This past weekend we hosted Aidan’s 1st birthday party (early) with friends & family with a “Wild & One” theme. We had a small group come over for lunch to play, open presents, attempt a smash cake, and just reminisce about the year we had. For all you mom’s & dad’s out there planning your little one’s first birthday party (or second, or third…), I thought I’d share some of my lessons learned & ideas to make the day as relaxing & entertaining as possible!
Tips for a Successful Kid’s Birthday Party:
1. Save yourself some stress – buy prepared food! I had been told & told & told: don’t go to the trouble and stress of trying to make the food on your own. While yes, it is a money saver, it’s worth the extra money to buy prepared food or have a restaurant cater. We decided to go for Chik fil a, because honestly, who doesn’t love those chicken nuggets?? We ordered a large platter of nuggets, a salad, a mixed sandwich/wrap tray & a gallon of lemonade. We also had cupcakes that I ordered from the local bakery, The Flying Cupcake.
2. Don’t forget kid friendly snacks! I was very conscientious of providing kid-friendly snacks like Goldfish crackers, Teddy Grahams, Animal Crackers, pasta salad, and staying clear of nuts.
3. Save some money – get a small “smash” cake. Instead of spending $20+ on a “smash” cake for Aidan, we decided to just get him a cupcake, knowing he’d never eat the entire thing. I’m so glad we did this, because he ended up HATING the cupcake anyway. What child doesn’t love frosting?? If you spend the money to cater the meal, save some money on the cake!
4. Think outside the box on themes. I really struggled to pick a theme for Aidan’s 1st birthday. He doesn’t quite have any defined interests, and I wanted to stay away from the cliches of Mickey Mouse, trains, construction until he started to develop those interests more. I also couldn’t wrap my arms around a “color” only theme, because I needed some ideas to inspire me. Of course, I stuck to Pinterest and tried to narrow my search based on items we already had on hand. Since Aidan had the teepee already in his playroom, I wanted to find a theme centered around that. What started out as a “camping” theme quickly became a “Wild & One” theme as I narrowed my search in Pinterest.
5. Timing is everything. Boy, I had no idea how difficult it was to find a “good time” for a party for little kids. Keep in mind nap times, travel times for guests, prep time you’ll want that day, other plans you or your guests may have, and go from there. I originally had the party scheduled 1-3 because Aidan is still on 2 naps a day, but most of the guests had kids who only have 1 nap a day, scheduled right at 1PM. I moved the party up to 11:30, made it a lunch, and made sure to put Aidan down a little earlier than normal so he wouldn’t be overly tired. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the best for everyone.
6. Keep the decorations simple. Since we’re still moving in, our dining room was sitting empty. I decided to put all the decorations in that room, including a couple tables of food that was the focus for all our photos. We had balloons throughout the house, but kept the house pretty clear so there was plenty of room for toys & ensured everything was still “baby proofed”. Also, make sure you order decorations ahead of time. I ran into an unfortunate incident with an Etsy vendor who didn’t ship my balloons in time. The arrived the day of the party, but too late. I was so bummed, but it was my fault for not ordering in time and not being clear when I needed the package to arrive. Don’t wait until the last minute or you could miss out!
7. Take a ton of pictures & Enjoy! We unfortunately never got a photo of the 3 of us (my husband, Aidan & I) because we were too busy socializing & my husband took most of the photos. Before the party starts, I recommend thinking through what photos you want to capture & designate someone to remind you throughout the day. This is such an emotional day that you not only want to be in the moment, but CAPTURE the moment as well!!
We are so thankful to everyone who came out and celebrate with us! It’s hard to believe a year has gone by and we are now entering the “toddler” stage!
Vendors we used: Teepee / Cupcakes / Cupcake Toppers / Garland / Wild & One T-Shirt / Gold Foil Balloon “1”
What theme did you use for your little one’s birthday? What tips do you have for other families in the planning process??