Let’s just start by admitting something that we all know is true- first birthday parties are for mommy and daddy and their guests. But, just because your baby won’t remember the party doesn’t mean you can’t make it special! After all, this is a big day for you, too, and you will always have the photos to show them later!
Carefully Create the Guest List
While some babies are extremely social, it isn’t at all uncommon for one year olds to be scared or uncomfortable in large groups of strangers. Keep this in mind when you’re creating your guest list and try to invite people who your child is familiar and comfortable with, and keep the crowd relatively small. You don’t want to spend the entire party trying to calm a crying baby!
Decorating for a first birthday is easy. By now, your child may exhibit some preference for certain colors over others- you can see this in which toys and objects they’re drawn to the most. If they seem to have picked a favorite color, you’re already one step ahead of the game! Either way, choose a color/pattern theme that you believe your child will like. If your child likes Winnie the Pooh or Minnie Mouse or any of the other various popular children’s cartoons, it is easy to find decorations featuring these characters, such as plates, party hats, gift bags, and party favors. Remember that infants are drawn to movement, so decorations that have some flow to them- like streamers, curled ribbons, spirals, and balloons- will be visually appealing.
Entertain the Kids
Again, it’s important not to overwhelm your baby and while some acts may be too much for your child, it is always nice to have some kind of entertainment available for the party guests. You know your child better than anyone and you can be the judge of what they’ll be comfortable with and enjoy the most. If a lot of children will be present, consider a Costumed Character, Magician, or Clown to interact with the kids and keep them entertained. Other great options for children’s entertainment include Face Painters, Balloon Twisters, and Children’s Music Acts.
Food and Drinks
Two words: finger foods. Aside from being great party snacks with very little cleanup, they’re kid friendly- and what’s more important than that at a first birthday party? Some easy, kid-friendly bites include cubes of cheese, crackers, fresh cut fruit, mini-sandwiches (pb&j, grilled cheese), and ice cream.
For bigger meals, choose foods that are crowd-pleasing and easy for baby to eat. A few foods to consider are macaroni and cheese, apple sauce, pasta salad, or casserole
Let’s not forget about the birthday cake! It’s a great idea to get two cakes for a first birthday- one for you and your guests and a small “smash cake” for the birthday baby! Get your cameras ready, this is the cutest/messiest part!
Be sure to have plenty of juice, fruit punch, and milk available for the little guests!
Make sure that the baby gets plenty of rest before the party so they don’t snooze through the entire thing!
With that said, very young children will be worn out by a long party- so, keep it on the short side. Between one and two hours is a good rule of thumb.
Be cautious of dangers to the children. Babies have a tendency to test just about anything using their mouths, so be sure to avoid potential choking hazards when picking out party favors and decorations.
You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Being a parent to a one-year-old takes a lot of time and focus. If you need help with anything- from the decorations to the photos, don’t be afraid to bring in help. A Photographer or Videographer can capture all of the precious moments (and get you in the frame, too). Caterers or Cake Decorators can whip up the perfect tasty treats for your guests’ enjoyment. If you’re looking for a lot of help, leave the stress to a professional Event Planner. All of these entertainers and services are more than happy to make your child’s first birthday unforgettable (well, for you). And for all your family-friendly entertainment needs, visit GigSalad!