10 Steps to Baby’s First Birthday Soiree

1st Birthday Party

As prior discussed E is 9 months 2 weeks (yes I am that mom) giving me 2.5 short months to plan a birthday. I am in a state of panic. There is so much to do and I want to know every little stinking detail and I want the party to match the vision I have in my head.Planning a party for my daughter’s first birthday is severe enough. I want it to be perfect! Throw in the fact that I am doing it for an event some 2000 miles away and my head might explode. Pretty much I consider myself a control freak. Not having the ability to go to venues, taste cakes, see decor in person is enough to drive me mad. I just want to share with all you new mommies the issues I have run into and the things I think you need to know before jumping headfirst into your first birthday party!

Choose a Theme

The entire party will be surrounded by this one thing. If you don’t have a theme in place you can’t really choose much else. The food, venue, and clothing choices are all dependent upon what vision you have for the party. And in this theme are you expecting guests to dress up or down? If they show up in yoga pants and their husband’s t-shirt is that ok? I have chosen my theme (I’m not sharing) and now have begun to plan everything else about the party!

Establish a Budget

This is something that you need to figure out in the beginning. It will cut down on a lot of things that you can and cannot afford. If you are looking at a $500 budget, obviously you can’t afford a $400 venue and a $200 cake. Also consider the amount of guests and what it will cost you to have said number. You need to also choose what parts of the party will be allocated the largest and smallest part of your budget.

Pick Your Venue

Choosing the location of the event is super important. If you are wanting a garden party, but the place doesn’t have an outdoor space, then what? Well you could bring the outdoors in, and make your own garden, but is it really worth all the trouble? Also you need to make sure the venue can handle the amount of people you want present at the party. Also revisit the budget, if the price of a venue you love is out of reach, consider reallocating funds, or find another space. Between my boo and me, E’s ‘close’ family (aunts, uncles, and grandparents) is about 25. This leads us to the issue of finding a place, as no one has the space in their house to host a party of that magnitude. Enter the venue hunt.

Time of Day/Day of the Week

After you choose your venue and theme it’s time to consider when you’d like the party to be held. The time of day and day of the week will play a roll in costs. Some venues charge more for weekend/evening parties so be prepared to shell out some clams for those types of events. Also dependent upon what time of the day the party is, some guests might be expecting more food. I have chosen to have it around 2 in the afternoon. It’s a good time for snacks and cake, and it won’t interfere with E’s nap schedule (even in a different time zone)!

Choose Your Guest List

More than likely at a first birthday party it will be close friends and family. This is not uncommon, it is customary to begin inviting other children around the time your child begins to attend school. A good rule is one child for each year (3 would be 3 child guests) plus 2. So your 3 year old could in theory have 5 ‘friends’ as guests. I would also reccomend only inviting people you like. If you hate J’s mother, I wouldn’t invite J.


I love paper everything. Invitations are no exception, I think all guests should receive an invite in the mail. Choosing the design of the invite, and whether you plan to purchase or make it yourself is something to take into consideration. Also be sure to send party invites at least 3 weeks prior to the event.

To Game or Not to Game

I think that party games in most circumstances are a must. If some guests don’t know everyone at the party, games can be an ice breaker and introduce everyone. It also takes up some time, between cake and gifts and food. Decide ahead of time if and what games you will play. I don’t particularly plan on games at a 1 year old’s birthday party. So there probably won’t be.


At a birthday party cake is usually the dessert you will find. And often times it will be accompanied by ice cream. Blue Bell here I come! It is a common trend for cupcakes to be served at parties now. There is no cutting and having to divide up the cake, simply purchase your individual portion sized cake and voila. For E’s first birthday I am most likely doing cupcakes and a smash cake for her, so no one has to eat the cake she spit on and stuck her baby hands in!


In addition to the dessert you will probably want to feed your guests. In some events people will expect no more than finger foods/appetizers and in other setting there might be an expectation of a meal. You choose what you want to do, it is pretty much common for a birthday party to be a ‘snack’ event. Most people don’t roll up on an empty stomach, expecting a full on meal.

Party Attire

Obviously without question the birthday girl/boy needs an amaze balls outfit for their birthday. I think that on your birthday you should have something nice maybe new, but feel like a million bucks. I always like to on my birthday and E will be no different. She will have amazing party dresses (I die one is on the way!!!!)from here until she yells she hates me and slams the door in my face. Then she can find her own stinkin’ dress.

Bonus Idea!

Keepsake Box

This is something extra I plan on doing for E’s first birthday. Have all the guests bring some type of memorandum of E’s first year of life, whether it is something about her, advice for her, or something they think she will find interesting. I will put in a little trinket or 2 as well as pictures of her party, and on her 18th birthday she can open it up and see something that’s been in a ‘time capsule’ for 17 years!

picture courtesy of Studio Fusion

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