So, a certain little royal is turning the big ONE next week. If you too are planning a first birthday party that could rival Prince George’s then here’s a few tips from my own experience that may help.
As I love planning a party or gathering. I really can’t help it. I love coming up with a theme and seeing it through. So, when it came to organising Miss Marnie’s first birthday I started planning it well in advance!
OK, about 3 months in advance. That was a bit excessive I admit but I didn’t do stuff all the time. I just planned little things here and there and kept a list (and, yes a secret Pinterest board!) I also made a lot of her decorations – so I did everything in small bursts (between naps and feeds) from the initial planning until her big day.
Her party was a success in terms of how it looked. I went with a Rainbow theme and had great fun coming up with ideas. The venue was my old primary school (now an arts centre), the food (with help from friends came together eventually!) and the games went well – as I had lots of prizes and my childminder sister-in-law was on hand to organise.
But, as for Miss Marnie She. Hated. Every. Minute. Of. It.
As I wanted to be at the venue decorating I left Miss Marnie with family so she could take a nap beforehand. She didn’t nap and then all hell broke loose! I was stressed (everything was taking longer than I had hoped with all the setting up), some things got forgotten and I think this stress transferred to her and her missing a nap made for an even grumpier birthday girl.
She seemed to calm down later but on entering the party – she was overwhelmed with all the faces staring back at her (as was I, admittedly) that she clung to me all day. She hated the games, she hated other people, she didn’t want to play, eat or drink!
Thankfully, all the other mamas on the day understood and mucked in sorting games, organising the food and generally re-filling my wine glass!
She did warm up and play ball eventually and joined in some games in the rainbow ball pit and posed for some cake smash photos – she seemed to relax the less we I fussed.
This upset me greatly. I had been planning the perfect day for so long. But, it proved to me mainly – that it’s not my day and that you can plan the best party ever but you can’t plan your babies mood!
So, from my first experience of a 1st Birthday party – here are a few tips on how to create a successful day for EVERYONE and most importantly the birthday girl or boy!
|Miss Marnie in a bib that belong to my now 28 year old brother!|
How to to plan the perfect 1st Birthday Party!
* Balance the Budget
Set a budget and try to stick to it. Its easy for everything to get a little out of control. Include venue hire (if needed), food and drink (and don’t forget to include adults), party bags, prizes and decorations.
* Keep It Small
Invite a small group of friends and family as your 1-year-old may be fearful of strangers, stressed by the noise or over-stimulated by the large crowd. So, best to hold off on the clowns, magicians and entertainers for now (and scary aunts for that matter!)
* Think about Venue
Although a party at home if often best as it means your baby feels comfortable and means you have to limit the guest list somewhat (especially f you have a small house/flat). If that isn’t an option then look at school/church halls or leisure centres. But, remember to take into account time to set-up and clear-up afterwards, getting there and transporting all your stuff (food, decorations, presents, kids etc)
* Do your Scheduling
Be sure to time the party around nap and feeding times – the last thing you want is a sleepy/hungry baby. And, also take into account getting ready for both you and VIB. Thinking back I think a morning party would of suited Miss M much better.
* Set A Time Limit
A party of about 1-2 hours is enough time for your little one – and you! This gives you enough time for a few games, some picts and a little food.
* Choose a Theme
I love a theme. I think it helps you vision the overall effect and also makes for some great pictures. Plan the party around a colour, character or favourite item/animal/place. I went with a Rainbow theme but others I considered were Teddy Bears Picnic, Circus and Peter Rabbit.
(For more theme ideas take a look at my Pinterest boards for girls, boys, unisex and 1st birthday’s here.)
* What to Serve
To avoid spending all morning – and the night before in the kitchen Try and plan ahead and buy as much as you can pre-cut/made to save time. Also don’t make too much – little ones hardly eat anything and older kid just want to whizz around. Finger food suitable for the age groups (like vegetable crudités, bite size sandwiches, individual jellies, etc). Anything small is also best – like fairy cakes baked in petit four or ketchup cases.
(I re-used Miss Marnie’s old baby food jars to hold homemade lemonade – see how I did it here.)
* The Cake
Hand made or shop brought it doesn’t matter. Just remember a candle – it’s all about the picture for now. A smaller (and less expensive cake with lots of butter icing is perfect if you intend to do a cake smash picture!) Recipe and tips for making a Rainbow Cake can be found here.
You really don’t need to spend a lot on fancy decs. Homemade ones work just as well – if not better. A collage of your babies first year, photographs, paper chains and bunting are all good choices. I used some shower curtains for a wall covering and for use as a photo back drop – you could also use those beaded door curtains, sheets of fabric or even a large roll of back drop paper.
(If you’re hiring a venue calculate time for setting up and remember to take all the necessary items – scissors, pins, tape, sting, balloon pump etc)
|Once the tables were moved this ‘tablecloth’ backdrop was ideal for some picts!|
As there will be so much going on you will want to ensure that you capture every moment. If your budget doesn’t stretch to a professional photographer – then enlist a friend, relative or even a budding photography student to take the pictures. This also frees you and your partner up on the day.
RELAX. As stressful, upsetting and eventful it can be. Try to remember that they’re only 1 once and spills, tears and accidents will happen no mater how carefully planned.
Have fun open some bubbles (for the grown-ups) and toast this wonderful day! (and thank the lord it’s not the same day the year before!)
…and REMEMBER there’s always next year!
Have you any kids birthday party tips to share?