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?