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How to Celebrate Your Baby’s First Milestone: Throwing a Memorable 1st Birthday Party

How to Celebrate Your Baby’s First Milestone: Throwing a Memorable 1st Birthday Party How to Celebrate Your Baby’s First Milestone: Throwing a Memorable 1st Birthday Party

In honor of our birthday month, we’re celebrating birthdays all month long! And let’s be honest, there’s no birthday quite as special as the first.

For any parent who has reached this milestone, you know what we’re talking about. Here you are with an energetic, lively one-year-old who doesn’t look – or act – so babyish anymore. They’re eating solids, babbling phrases, and toddling around, and you're ready to celebrate.

The first birthday is as much a celebration for parents as it is for their child. While your little one might not remember this day, it’s a chance to go all out and celebrate the big milestone with a party!

This occasion honors all those sleepless nights and sacrifices you and your loved ones made to get through the first twelve months, and that’s something truly worth celebrating!

Are you planning your child’s first birthday party? Here at LS, we’re the experts on celebrating your kiddos every day, so allow us to guide you on everything you need to know about first birthday party planning!

How to start planning a first birthday party

It’s time to begin the official party planning process, but before you get bogged down in the details, let’s settle on a few key things first…like budget, location, and who to invite.

1. Create a budget
It’s easy to overspend when planning a party. Venues, food, and decorations can quickly add up. To avoid financial strain, set a budget and track all expenses. Prioritize major costs like venue, entertainment, and food, then allocate what’s left to extras like decorations. Whether your budget is $100 or $1,000, it’ll be a fantastic party!

2. Decide where to host
Decide whether to host the party at home or choose a venue like a public park, play museum, or kid-friendly restaurant. If hosting at home, consider if you have enough space and supplies, and weigh the stress and cost against going somewhere else. Choose based on what’s most important to you, such as the comfort of home versus the convenience of another location.

3. Choose who to invite
What is a celebration without those we love most? Deciding on a guest list is surprisingly difficult, especially if you’re trying to stick to a certain guest limit for space or budgeting purposes.

There are a number of things to consider when creating your guest list. For one, do you want to keep this as an intimate, family-only affair, or do you want to invite friends and acquaintances as well? If your kid is in childcare, do you want to include their classmates? How many additional people will be coming if you include classmates or friends? Decide what headcount you're limited to, and then create your guest list based on that.

Siblings in matching birthday builders print pajamas

Now, for choosing a first birthday party theme

One of the most difficult steps in party planning is choosing a theme! Get your wheels turning with these ideas, many of which were inspired by the families in our Facebook VIP Group!

Something your kid loves: One easy way to choose a theme is to pick something your child is interested in, like dinosaurs, trains, princesses, unicorns, sharks, or maybe a certain character they adore, like Mickey Mouse or Bluey. You’re sure to spark some joy on your toddler’s face if you pick something they love.

Be punny: If you’re into playful puns, you could go with a theme that celebrates turning one, which we’ve seen done again and again in our Facebook VIP Group. Cheeky, easy-to-execute themes like “first trip around the sun,” “first rodeo,” “berry first birthday,” “wild one,” “one happy camper,” and other endearing ideas tie into the theme! The playful possibilities are endless.

No theme, no problem: Don’t want to be tied down by a theme? There’s always the approach of going with a themeless party that focuses on the act of celebrating. If you want to keep things a bit more universal but still fun, you could go with something like a pajama party, coffee and donuts morning party, or another unconventional but exciting idea that’s fun for parents & children alike.

siblings in matching prehistoric birthday print pajamas

Fun ways to personalize the party

You can lean into your theme and go all out with decorations, food, games, and entertainment, or you can simply sprinkle bits of the theme throughout the party. Let’s look at some of the ways you can personalize parties with things like food, decor, and entertainment.

First birthday party decor: Places like Amazon and Etsy are great resources to shop your decoration ideas for things like balloons, backdrops, table cloths, party favors, and serving supplies. If you’re unsure about what you need, or perhaps you want to take more of an affordable DIY approach, you can find tons of inspiration on resourceful sites like Pinterest.

But, don’t feel like you have to emulate exactly what you’re seeing with all those extravagant celebrations. Take suggestions and customize them, whether that’s blowing up your own balloon garland or sticking with solid-color paper plates and napkins instead of the pricier character-specific supplies.

First birthday party food: Need menu inspiration? Consider playful nods to a theme, like dinosaur nuggets, animal-shaped cookies, or a Bluey or Disney cake from a favorite bakery.

If you’re stumped on what kind of bites to offer, just remember that little kids are usually picky with what they eat, so choose foods they’ll enjoy along with the adults. You can cater food from a favorite eatery if that's in your budget, but if you can’t, keep it simple with easy-to-prepare, fuss-free foods like pasta salad, fruit skewers, pizza bites, and other simple but satisfying eats.

First birthday party entertainment: Keeping your guests entertained is often a main concern for hosts. While lively conversation and adorable babies are sure to help move things along, it’s great to have games and entertainment, too!

If you have a comfortable budget, look into booking entertainment. Face painters, characters in costume, magicians or a mobile petting zoo are all fun ideas. If you don’t want to splurge on entertainment, your guests will have just as much fun with theme-specific games and activities like pin the tail on donkey, a DIY photo booth, piñatas, bubble machines, ball pits, and other smile-sparking activities.

Don’t forget to capture the memories

When you’re busy hosting and entertaining, time can slip away without you documenting your child’s first birthday party. But, believe us, you’re going to want to look back at this memory-making day in the years to come. So, what’s the best way to document a first birthday party?

Pick, or pay, a person to document the day: Ambitious as you may be, if you’re hosting a party it’s unlikely you’ll have time to step away from serving food, pouring drinks, and chasing after babies to take photos or video.

With that, it’s helpful to designate someone, whether that be a friend, family member, or even a professional photographer or videographer, to capture clips and snaps so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Taking the burden off yourself and letting someone else do the work so you can actually be in some of the photos is a worthwhile gift to yourself and your baby.

Create a first birthday party keepsake book: It’s no secret we live in a time that prioritizes digital memories over physical media. While there’s an ease and efficiency of storing photos in the cloud, there’s nothing quite as sentimental or sweet as a photobook or album you can thumb through right in front of you.

There are a variety of ways you can create a physical photo book with trusted sites like Artifact Uprising, Chatbooks, and Mixbook. You can also print photos and keep them in a bound photo album of your choice as well. If you do choose to create a printed photo book, we suggest ordering two copies: one for your kid’s bookshelf that can endure a few blemishes and one pristine copy to store with cherished mementos.

Mother with two daughters in matching magical birthday print pajamas

Make it a day to remember

It’s not every day something like a first birthday comes around, and we’re all for making the most of it. This celebration is for your little one who is turning one, but don’t forget this is also a day to recognize all those humbling, heartfelt months it took to get you to this moment. You, too, are worth celebrating!

Plan your kid’s first birthday party in a way that works for you — whether that’s throwing an elaborate bash or keeping it small & intimate. No matter what you do, your birthday boy or girl will be thrilled with the results!

Do you have any tips or ideas for those knee deep in first birthday party planning? Share them in the comments or join the convo in our Little Sleepies Facebook VIP Group!


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