From the very beginning, I told myself that I wasn’t going to be one of those parents who throws an over-the-top first birthday party when their child can barely walk and barely knows what’s going on. I figured a few homemade cupcakes and decorations from the party store would do the trick. We’d take a few pictures, smash some icing on our son’s face, and chill for the rest of the day. That sounded like a pretty solid plan to me. Unfortunately, first birthday planning turned out to be way more than that!
So to save you any surprises, here are five tips for first birthday planning.
5 Tips for First Birthday Planning
Do As Much As You Can Before the Party
We decided to have a cookout because throwing a few hot dogs and burgers on the grill was easy. I decided to make the cupcakes and pasta salad the night before and thankfully I did because it definitely made things runs a lot smoother the day of the party. I didn’t have to spend the entire party cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.
Be Prepared for Meltdowns
My plan was for us to take family pictures in matching white t-shirts and blue jeans early that morning before people arrived for the party, but my son had other plans. He decided that on this particular morning, he would be the fussiest he’d ever been! Needless to say, the family photos never happened and I have no feelings about it. Meh.
Keep It Simple
Unless you’re doing a themed party, you really don’t need many decorations. I bought a few balloons from the party store, put up a “Happy Birthday” banner, and decorated his high chair. That was all we needed. He didn’t have a theme because themed cups, plates, hats, and napkins cost more for no damn reason!
You Need a Major Distraction
I realized that it would be cute to have some of his little friends over to play with him. But that meant that I needed a fun activity that would also be safe for toddlers; way harder than it sounds! Thankfully, my best friend and sister-in-law both gifted my son ball pits which turned out to be a huge hit at the party. Note to parents: Little kids love ball pits.
Bubble Machines Are Your Friend Until They’re Not
I was also ahead of the game by ordering a bubble machine from Amazon a couple days before. (Thank you, Amazon Prime!) The plan was to plug it up on the back porch and place it in the grass to make millions of bubbles. Unfortunately, I’m not a real adult because I didn’t have an orange extension cord handy. So I had to settle for having the bubble machine make tons of slippery, unsafe bubbles on the porch. It was fun for a moment but then it became a hazard.
All in all, his first birthday party turned out to be wonderful. He was surrounded by family and friends, partied hard, and had a good time. I, on the other hand, enjoyed a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate him going to sleep and the day finally being over. We probably won’t do another “big” birthday party until he turns five. And even then, I might opt to have it somewhere that I don’t have to decorate and clean up afterward. Dare I say it… Chuck E. Cheese’s?