Lance is officially one year old! We’ve all survived the first year of parenthood, with the help of our family and yaya. This milestone definitely deserves a great celebration! Fortunately for us, planning had been easy and stress-free. What’s more, we got to celebrate on his exact birthday. 🙂 In this post, I’m sharing party ideas, tips, and reminders to make sure the day doesn’t end in mishaps and hiccups. Below is a list of our suppliers as well for your reference.
12 Tips to Plan and Celebrate Your Baby’s First Birthday Party
1. Choose a fun theme.
Delicious food and good company are important factors to any awesome party, but to make baby’s bash extra special, consider picking a first birthday party theme. Without a solid theme, it will be much harder to plan and think of all the things you need to put together for the party prepping. Choosing a simple theme and sticking to it will make everything look more cohesive and organized.
We thought of all the characters in Universal Studios Osaka since it was the last place we visited before our planning, and we decided to go with Minions of Despicable Me. We wanted to celebrate in true blue and yellow fashion, and so we did!
2. Choose an appropriate and accessible venue.
If you’re feeling adventurous and the big day happens to fall during summer, an outdoor location or a garden sounds fine. Else, it’s best to go for indoors to avoid rain stopping play. It can be in a family’s or friend’s house, restaurant, clubhouse, kid’s party place, function room, or a dining hall.
We chose one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, so there will be no hassle and another step in finding a credible food catering supplier separately. Also, there’s no need to spend an additional fee for the venue rental since it’s already part of the food package.
We held our party in Gloria Maris Greenhills because it’s close to the christening church, we love Chinese food, it has enough room to accommodate all our guests, and there’s a lot of parking spaces available within the Greenhills Shopping Center compound. Other big advantages are: they have different sets of food menu available, servers are efficient, you won’t get stuck with cleanup, and fixtures such as the stage, cake table, registration table, designated gifts table, high chairs for babies and kids, and kids’ tables can be provided according to need.
3. Create the guest list and make your party invitation.
The guest list determines the party size and the working budget, and vice versa. Focus on your immediate family and close friends, and only extend out if budget permits. Take an Excel spreadsheet or a notepad to list the names, contact numbers, or social media accounts of guests. This will come in hand soon when inviting them and asking to confirm their attendance. This will also serve as the basis for the count of invitation cards to print or send out online. Once final, arrange the guests per table and print out the guest list with assigned table numbers as this will be used during registration. Chase up any outstanding RSVPs a week or two weeks before the party.
4. Plan your baby’s outfit.
If you’re having a themed party, shopping for the outfit can be easier since you’ll have a peg in mind. Just refer to the character’s style of clothing as your guide. You can either buy an outfit, make a DIY outfit, or ask friends and family for outfits you can borrow to a chunk of your budget.
If you’re not having a theme, it’s best to do some research! You don’t need to move the sun and the moon to prepare for your baby’s clothes, shoes, and accessories, but if you want to make it special, it’s worth looking around and getting a few ideas. Don’t buy the first thing you see at the first price. It’s always recommended to shop around and check ideas on Pinterest, Instagram, or anywhere online to get solid ideas and save a fortune with great finds. Lance was dressed as a minion on his birthday. 🙂
To avoid last-minute scrambles, leave the baby’s outfit and shoes somewhere obvious before the big day. That way, you can grab them quickly when the time comes to get dressed up.
5. Pick a birthday cake.
You can get a cake from a supermarket or a local bakery, but if you want to make the day that little bit more special, order a unique cake featuring your baby’s name instead or a design that goes with the birthday party theme. Start sourcing out suppliers who can make and bake personalized cakes. Choose the right size of cake that’s enough to be served for your guests.
Since we were pretty satisfied with our wedding cake supplier, Hearts and Bells, we decided to get the Minion birthday cake from them. Their cakes taste good (you can choose two flavors for a cake: chocolate, mocha, vanilla, banana with chocolate chips, tropical carrot, red velvet), they have plenty of customized cake design selections, their customer service is very responsive, and their rates are very reasonable. Thumbs up!
6. Plan the setup and decors.
You can consider custom inflatables of different shapes such as a cartoon character, or your theme-related character, or other inflatable buildings and products. Depending on your venue, you can also place bouncy houses, or slides, which are safer for little kids. These inflatables are always entertaining and bring huge fans both to little ones and their parents.
Will there be food carts, balloons, photo booths, a stamping booth, a face paint booth, or a play area for kids? Plan the setup and arrangement of these booths in your venue. Contact suppliers at least three months before because most of them require at least a month’s notice when booking. Get in touch with them early to ensure they have your date in their diary. If possible, visit the venue with them for an ocular inspection and get feedback.
When it comes to decors, consider your baby’s favorite animal, character, or color and base the theme around that, or simply choose a bright, happy color palette in lieu of a specific theme. To ensure safety, keep balloons, sharp objects, and dangling things out of your baby’s reach. Make sure to dispose of balloons after the party, since they can pose as a serious choking hazard for little ones.
We spent one afternoon finding suppliers of decors and balloons at 168 Mall and Lucky Chinatown Mall – Annex. We found Issa’s Candies & Party Needs General Merchandise which immediately became our top and only choice. Not all stalls that sell balloons in these two malls can make customized and themed balloons for parties. If you’re looking for a really affordable package with good quality outputs, Issa Gen won’t let you down. We started communicating three months before. All instructions and agreements were made clear, so the result was exactly how we imagined it. 🙂 Their stall is located in B-185 2nd floor Building B of Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo. They specialize in decorating for corporate events and birthday parties. They have the right people who can suggest creative and fun ways to make your event pop.
7. Organize entertainment.
The best way to fill time on the first birthday is to have some party games ready. Activities designed to occupy everyone from babies to grandparents offer a chance for guests to engage in fun activities and create special memories in honor of the occasion. We chose “rock, scissors, paper” and invited everyone to join. Of course, a party game isn’t much fun without a prize for the winner, so make sure you shop for some simple, low-cost prizes. Chocolates and sweets are always winners here.
Another good idea to keep children occupied is to offer crafts. Print out coloring pages and place crayons at the kids’ table, and ask an older teen to help lead the gang in the activity. For handling bigger crowds, maybe getting a clown, performer, magician, or ventriloquist can help better with keeping guests entertained.
8. Create a music playlist.
Grab your music library or subscription service and set up a special playlist that features children songs and tunes that befit your child’s birthday party. Make sure your playlist doesn’t include any lyrics not suitable for children’s ears. Our son’s favorite songs are those nursery rhymes and popular children songs from Super Simple Songs on YouTube, so I saved them as mp3 in my usb and shared the files with our Lights and Sound supplier, NJ Light and Sound. Kudos to their team-there was no technical glitch encountered. Videos looped properly and background songs played without a problem.
9. Time your party perfectly.
Adults can party all day but kids, especially your baby, need to rest. Schedule the time of the party around the birthday baby’s nap time and limit the length of the party to at most two hours. Any longer and babies tend to get cranky. It’s best if you can allow your baby to nap first before the party starts or before the guests arrive for more chances of smiles than tears. A well-rested tot is a much happier host!
10. Choose a trusted photographer to document the event.
Birthday party photos will be priceless down the road. This is the only first birthday your baby will have, and you’ll want to capture every moment. Don’t miss experiencing the joy of the day because you’re stuck behind your camera! Ask a trusted friend, family member, or a professional photographer who can document the day for you. If the budget allows, consider hiring a videographer as well to take videos at the party.
We chose Christine Kiac Photography and we’re so glad we did. Christine is very well-organized, on time, talented, and has a good eye for detail. She also has a baby now so apart from truly loving her job as a photographer, she’s also familiar with handling babies and she knows the best angles and moments to capture. Her editing skills are sharp and amazing, too! I love that her team is successful in telling the story of in-between moments during both our son’s christening in the church and at the party. We’re happy to see wonderful results on the same day (SDE).
11. Thank guests with party favors.
Though not required, party souvenirs are a nice way of saying thanks to your guests. We sent our guests home with customized Minion soaps made by My souvenirs shop and others. Other simple and good ideas are: personalized candies that fit into your theme, sugar cookies, homemade cupcakes, marshmallows, keychains, photo holders, mini donuts, candy pops, bath bombs, mini pies, handy hand sanitizers, and potpourri.
12. Don’t forget to have fun!
Remember, this is a birthday party for a child and it’s a celebration of life. 🙂 Avoid feeling stressed out and just enjoy the day. Time goes by fast — before you know it, they’ll be planning their own birthday parties.
Based on our experience, planning our baby’s first birthday party wasn’t quite as hard as managing his first diaper change, first teething session, or our struggles in every late night feeding. Still, it’s an event that takes some consideration, time, and budget to plan. Your child won’t remember the details of his birthday, but you (and maybe some family members and friends) will. 🙂 I hope these tips and ideas can help you navigate your way through your baby’s first birthday party celebration!
Summary | List of Suppliers
- Venue and Food: Gloria Maris Greenhills
- Setup and Decors: Issa’s Candies & Party Needs General Merchandise
- Lights and Sound: NJ Lights and Sound
- Birthday Cake: Hearts and Bells
- Photography Package (Growing Up AVP, Unlimited Photos on the day, SDE): Christine Kiac Photography
- Souvenirs: My souvenirs shop and others