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Friday, August 15, 2014

Tips for throwing a 1st birthday party

Ford's birthday party was a roaring success but almost a week later, I am still recovering. I think it was a lot for Ford to take in and poor Booga had a fever the next day and is wrapping up a cold right now (as am I). I am so happy how everything turned out but took mental notes for what I maybe would have done different and stuff I thought I did well. Because I know so many of you have babies and babies on the way, I thought I'd share my scattered thoughts.

Start planning early

When Ford hit 7 months I realized he was closer to a year than his actual birth day. I knew I wanted to have a big party with family and friends but be budget conscious at the same time. I started thinking of themes and colors, and made a private Pinterest board with ideas for decor, crafts, food, etc. Once I settled on his theme and colors, I was able to pickup random things for the party when I saw them on sale (a lot of the paper products/decor came from the Spirit section at Target. One week the whole line was 30% off and I stocked up on paper straws, napkins, balloons, and hanging honeycombs). I ordered his birthday hat from Dainty Couture on etsy when he was 8 months old because I didn't want to be cutting it close to his party date and risk the chance of it not coming in time. 

Party between naps

Ford's party was from 4-7pm and I kind of just chose it on a whim. My niece was staying with us and I thought it would be hard to have the babies go down for a nap right after the party in case people stayed later. Looking back, I wish we would have had it earlier. About 10pm the night of his party Jon and I were recapping and realized #1 neither of us had fed Ford an actual dinner and #2 we each had given him 2 cookies. Ford never cries out after he goes to bed until morning and he seemed to be having a minor night terror. We think he was over stimulated, over tired, and too sugared up. I think he would have done better if he could have gotten in a nap after the party. 

Utilize babysitting for party prep

I don't know any parents of one year olds who would characterize their baby as being calm. I have a blast with Ford when he is awake but if I leave him alone for 10 seconds to pee, he has removed 15 pairs of shorts and pants from my drawers. I was so grateful that my neighbors offered to watch Ford for a few hours the day before his party so I could get stuff done. The day of his party Ford spent a few hours with his Mimi and Papa and we got last minute party prep done and also just relaxed. Being at your own house without your baby is quite relaxing!


Cakes, food, crafts. Hop on Pinterest and you'll have hours of "1st birthday party" pins to scroll through. Use Hobby Lobby/Michael's coupons, the Target cartwheel app, and wait for sales!

Don't spend a lot on a smash cake

Ford's smash cake was a $3.99 individual bundlet from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Ford stuck one finger into the cake and fed  it to me. I am glad I didn't shell out the money for a big messy cake! Our grocery store bakery sells pretty, individual, bigger cupcakes for $2 that would work too. 

You don't have to spend a lot of money for a fun party

I am all about the details when it comes to party planning but I am also very creative and thrifty. I used patterned wrapping paper as a table runner/place mats, made tissue paper garland, and bought all the paper goods on sale. Instead of buying vintage milk bottles for $2/piece on Etsy, I used Starbucks frap bottles and made Jon drink them. I made all the food, bought beer and sodas from Costco, and did not serve a full meal. Other money saving ideas are: host the party in your home, use an Evite instead of invitations, not serving alcohol, a dessert themed party with sweet treats only, no goody bags, and do a family only party. 

Remember, there is no rule book for 1st birthday parties. No one says you HAVE to throw a party for your munchkin because let's face it, they won't remember it from any other day. For us, I wanted to celebrate a year of parenthood with the family and friends who helped us get through it. Next year I'll take Ford to Chick Fila for his birthday, maybe get a donut.

What are some 1st birthday party planning tips you have?


Carolyn said...

These are all great tips! :) I can't wait to have Weston's party!!

Erin @ Happily Obsessed said...

Ah, so glad I am not the only one that started early. My son is almost 8 months and I finally settled on a theme and have started buying a few things!! Great tip!

Sarah said...

Love this! Noelle's first birthday is coming up but my SIL's wedding is weekend right after her bday so we had to bump it back. More time to plan! :)

Sarah said...

we started planning so early too! same with our wedding, it just came in handy when buying things over a long time period than frantically trying to do it all at once!
our party was 12-2 but C won a photoshoot (that was 10 minutes! TEN!) at 8am that morning of which he has probably been awake at 8am a total of 3x in his life, thankfully i got him back down after and he slept until the party started at a park across the street but that meant isaiah had to set up alone while i was home with C and we were still trying to set up as the first few guests showed! C was good for the party but SO serious and not his laugh happy self and as soon as it was over he crashed HARD for a nap!
i love all the ideas you had for fords party, those candles i loved especially!!

Unknown said...

These are great tips! My twins are almost 9 months old, and we have started preparing for the party. I turn 30 years old just two days before their 1st birthday, and as my present, I want to throw them a big party... I mean, we DID make it through the first year with twins! I love these hints. Thank you!
-Dory from

Julie | A Hopeful Hood said...

I'm definitely coming back to this post when I 1) have a baby and 2) when that baby has a birthday. Sounds like you did a great job planning! :)

the happy teacher mom blog said...

These are all great tips, thanks!

Christine said...

Good to know! My daughter is 5 months old. Before you know it, we will plan a party!!

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