So your baby is turning one. Mine too! Any chance I get to through a party gets me excited but my third and last baby is turning one and it is so bitter sweet. I just went through my phone and looked at all the pictures of him as a newborn and I can’t believe that time has gone by so fast☹ Ok enough emotions because I am so so so excited to through him a party. I love that I get to celebrate my little boy and am excited for all of the cute party details I get to plan. I have thrown my fair share of kids parties so I thought I would give you my party planning check list. If you are super chill and just plan on a simple party with just cake and ice cream this may not be for you. This is the go all out be super extra Pinterest loving moms checklist.
o Guest List- First thing I always do is make a rough guest list. Consider who you would like to invite and get an idea of how many adults and how many children you will be inviting.
o Location-Now that you know how many people you may be expecting you can decide if you will do the event at your house or your parents house of if you would need to rent a space. When you look for spaces they may be park buildings, church social rooms or party venues. Be sure to ask what the time limit/charge is and what their clean up and deposit policy is.
o Date-Most birthday parties are 1-4 hours long. Depending on your menu and entertainment you can decide how long your party will be. If you are doing the party at a rented space you may have a time limit. -Think about baby’s schedule and personality when planning. Some babies do fine being in a crowd for 3 hours for others 1 hour may be all they can stand.
o Theme-Here is the fun part. Anything can be a party theme! Right now unicorns, mermaids, forest critters, wild animals and fishing are popular but don’t be afraid to get creative. Now cherish these years that your kid doesn’t have an opinion on their party theme haha! My older two boys are opinionated and want super uninspired themes like Hotwheels and Spiderman blah! Of course I can work with any theme but it is so much more fun to through a party that is not based off a cartoon character. Hop on Pinterest and create a board.
o Invites- Once you have a theme you can create invites. I like to get mine custom printed online. Snapfish, Shutterfly, Zazzle, Walmart.com and VistaPrint are places I have used before. They all have pre-designed customizable invitations that are pretty easy to order. Now before you do this you may want to think about doing smash cake photo shoot as the photo for your invitation. They are a super cute way to get memorable photos of your babe. Ok here is what to include on your invite: Who the party is for, date, time, location, RSVP info.
o Menu- Decide what kind of meal you would like to serve. Maybe no food and just refreshments, finger foods, catering or full meal? The food usually takes up the biggest chunk of your budget so you should consider that. You can price out your food by calling where you would buy it from for an estimate or buy using online apps from your grocery store to price out the ingredients. If you will be serving a full meal I like to note that on the invitation so people know they will be fed. A simple “lunch will be served” works. o Décor -Here is the fun part! Here are a few areas you may want to decorate: -Cake table display, . I always decorate the cake table the most. For the cake table I always create a backdrop. See my instructions for creating a backdrop here. I use real linens and usually display the cute party favors one the cake table. -Highchair. You can make or buy a “I am one” banner for the high chair and attach balloons. Depending on you theme you can attach other décor just remember they may try and rip it off. -Present table I usually do simple because to will be filled with presents - Food tables. You can match your serving dishes to your theme or incorporate décor between the dishes. Of course matching plates are fun. - Guest tables. I like to do a simple centerpiece and matching tablecloths. -Ceiling. I like to do theme appropriate banners, flags or balloons. For my kids hotwheels party we used race car banners, for a planes theme we created balloon clouds, for a cowboy party we used horse and boot shaped balloons in the corners of the tent. -Entry way- Let people know exactly where the party is at. If you are decorating outside be sure to secure everything well. Wind can blow away your hard work.
o Baby’s Birthday Outfit- The guest of honor needs to look the part. Whether it’s a custom t-shirt or a tutu dressing baby to match the theme is so cute. For my boys cowboy party the were in full western wear. For a fiesta party you could get a traditional Mexican dress. Sparkly mermaid tails, custom onsies, bowties and diaper covers. Etsy is where its at .
o Cake-It’s not a party unless there’s cake! Now this can be another big part of the budget if you let it. Calling a bakery to custom make you a cake will look amazing. They can decorate it to match the theme perfectly but it is going to cost you. If you have the funds great. If you are looking to save you can get creative with a grocery store cake. A rectangle cake is just fine but if you want a more Pinterest worthy look most stores sell double stacked 8’’ round cakes. You can ask them to skip the typical grocery store decorating and sell it to you plain. Now go to Pinterest and search grocery store cake makeover. With a few extra candies, frosting or flowers and a cake topper from Amazon you are set for under $40. Don't forget the smash cake!
o Entertainment- Depending on your invite list you may or may not need entertainment. If there are lots of kids or at least 5 you can do some sort of entertainment. If you have space a bouncy house is always a hit. Games and crafts are always fun but require an adult run them. If you have someone who you can put in charge of the game or craft that makes it more doable since you will be busy hosting. Hired entertainment could also be an option in your area. Costume acts, magic shows, clowns and balloon animal makers usually put on a good show. A pinata is also an option if you have the space and ability to hang it.
o Thankyou’s- A party favor is something I consider a must. It’s a nice little thank you for your party goers. Goodie bags are a good option for a kid party. Something sweet with a little prize like stickers or a toy are my go to. You could also do a custom favor for a more adult party. A more grown up custom cookie or other food item like nuts or popcorn are fun. You could also do something thoughtful like a small plant or flower seeds. There are lots of cut options.
Extra tips Throwing a party is a lot of work but the memories you will make are so worth it. Here are some extra tips for issues I have run into while hosting kids parties. Don’t torture the baby. Yes everyone will be there to celebrate baby but that doesn’t give them the right to do what they want with him or her. If your baby starts to cry and your guest doesn’t give the baby back go rescue that baby. New people can be scary for some young kids. Everyone wants their kids to be easy going and social but that isn’t always the reality. Save making them great everyone until they are older. Take pictures. When you host a party it is so easy to forget to take pictures. Keep your phone on you and make a point to stop and take pictures. You can also get a friend or family member to take pictures through out the party. Be gracious. Getting family and friends together can sometimes lead to awkward situations. Whether it is your uncle saying off the wall comments or your cousin bringing an unexpected new lover or someone gifting baby live animals(true story). Be gracious and remember what the day is for. Try and keep the peace