Can you believe it’s been a year since you had your baby? You want to celebrate, of course, but planning a birthday party for a one-year- old is a little different than planning a party for a five-year-old. Your baby won’t care about the decorations or the size of the cake – but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw a great party to commemorate the occasion!
Use these tips to make the party enjoyable for both you and your little one.
1. Personalize it with custom invitations.
Though Facebook events and evites are useful for tracking RSVP numbers, there’s something special about sending paper invitations to guests. You can merge the online and physical world by creating invitations online and sending them out.
“I recommend sending an online invitation. Not only does that make your job a lot easier — a few clicks and you’re done — but guests will also be able to RSVP online, which means that there’s even less work for you,” says Rachel Sales of the online print shop Smilebox.
“To ensure that friends designate part of their weekend to your baby’s party, create an invitation that features your baby’s irresistible smile.”
2. Invite parents with kids around the same age.
Your guest list should also be a high priority and you want to invite the right people. Family members are usually invited – they’ll likely want to celebrate on your special day. In addition, look for friends with kids close in age to yours. You’ll enjoy socializing with the parents, and it’s good for young children to spend time together.
Try not to invite too many people, however. Your goal should be intimacy and you want to avoid overwhelming your baby.
3. Plan your menu for babies and adults.
At a year old, most babies consume more than just milk, and it may be worthwhile to include some mushy foods for them to munch on like smashed bananas. Carrot sticks are also good for teething babies to chew on.
Plan a more sophisticated selection for the adults, however. At a one-year- old’s birthday party, you likely won’t have a sit-down meal – therefore, focus on appetizers and hor’doeurves. Choose some of your favorites and peruse Pinterest for ideas.
4. Hire or designate an official photographer.
You’ll regret not having someone take photos at the party. Your baby’s first birthday only happens once. It’s an event that should be well documented, especially when your precious little one dives into the cake.
Though a professional photographer can take amazing staged photos and knows how to get just the right candids, the expense isn’t necessary if you’re on a budget. You might just assign a family member or friend to handle the camera. Overall, just make sure someone’s in charge of this essential task.
5. Have the party at home.
If at all possible, try to have the party at your home. It’s tempting to rent a party hall or a play place, but your one-year- old likely won’t enjoy the over-stimulation, and that money could be better spent elsewhere.
“Hosting the event at home means guests can hang out longer and baby has a place to nap if he or she gets tired,” says Sarah Yang from The Bump. “Plus, baby might be more comfortable in familiar surroundings.”
6. Choose a theme.
This one isn’t mandatory, but it adds to the fun. A theme creates more poignant memories and makes planning a little easier since food and decorations can revolve around one central idea.
Choosing a theme is the difficult part. As you entertain some ideas, consider your baby’s interests. If your baby’s favorite snuggle toy is a tiger, you could choose a circus theme. If they love books, make that the central idea.
7. Order a baby-friendly cake.
Many party-planners order two cakes: a beautiful cake for their guests to enjoy and a smash cake for the baby.
“You’re going to need a big cake for all of your guests, but don’t make the rookie mistake of forgetting to order a smash cake too,” says Bethany Ramos from She Knows. “Smash cakes are the latest in first birthday party trends (basically a smaller version of the big cake for the birthday boy or girl to go crazy on), and they can be ordered separately with their own message, candles and decorations.
Make sure the smash cake is baby-friendly. Basically, avoid any cake toppers that could be choke hazards or edible decorations that the baby won’t be able to chew.
8. Be sensitive to the needs of the baby.
As you plan the festivities and go about your day, don’t forget about the VIP. If your baby shows signs of irritation, give them some space to feel comfortable. If they don’t want to leave your arms to play with the other kids, don’t force it.
Additionally, keep it short—two hours max. They likely aren’t used to crowds, so the party stimulation will wear them out.
Putting your baby first is the best way to maintain smiles through the entire bash!