Surviving 1st Birthday Parties

Aw baby’s first birthday! It is such an exciting yet stressful time during the parenting adventures. We just survived our 4th first birthday party. When you have your first kid, the first birthday party is a BIG deal. Yes, your other babies first birthday parties are a big deal too, but the first time around you get a pass on what I call “being stupid” and blow money. Cameron’s 1st birthday was pirate themed and we made the best of it since we were new to this parenting sh*t. Kennedy’s party was Hello Kitty and zebra print, and a little more put together but not very over the top. Cody’s was a cowboy themed party and thoroughly planned out and ran smoothly (even though he was cranky the whole time). Kali’s party theme was milk and cookies, and we learned from our past mistakes (of party planning) and kicked ass (kinda). I am going to share with you some tips on making 1st birthday party plans; alongside a few things we did to keep from breaking the bank.

Mistake #1

Having the party during a time that is usually nap-time. Cody’s party ran into his nap-time and by the time we were ready for cake he was over partying. He was cranky most of the party because he was tired. We ended his party earlier than planned.


Mistake #2

Having a large crowd. Babies do not like to be over stimulated. Keep the guest list short. Quality company not quantity.

Mistake #3

Planning extensive and costly activities/entertainment. They do not care.   Save the characters in costumes etc for when they are old enough to appreciate it (or not be afraid of it). Keep in mind what may be fun and cute on TV may be terrifying when it is life size and in person. Cameron’s party, we blew up balloons and had foam pirate swords and the kids were entertained.

Mistake #4

Treating it as a full blown party. When you have this approach you will spend more money. Instead of a full blown party, approach it as a play-date but with cake, a light menu, and goodies.

Mistake #5

This goes back to number 1. Timing is everything. For first birthdays 1 to 2 hours tops is good. Anything beyond that is too much and will guarantee you a meltdown.

Mistake #6

Using a venue. Sometimes it is good to use a venue for large gatherings instead of cramming people into your home. First birthdays, a gathering at home or at a park is cost effective.

Mistake #7

DO NOT let your baby pig out on the smash cake. You will pay for it later. If you would like a cranky baby with a tummy ache and the most horrible sh*tty diaper ever afterwards, go right ahead. We usually let them eat a little, play in it and then take it away.


Mistake #8

Not being realistic with the budget. Whenever I plan a party big or small, I always make a budget. I price things and determine the changes that need to be made based off of how much I want to spend. If you allocate a certain amount for favors, and what you planned to get goes over that; do not force it. Omit something or find and more cost effective alternative. One thing I have found that makes great favors besides the cheap stuff from the party stores and candy is bubbles. I jazz them up by making custom labels and tags for them.

Mistake #9

Waiting until the last minute to plan. I always plan my kid’s parties ahead. I come up with a theme and prepare months in advance. I do this because I have multiple kids, sales, and oh yeah sales. I have found that you can buy certain things during certain times of the year that will work great for parties. For example, bubbles. Bubbles are a seasonal item in some stores. They are available from Spring through Summer. When the season is about to end, stores put them on clearance. I ALWAYS stock up because as mentioned above, they make great party favors. I usually buy them from Michaels Arts and Crafts stores and Target. With Cody’s party, I knew I was going to do a cowboy theme. After Christmas, all of the little red lanterns and ropes, pails etc were on clearance. I bought these items and used them for decorations for cheap.

A lot of times when we plan parties for our kids, a lot of things sound like a good idea until you get into the planning aspects. I learned that whether I have an ice sculpture, full course meal, and every character from Disney walking  around or just some balloons, cupcakes, and a whistle; my baby will not give a damn. I found myself really racking my brain planning all of their first birthday parties. It took some time for me to really grasp being a little more straight forward. As I looked back at planning all of my babies parties, I thought about how it was all in the name to entertain other people. My baby was going to be celebrated regardless, so why was I stressing myself out trying to have an epic party for someone who sh*ts on themselves and won’t understand what is going on.

Do’s of first birthday parties

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Remember they will love whatever you do (big or small)
  3. Do not over stimulate
  4. Plan the party around nap time
  5. Keep the guest list short
  6. Serve light refreshments
  7. Take lots of pictures
  8. Purchase what is reasonable and realistic budget wise
  9. Smash cake! (self explanatory)
  10. Have fun!




21 thoughts on “Surviving 1st Birthday Parties

  1. lecypoore says:

    What a cutie! These are some great tips you’ve shared here! For my nephew’s first birthday, his smash cake was just a cupcake – which he had a blast with and it was good portion control. 🙂


  2. InMomMode says:

    These are such good tips! I also planned the parties during nap before and you son wasn’t sure happy the whole time. I’ll get it right for the next one.


  3. Rose says:

    I never did a huge party for my kids. Immediate family and that was it. I don’t understand how all the showy things like bounce houses, ponies, balloons and large cakes had anything to do with he birthday child. Less fuss.Less mess. Less stress. Focus on the child not on all the fixings. All that fluff is not necessary. Who is it really for?


  4. girlfromgirlintherapy says:

    I really like Mistakes #4 and #8. All in all, great tips! And I like how you summed them all up at the end.

    I’ll be sure to take note when my turn comes 😉


  5. Jennifer says:

    These are VERY good tips! I remember planning a birthday party for one of my children (I have four kids) during nap time. We had to wait until she woke up to start her party. LOL! I learned my lesson big time. And I agree with you about not planning a big party because it really does overwhelm the baby. So now I plan family get together and wait until my children are older to plan the larger parties.


  6. Janine Good says:

    These are great suggestions and mistakes to avoid. The nap time one I completely agree as they will not enjoy it if tired! I will pass this on to my friends who have children approaching their first birthday!


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