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Planning a First Birthday Party

Planning a first birthday party can be overwhelming.

It is not just a major milestone for your sweet baby, but it also means mommy and daddy survived the first year! The first birthday party is a celebration of seeing one year go by and all the growth that has occurred. It’s more for the adults than anyone because that sweet 1-year-old will not remember a thing, but it’s a memory you can document and reflect on for years to come. We want to keep them little forever, besides the diapers and sleep deprivation, so this is one way to store these sweet times.

I’ve created a guide to planning a first birthday party! It’s what I use anytime another one comes around.


Type of Party

The first step is deciding what type of party you want to have. I recommend doing this about 8 weeks out. Of course, you can have a simple party or throw the Pinterest bash of the year. Either way is perfect because it is what is best for you and your family! This is also a great time to determine what theme you want to go with; this will guide all of your planning. Some moms prefer to have a color based party, while others choose to have a theme based on their child’s favorite cartoon character, toy or even their obsession with garbage trucks! 

In this phase of planning, you are going to want to make lists of what you’d like. Nothing has to be confirmed quite yet, but start to brainstorm food ideas, venues, entertainments, etc. Go ahead. Make that Pinterest board, pour a glass of wine, and pin away!

Location

Now we want to pick a date and place. Choosing a location first is important, especially if you are renting a space. There are many amazing locations to choose from in Sarasota! If you choose a venue that needs to be reserved, this is also a good time to do it. You do not want to send out invitations without the venue being set in stone.

Tips:

  • Do not forget if you are hosting outdoors during Florida’s rainy season to have a backup plan in place. Or choose to hold it in the morning when it is less likely to rain. You can bet that an August 3pm party is going to have a high chance of rain!
  • When considering a time, think about nap schedules as well. Many 1-year-olds are napping in the afternoon and maybe still have a morning nap. Plan accordingly so your little one is alert, rested, and happy!

Let the Planning Begin!

What will we eat?

Food is important to any party; especially the dessert! What is a party without a yummy treat? This type of preparation should begin to take place about eight weeks out. Make sure to ask all guests if there are any food allergies so that you can accommodate everyone. Some great first party foods can include fresh fruit (cut up), cheese sticks, crackers, Annie’s or Pirates Booty type snacks, organic juice boxes, mini cut-out finger sandwiches with no crust that are clearly labeled, cold pasta salad, organic baby food pouches, etc.

You will then decide whether or not you want a smash cake and if you want to serve cake and/or cupcakes for your guests.

Decorations

Go back to your Pinterest board and start to put some of your “pinspiration” into action. Don’t forget that online mommy groups usually have a for sale page that you can purchase used first birthday decorations, outfits, and themed items as well. Make sure to purchase plastic ware, plates, cups, napkins, disposable bibs, table clothes, serving spoons, bottled waters, ice, etc. Make sure to plan what party favors you will be giving out to your wonderful guests!

Invitations

Once the date and times are secured it’s time to invite. This is a personal choice. Do you invite Aunt Mildred or not? Is it just close family and friends? Or are we inviting our entire Facebook friends list? Consider if you will send electronically or printed invitations. Either way, invitations should go out 4 to 6 weeks before the party, to allow others to save the date and plan accordingly. 

Tips:

  • Creating a wishlist on Amazon or Target can also be helpful to include with the invitations so your guests have an idea of what type of gift to bring (if they are bringing one). 

The Countdown

It is helpful to create a somewhat flexible schedule of events so that the party goes as planned. The week of the event, make sure to finalize your guest list, purchase all perishable foods, confirm any entertainment you may have booked, and put the party bags and favors together. The day of, you will be busy. Make a list of what needs to be done the day of the party, so you aren’t overwhelmed.

Here are some ideas:

  • Decorate the high hair
  • Set out clothes for the big party
  • Decorate the party area
  • Prep and setting out the food and desserts
  • Charge your camera or phone for photos if you do not have a photographer
  • Make sure to keep track of who gave what gift so you can send thank-you cards.

What is Right? 

For Makenzie’s first birthday party, we chose to have it at a friend’s house with a large backyard and playground. We set up foam alphabet mats for crawlers, a bubble blowing machine, a miniature slide, toys to play with for the babies and infants, and age appropriate foods. We had 17 other little ones and everything went smoothly! It was simple, but next time I believe we will do a combined party for the girls for all our family and friends! It will be a new planning challenge!

Some decide to rent a venue, a pony and a bounce house. They have elaborate details and create beautiful events. However, no party was better than another because at the end of the day each mommy has a 1-year-old they love and are thankful for! Plus, everyone has a great time!

Tell Us! What did you do for your child’s first birthday party?

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