We are about 2 months away from Lily’s first birthday, and planning is underway! This has been the fastest year of my life and I have cherished every moment. OK, maybe there were about three moments where I definitely needed a break, but still, an amazing 10 months so far.
We have the unique aspect that her birthday also falls on our 10th wedding anniversary (what a present last year)! Although we are planning a Minnie Mouse themed party in March (black, white, pink, and polka dots), and not a Gator-themed party, I thought I’d share my checklist and ideas for planning, but also include some ideas for those who are planning a Gator birthday party.
- Pick your location: You may opt for a low-key celebration at your home, or choose to go to a restaurant (where you don’t have to clean-up)! Of course, cost is a factor. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s somewhere where you can actually ENJOY the party and not be playing hostess the whole time.
- Consider the time of day: Does your baby usually nap at 1 p.m.? A party from 2-5 p.m. may work better for you.
- Gifts: It’s a good idea to either update your baby registry or start a wish list at your child’s favorite store so guests can have an idea of what baby needs as they start this next year of life.
- Invitations: E-vites or creating an event on Facebook are perfectly OK as stand-alone invites or in conjunction with printed ones. However, with easy-to-create invites on sites like Shutterfly or cute, custom invites on Etsy, your baby’s first party may warrant a printed invite! It’s a momentous occasion and perfect to put in your Baby Book.
Since a 1st birthday party is usually more for the adults, anything can go. But, try to tie the food in with your theme. Even basic sandwiches can have a little sign next to them called Swamp Sandwiches to bring the Gator element to your buffet line.
I love the idea of milk bottles with color-coordinated straws, so we’ll be doing those. from orange and blue pola dots to stripes and chevron patterns, there’s a straw for your party! Bottles and straws are available for sale on Etsy or Amazon. This blog has a tutorial on how to make your own using Starbucks Frappuccino bottles. You can also buy plastic mason jars if you are worried about glass at a pool party etc.
Check out the pin board below for some ideas to go alongside any deli platters, pizza, finger foods etc. you choose.
- There are plenty of Gator cake ideas out there! Whether you go for a sheet cake, cupcakes, or a shaped cake, vanilla is usually best for baby and isn’t as difficult to get out of clothes when baby makes a mess.
- Be mindful of the colored frosting as well. If baby is wearing white, just know that blue frosting may be hard to get out of his outfit later on.
- That being said, put all those worries aside, and Let Them Eat Cake!
- Order cake. If you are doing a separate mini-cake for baby, order that too!
- Pick up cake. Ice cream too!
- Candle. The “1” candle and something to light it with
- Cake Cutter
- Cake plates/utensils
- High chair/high chair decorations.
No matter your theme, these ideas work with any boy/girl/gender neutral party.
- Hang up a display of your little one’s monthly photos to show his/her growth over the year. Visit Polaroid Fotobar and print them out, and string em’ up on a clothesline. Or, bring a digital photo frame with your favorite images of your little one!
You can also put up a pin board covered in fabric to match your theme and place your fave photos from the year on those. I have a black and white polka dot like the one pictured here that I got at Hobby Lobby.
- Don’t forget to decorate the high chair — it will be a focal point for all those cake photos! A little banner draped across the front, and balloons tied to the back are simple enough.
- Helium balloons go a long way and add height to a room, and are generally pretty inexpensive. Find a cute way to weigh them down rather than paying for weights at the party store.
- Fill a small orange or blue gift bag with rice, and tie with a ribbon
- Wrap a rock or small can in orange or blue tissue paper, and tie with curling ribbon
- Use a toy or another item you could use as a table prize.
Tie pom poms (tissue or fabric) on color coordinated ribbons and hang above cake, candy or food tables to add dimension to a room. I bought black and white polka dot ribbon and will use those on pink pom poms.
- Look around your house— do you have a Gator platter or wall hanging? Use those to help decorate!
- Candy tables are quite popular. Why not have favor boxes set out, and guests can compile their own favors?
- Buy decorations.
- Print photos if needed/bring digital photo frame.
- Order balloons.
- Pick up balloons.
- Candy Table: Candy, decorations, jars/dishes, favor boxes with tags, signs.
A first birthday party is usually a bit more low-key than other ones since your baby can’t play games yet. Still, it’s nice to have activities if older kids will be present. In addition to food, cake, and opening presents, these ideas can keep the party flowing nicely.
- Set up a playlist on your iTunes and bring along for some background music. Add in faves like the Hokey Pokey, the Chicken Dance, the Cha Cha slide etc for quick musical activities for kids. Along those lines. Start and stop the music for an instant game of musical chairs.
- Find a local face painter or other entertainer— this will keep older kids occupied so you don’t have to coordinate a game. Clowns can be scary for some kids (and adults for that matter)!
- Build your own favor: Buy basic plastic or wooden photo frames, preferably ones without a glass insert. Feel free to design a graphic to place inside the frame. Buy stickers that fit your theme and have the little ones help decorate a favor to take home. Later, you can send them a printed photo from the party with a thank you note.
- Set up a baby-friendly area. If you are throwing the party in a banquet room, bring along baby’s playfence and some age-appropriate toys. Any other littles will enjoy a place where they can roam around and not get passed around so much! Place chairs nearby for watchful parents.
Other items to order or bring
- Birthday outfit/hat.
- Coordinate parents’ outfits.
- Camera/video camera: Designate someone to help take photos so you can enjoy the party. Don’t miss any shots. Check out these great 1st birthday photo tips.
Leave a comment below or Follow Me on Pinterest to be entered to win these cute Mud-Pie Purple/Pink Chiffon Socks (currently out of stock on their site)! These adorable Purple Mary Jane socks with hot pink and purple chiffon ruffles are definitely First Birthday Party worthy! Enter until January 14!
Congratulations parents! You made it a full year: through birth, all-nighters, teething, diapers, smiles, giggles, trying new things, crawling, and welcoming a new little soul to the world. What a journey! And a very Happy Birthday to the little Gators!