Your Bubba’s first birthday is a truly amazing time. It not only marks an incredibly important milestone in your little one’s life but hopefully it also signifies a time when you, as a parent, are beginning to see the light at the end of the sleep deprived, vomit covered, milk stained, poo-nami tunnel.
I admit that I might have got a little carried away for Siarra’s first birthday party. I am pleading ‘event manager insanity’ as my defense and sticking to it! We had over 80 guests (big and little) and it was a 12 hour extravaganza that went into the night long after she had gone to bed. To try and put it into a little bit of perspective it was also Australia Day so we managed to combine two celebrations into one. There is no soundtrack quite like the Triple J Hottest 100 for your first birthday party
For those of you who are about to plan a first birthday here are some of my favourite theming suggestions and planning tips. They will hopefully not only help make your little one’s first birthday party something to remember forever but also make it a truly enjoyable and stress free event.
1. The Milk Bar
Well we all know there is nothing a 1 year old likes more than milk! For Siarra’s birthday we hired little glass milk bottles (remember the old style ones that used to get delivered to your yard?? Mini versions of those) and filled them with strawberry, chocolate and plain milk for the littlies. Decorate the bottles with pink or twine ribbon tied around their necks and a pink or brown straw. Keep the theme going with your decorations by putting fresh flowers into spare milk bottles or by having black and white furniture (to resemble the cow!). Of course keep a close eye on the little ones who aren’t quite glass ready just yet. Plastic cups are a good alternative for them.
2. Pretty In Pink or Bashful In Blue
These are very easy themes to pull off and a great idea if you don’t have the time or the inclination to do anything more complicated. Grab as much pink or blue as you can possibly get your hands on! A great way to bring lots of colour into a room is by using items such as tablecloths, bunting, balloons and paper pom poms. You can also take it to another level by serving pink or blue drinks and food.
3. Butterfly Garden Party
This is a great theme for a first birthday party whether you have a little boy or girl. Let all your guests make their own butterfly pictures by folding a piece of paper in half, adding some paint to the crease and then, with the help of mum or dad, smushing the paint out onto the page. Unfold and VOILA you have your very own butterfly.
4. Animals of The Jungle
Your little monkey will love an Animal party. If your guests are at the age where they are beginning to walk and climb then buy, borrow or hire some outdoor equipment so they can truly act like jungle animals – supervised of course! See if you have a Toy Library in your area. Use signage to name each part of your venue after an area in the jungle – the drinks stand can be ‘The Watering Hole’ and the lunch table can be ‘Base Camp.’ Serve your guests a selection of animal inspired treats like ‘Crocodile Cookies’, ‘Cheetah Cupcakes’ and ‘Safari Sandwiches.’ Any theme that gives me an excuse to wear leopard print will always get my vote! J
6. Borrow an existing holiday
This is exactly what we did with Siarra. Her birthday falls in early January but we decided to host her party on Australia Day when we knew everyone would be in a party mood. If St Patrick’s Day, The Queens birthday, the Footy Finals, Melbourne Cup, Christmas In July or any other dates are near your bubba’s birthday you have a ready made theme and this will make decorating so much easier! And I promise you that your 1 year old wont mind sharing their big day with another celebration.
7. Just between you and me – you can really do whatever YOU want
Let’s be honest – a one year old will have no recollection of the event so don’t feel bad planning a day that is slightly Mummy or Daddy skewed. We recently went to a first birthday at a Restaurant/Bar – I love that the venue was booked for the beach views and mimosas J The important thing is that your little one has you with them to give them lots of cuddles and attention (grandparents are obviously great for this as well!)
8. Be relaxed and don’t fret if things don’t go exactly to plan
Remember that kids are unpredictable and there is no telling how they will behave – the guest of honour included! Little ones can get tired, upset or excited very easily so be sure to have quiet space for anyone who needs it. Tell guests to bring their own bottles, sleeping bags, portacots and food if they have specific eating requirements. Don’t feel bad – most parents will do this automatically anyway based on what their child’s normal routine is during the hours of the party.
9. Don’t let the idea of a theme overwhelm you
A theme does not have to be incorporated into the invite and the cake and the food and the theming and the music and the dress requirements and the games and the entertainment and every other component of your party (wowzers – even I got a little overwhelmed by that!) Something as simple as having a featured cake or a decorated table is enough to set the tone for your party and will give a focal point for your guests. (Just on a side note; anyone who DIDN’T start having trouble breathing and heart palpitations reading the previous sentence don’t be shy to send me a copy of your resume!)
10. Enjoy yourself
Most importantly – give yourself a pat on the back for getting through the first twelve months. This is a huge achievement so make sure you enjoy the party! One of my girlfriends came to Siarra’s birthday party with a bottle of champagne for me because she felt, as a mum herself, that parents were often overlooked at such an occasion. Take the opportunity to look back on the last 12 months and all the amazing things you have achieved with your little one and your family as a whole
Did you have a theme for your little one’s first birthday? Have you been to some great parties for kids? xLCB