children.
The night before the party, at midnight, I was told double the amount of children would be there.
The plastic Easter eggs at the store were all gone in my town and I had to drive at 4 a.m. to get more in the city (among other things). Luckily, I had some last minute donations.
By the time the party started, it was getting very hot. Too hot.
My chocolate bunnies were melting and the candy in the Easter eggs too.
There wasn’t much shade and I was running around trying to make sure the games, Easter egg hunt, and lunch went smoothly.
I got so dehydrated, I ended up vomiting at the end of the party trying to do too much and I couldn’t drive myself home.
The point of the story? You need to plan very well including for the unexpected!
10 Tips for Planning a First Birthday
1. RSVP List. You need to find out how many people will be attending by a certain date, so you can prepare. Some people need a month to prepare a party, but others are okay with two weeks. Know which person you are to avoid stress. Whatever you do, get at least a rough estimate of guests who will be attending, but plan for a little more just in case.
2. Venue. Don’t forget to choose an appropriate venue. Some people go all out and might host it at a hotel, but most people simply plan a party at home or at the local park. Whatever you choose, make sure it is appropriate for the weather and that you know all the venue rules.
3. Set a Theme. A theme can help you make the event that much more special and it can be a lot of fun for little kids. It will help you decide what the party should look like from the decorations to the type of food you may want to serve.
4. Prepare a Menu. Think about what items you might want to serve and prepare a menu in advance. Drinks, appetizer, sides, main dishes, and dessert are huge decisions! You can also keep it simple and use a slow cooker for some items or even cater a dish or two.
5. Cake. If you are planning on purchasing a unique cake, you may need to put your order in weeks in advance! Think about what you want and plan ahead. Some parents also like “smash cakes” for their little one. It’s a tiny, personalized cake just for baby. It’s a great photo opportunity to see your baby eat cake for the first time.
6. Allergy List. While some people may disagree, I always make sure I know if any guests are allergic to a particular food or ingredient. It’s a simple step you can take to make sure those with allergies don’t accidentally bite into something they shouldn’t. You just never know!
7. Games or Activities. Not all parties require games or activities, but if you want something interactive for kids, choose a couple of age appropriate games they can do. Piñatas are fun and you can also DIY to save money. I also love affordable bounce houses.
8. Use Technology to Plan. One of my favorite apps is Pinterest. There are so many ideas to choose from that you will have limitless ideas. For my niece’s 1st birthday, I am torn between a fall pumpkin theme or unicorns. Pinterest helps me visualize and feeds my planning addiction.
9. Goody Bags. If a lot of kids will be there, think about whether or not you’ll want to have goody bags. They aren’t necessary, but they certainly are a great thing to end the party with.
10. Safety First. If you plan to have a party at your house, make sure the house is baby proofed. Inspect for items around the house that may be choking hazards.
After a party, a piece of plastic was left on our carpet that we could not see. You know what happened to it? My son put it in his mouth and almost choked on it. Inspect your house before and after!
I love first birthdays. To me, they are a celebration of life. It is taking the extra time to celebrate someone you love and to appreciate a moment in time you’ll never get back.
Enjoy the moment! Cherish the time you have and spend it with those you love.
Your child may not remember, but you’ll have beautiful memories to share with them later.