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Planning the perfect 1st Birthday Party

Planning the perfect 1st Birthday Party

Planning the perfect 1st Birthday Party

We all know what makes for a great time at a holiday party, sweet sixteen party, and super bowl party, but what about a baby’s first birthday? If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What do you do for a 1st birthday party?”, then you’re not alone. This article explores what you can do to celebrate your baby’s first birthday along with tips and obstacles you may face along the way.

How much should you spend on a 1st birthday party?

This is one of the number one questions parents ask about first birthday parties. In this day and age of elaborate birthday parties for preschoolers, many parents do wonder if what they’re planning will be enough to satisfy the Facebook masses. The answer is...It’s up to you, but whatever you choose to do, just make it fun for you and baby. Some people pay as much as $1,000 while others who want a smaller scale, quiet party do it for about $150. 

Planning the perfect 1st birthday party

Some people just invite a few friends over and turn it into a gameday-style party. Others choose to invite close family and make it a quiet family affair. One month before the party, make a list of guests as well as the items you’ll need for the party such as a cake, food, goody bags, and decorations.

Date and Time

The first thing to do when planning your baby’s 1st birthday party is decide on a date and time for the party. What is a good time for a first birthday party? Does your baby’s first birthday fall on a holiday weekend like Labor Day? If so, perhaps choose an alternate weekend so that your guests can make it. Weekends are best, but if you have to choose a weekday, choose Friday. This is a day that others can leave work early on if needed. Afterall everyone likes to end the workweek with a party. Babies tend to tire out fast, so perhaps you’ll want to choose to hold the party in the daytime while your little one is awake and happy. Evenings make for tired babies and your evening birthday party could turn into a crying festival if the party time is too late.

When choosing a venue other than home, make sure the space is baby-proof. Make sure there are no sharp objects like a sharp-cornered coffee table, open electric plug sockets, chemicals, or medications in the area.

Guest List and Invitations

Next, you’ll want to compile a list of family and friends to invite to the party. Most parents invite only immediate family and close friends. Having a large group is fine, too, but consider how much stimulation your child can handle. Some babies become irritable with too many people and competing voices. Do you have friends who live within ten minutes of your home? You may want to invite them to avoid hurt feelings. As you know, everyone keeps up with who was invited to a party that’s posted all over Facebook. If they see party photos posted on your Facebook feed, they may wonder why they weren’t invited.

Keeping a guest list on a spreadsheet is helpful, especially if you plan to invite more than ten people. If you aren’t familiar with Google Sheets, give it a try. Simply click on the Google Apps icon (9 dots in a square) in the top right hand corner of your gmail account window. In the Google Apps drop-down menu that appears, select Google Drive and then in the left-hand top corner of the screen, select the “New” plus button. From this menu, you can choose Google Sheets. You can even download birthday part spreadsheets online by searching for them on Google. Pinterest has loads of birthday party budget and list templates as well as awesome party decorating ideas. No matter what spreadsheet you use, make sure to record each party goer’s name, phone number, and email address.

Using an event organizing service such as Evite.com simplifies the invitation process, but these services do charge. A beginning package at Evite costs $12.99 per an event of up to 15 guests. Other event services that do electronic invitations are Pingg, Crusher, and MyPunchBowl. An easy and cheap way to invite guests to a party is to use Facebook. You simply create an event and invite your Facebook friends. However, keep in mind that not everyone is on Facebook, and not everyone uses it religiously.

You can use the old fashioned way of inviting guests--paper invitations. Creating a hard copy invitation by using a photo service such as Shutterfly or even Walgreens photo adds a more personal touch to your invitations. Plus, the cards make great memory pieces for your baby’s scrapbook. It’s a good idea to do this 3-4 weeks before the party date.

Thank You Cards

While you’re choosing invitations, think about choosing thank you cards, too. In fact, it’s a good idea to purchase these ahead of time and have them ready along with a book of stamps for after the party ends. A handwritten note is thoughtful and memorable. Already having them on hand makes it easier to get them done after the party is over. 

1st Birthday Party Cake

You can purchase a beautiful birthday cake from a grocery store, Walmart, Target, or from a local bakery. Just make sure that you order the cake in time. Some stores and bakeries require a longer heads up than others, so it’s best to check ahead of time. Walmart and Target usually require around 24-48 hours notice.

Many new parents enjoy getting their baby a separate mashable cake for cute and funny pictures of their baby grabbing gobs of cake with his/her hands. You can buy a small round cake from the grocery store for this purpose, or if you’d like to splurge, order it from the bakery in addition to the regular sized birthday cake.

Don’t forget to buy birthday cake candles and matches for the first birthday party. PartyThings.ca has some awesome customized candles for your baby’s first birthday party cake as well as birthday decorations for your baby’s high chair.

1st Birthday Party Supplies

A party is not complete without lively and colorful decorations. Pick a theme or color for your baby’s first birthday party. For instance, PartyThings.ca has “One is Fun” 1st birthday party packages for boys first birthday and girls first birthday. They also offer jungle, ladybugs, trains, planes, circus animals, and other playful birthday party themes for theme parties.

Babies love mylar balloons, lanterns, and fluffy hanging decorations. Party hats and toys are also a nice touch for baby’s first birthday party. Birthday crowns, banners, tablecloths, and favors are available by theme at PartyThings.ca. It’s a good idea to buy everything with one consistent theme, however, it’s your baby’s first birthday, so choose whatever brings joy to your baby girl or baby boy.

If you’re inviting families with children, consider ordering goodie bags and party favors for the little ones.


Some people choose to cater a first birthday party and some people bring out the nuts and finger food. It’s up to you whether you want the party to be casual or a little more posh. If you’d like a more casual offering of food, consider ordering deli or hors d’oeuvre platters. Walmart, Target, and some grocery stores prepare deli platters for parties. It’s a good idea to call your local store a week ahead of time to make sure you reserve a platter in time for the party. Some people celebrate with a cookout. If you do, plan ahead with your guest list in mind to make sure you order enough food and tableware.

Last Minute Tips for Baby’s 1st Birthday Party

One of the number one things that parents forget to do when planning a baby's first birthday party is to charge their phone or camera. Imagine the day of the party and your camera battery shows one bar or your camera’s memory card is full. Avoid this major mistake by charging the camera the night before the party. Also, make sure that you have plenty of storage space available on your camera or smartphone before the day of the party. Google Photos is a great way to share photos among family and friends. If your friends take photos at the party, ask if they can share them with you via Google Photos or another photosharing app.

Please don’t forget to set out the baby’s birthday outfit and shoes in an obvious place the night before the party, so you won’t have to scramble to find a festive outfit for baby at the last minute. 

Another last minute tip that a lot of people fail to remember to do is assign someone to write down who gave what gift at the party. This gift list will come in handy after the party when you sit down to write thank you cards.

We hope that this checklist and tips will help your baby’s 1st birthday party be a great success and memory maker.

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