The Big Party! Planning Baby’s First Birthday Party

Baby-first-birthday-party-tipsI can’t believe it but Baby J’s first birthday will be here in less than 5 weeks! It seems like yesterday I was holding a newborn in my arms, but now he is all grown up. I know he’s not moving out quite yet, but time sure does fly.

The first birthday party planning began for us more than 4 months ago and here is how I broke it down so that I didn’t lose my mind:

Guest List

Who are you going to invite? Family? Friends? Both? The guest list can get long very quickly. Start out with everyone you think you might like to invite and then reevaluate and cut back. My husband wanted to have all his aunts and uncles (which is A LOT of people) which I agreed to but we had to cut all cousins because it was starting to feel more like a large wedding than a first birthday. As it is, we have invited 97 people. I wasn’t kidding. My husband’s family is ENORMOUS!


Where are you going to have the party? If it’s a small gathering then most of the time your house is perfect. For larger parties you could have it at home and maybe rent a tent, tables and chairs, go to a restaurant or banquet hall, or rent a park pavilion. Given how large our invite list is, we opted for a very nice park pavilion that is really more like a home. It is equipped with both heat and air conditioning so we are prepared for the unpredictable weather that early September can bring in upstate NY. The other great thing about a park is that there is a playground and soccer fields so that kids of all ages will have fun.


There are so many options for food based on your budget and party needs. You can cook, have it catered, or a combination of both. We are opting for pizza and wings. I am also planning to make a large salad and some appetizers. Catering was just out of the question for that many people and I didn’t want to kill myself trying to make that much food so this seemed like a good compromise. We will also have coolers of soda, water, and juice boxes for kids.


Again, there are a lot of options for this. I chose to order a cake, but you can make your own pretty easily. Another great option is cupcakes. These are so easy to decorate for any theme and couldn’t be easier to make yourself. Many people do a variety of desserts but honestly, I don’t think this is necessary. It’s a birthday party for your kid, not the Queen of England!


All of this is easier if you pick a theme. Popular themes include Winnie the Pooh, Zoo animals, sports, and various kids shows. My advice? Pick something simple like sports or zoo animals. It will give you a lot more options when choosing decorations, invitations, and cake décor.


Do what you can afford. Photo invites are cute and but can get expensive. Hand written invites are more budget friendly and can be purchased in a variety of themes. You could also go the free route – electronic invites. You can simply email the details or go through a site like for something a bit fancier. The point is to get the word out, not break the bank.

Keep in mind a few simple things as you plan this first birthday party:

Number 1:  Your child just wants to have fun with you so don’t overschedule yourself and try to do everything.
Number 2:  No one really cares if you serve sandwiches or filet mignon. They are there to celebrate a milestone in your child’s life. The food is just a bonus.
Number 3:  Mishaps will happen and nothing will be perfect. Just roll with it and you will all have a much better time!

Stephanie EGuest blog written by Stephanie E.

Stephanie grew up, and currently lives, in Upstate New York. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business and a Minor in Computer Science. After college she married her high school sweetheart and settled into life in her hometown. A number of years later, Baby J came along and completed their happy family. After working for over 7 years in Tax and Information Technology, Stephanie is enjoying spending time with her infant after being recently downsized.

While Baby J takes up a lot of time, Stephanie enjoys cooking and gardening whenever she gets a spare moment. She also loves to travel and looks forward to all the adventures ahead with her family.

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