Article Summary:Important considerations when planning baby's first birthday party celebration.
You made it through the ups and downs of baby's first year. Now it's time to celebrate!
Some parents choose to keep the first birthday simple and small - just the immediate family. After all, baby is too young to appreciate a big bash. But others just can't resist and they spend months planning a lavish affair, complete with catered food, entertainment and a lengthy guest list.
Most parents opt for something in the middle: A party for family and friends, a few decorations, traditional birthday cake and gifts for the birthday boy or girl.
Whatever the choice, baby's one-year birthday is a real milestone. Before you know it, your child will be a full-fledged toddler, so take the time to remember the last 12 months. Acknowledge your accomplishments as a parent and everything that baby has learned in the first year of life.
So, how do you plan a party that is right for you? Here are some helpful tips for creating a memorable first birthday celebration.
Location, Location, Location
Most baby experts agree that your home is the best location since this is where baby is most comfortable. However, using a relatives' or a close friend's home - especially if baby is very familiar with the surroundings will also work. Even if money is no object, remember that you want your child to enjoy the birthday experience. Therefore, renting a restaurant, community center or going to a kid-themed pizza parlor is probably just too much sensory overload for a one-year-old.
Short and Sweet
Although it is tempting to invite guests for an entire afternoon and evening, it works best to keep the party fairly short. This is especially important if you have a number of children invited to the party. Kids and babies can reach overload pretty quickly, so plan on about two to three hours maximum. That will give everyone the chance to mingle, hold the birthday baby, take plenty of photos, have some food and enjoy the presents.
You know your little one best, so plan the party during a time your baby is usually awake and in the best humor. A birthday party will work during the day, so you shouldn't have to miss a nap to make the party a success.
Get Older Kids Involved
If you have toddlers or school age children coming to the party then you need to serve food and drinks that are appropriate. Older kids can be put to work. Ask them to help serve snacks, help open gifts and serve the cake. They will love you for it. Give the kids a goody bag as a thank you.
Watch Those Little Hands
If you will have toddlers at the party, then you will want to move breakables out of the way. Their parents may be distracted, and you don't want to have accidents. Also, family pets can sometimes be aggressive when there is a lot of commotion and noise. So, it may be best to keep your dogs and cats away.
Make it Manageable
Keep things simple so you can enjoy the party. Remember that you will also be responsible for the birthday boy or girl which normally is a full-time job!
Prepare Ahead of Time
Know what you are going to wear and what you plan to dress baby in for his or her big day. Be sure to have a back up outfit as you will probably need it for baby. Buy and prepare foods ahead of time. Finger foods are a great option. A self-serve buffet and drink table are great serving options. Don't overdo on the decorations, as your baby should be the center of attention.
Help! Don't be Shy...Ask for Assistance
Ask friends and family for their help before guests arrive and during the party. Have your cousin take pictures while her husband runs the video camera. Ask a good friend to pass snacks and another person to keep the beverages stocked. Your sister could be in charge of music and gifts, while your Mother has kitchen duty.
Decorations and a Theme
Picking a theme might sound silly since this is a birthday party for a one-year-old. However, a theme - as long as it is a common one – is actually a good idea. Say you choose a princess theme. Then, all your choices for the cake, decorations and even what to wear can revolve around a pink, girlie theme. And, your guests can follow suit by selecting a gift that matches the theme.
So, what's really important to remember when planning a first birthday party?
- Your baby is the star so plan the party accordingly.
- Do as much ahead as possible and ask others for help.
- Capture the day with pictures and video.
- Most important: Have fun and enjoy the celebration!
Nancy Wurtzel is the founder and owner of All About Baby, an online store located at www.allbaby.com. All About Baby offers more than 300 personalized and memorable baby gifts for young children. The site also features interesting and helpful child-related content. Ms. Wurtzel has over 25 years of marketing and communications experience. She consults with small businesses seeking to enter the marketplace or grow their existing e-commerce business.