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There are a lot of things to consider when planning a 1st birthday party, but for a quick overview, here are our 10 tips for a successful baby’s first birthday party.
1. Send out your 1st birthday party invitations at least 1 month before
If you want to avoid a disappointing turn out to your baby’s first birthday party, then make sure that you give people lots of notice so they don’t schedule anything else into their calendars. Your social life may have been pretty dire for the past year, but you may remember how quickly you used to get booked up in advance, so let your nearest and dearest know. Even though they should know when your baby’s 1st birthday is, they may not be aware that you’re planning to throw a party to which they’re invited, so send out those invitations with a few weeks to spare.
2. Keep your guest list intimate
We would recommend that you try to keep your guest list to a maximum of 20 people including other children. This is a small number which will allow you to be able to chat to everyone whilst still being able to spend quality time with your baby on their big day. Every baby is different, but hopefully your baby won’t be too overwhelmed if you have a reasonably small party.
3. Enlist help in throwing your party
Birthday parties for 1 year olds can be quite daunting and chaotic to throw, so it’s a great idea to enlist some help. Your partner is probably the obvious choice to assist in some of the jobs you have on your list, but on the offchance that you aren’t blessed with a partner who doesn’t have a very strong skillset in the area of first birthday organisation, then you might want to look towards a grandparent, sibling or best friend to help you out with things such as the food preparation and entertainment.
4. Hire a children’s entertainer
Prices do vary, but it can be a great idea to hire a children’s entertainer even if it’s only for 30 minutes at the party. This will give you chance to clear away the food, chat to the adult guests or just breathe a sigh of relief amidst one rather hectic afternoon. It’s also lovely to watch your child being completely mesmerised by the entertainment on offer.
5. Make sure your camera and or camcorder are fully charged
This goes without saying and yet it’s so common for batteries to run out at that crucial moment – it would just be typical that you’re suddenly out of battery just when you’re ready to take that gorgeous photo of your little one in front of their first birthday cake. So make sure not only that your camera is fully charged, but also that you know exactly where your charger is located just in case you require it.
6. Schedule the 1st birthday party according to your baby’s nap schedule
If you want your baby to be in a good mood at his or her birthday party, then getting the timing of the party right is an absolute must. By now your baby will hopefully be in somewhat of a routine, so if you’re lucky you’ll be able to predict when your baby’s naptimes are. Try and schedule the party to start at about 30 minutes after your baby’s lunchtime nap so that he or she has had time to fully wake up and hopefully be in a fine mood to accept visitors to the home! Note: this of course takes more planning if you’re holding the party outside of your home.
7. Have a memento for your guests to sign for your baby
It’s a lovely idea to get the guests at the birthday party to leave a message for your baby so that when he or she is 18 (or another milestone age) they can read these beautiful thoughts. You can collect these in many different ways – perhaps a scrapbook with lots of photos of your little one and space for people to write in. Another idea is to purchase a ceramic message plate, which you can write in before cooking in the oven. Finally, you could create a message documentary and video everyone at the party.
8. Specify an end time to the 1st birthday party
If you don’t plan on having the party continue until the evening hours, then make sure that everyone knows this so you don’t have to suffer the embarrassment of turfing everyone out of your house when you’ve had enough. A great way to do this is to specify both the party’s start and end time on the invitations. So for instance your wording could be ‘Celebrate Jessica’s 1st Birthday with us from 2pm-4pm on Saturday, 21st March’.
9. Have a spare birthday party outfit
When planning a party for your 1 year old, you’ll have probably picked out a special outfit that you want your baby to wear on their 1st birthday. This might be a fancy dress outfit that matches the party’s theme, or it might just be a particular ensemble (!) that you’ve been looking forward to putting them in. But as you’ll know by now, accidents do happen, whether they be of the food, puking or nappy spillages variety, so it’s a great idea to have a backup outfit that they look equally adorable in, just in case.
10. Have a budget and stick to it
It can be easy to get carried away when planning a 1st birthday party. If you’re not in control of yourself, then you can end up spending a fortune on decorations, goody bags, invitations, children’s entertainment etc etc. You’ll have already ended up buying your 1 year-old gifts for their birthday too, so your finances may be a little stretched. The good news is that it is very possible to throw a baby’s first birthday party on a budget. But whatever your finances are, the best thing to do is work out the maximum amount that you’re willing to spend and then divide that money into the different categories that need taking care of. Then make sure you don’t spend more than you’re happy with!