Moms Share Their Best Tips for First Birthday Parties

First birthdays are a pretty big deal, especially when you’re a first time parent. For a lot of us there is a lot of hype surrounding the occasion, and after the fact, there are definitely things we’d want to do a little differently or things we would pass on to others that worked well.

So I polled some of my favorite mamas who had already undergone the big first birthday bash, and asked them the question, “What are your best tips for parents planning a first birthday?” I expected most of them to suggest things I’d already thought of, but it was so great to see that almost all of the mamas came up with something different, and I definitely got some great ideas myself!

So here you have it: Tips from veteran mamas so you can make your little one’s first birthday a smashing (and stress-free) success!

  • A few things...

    A few things...

    “1. Little party favors are a great way to distract other kids while the birthday kid opens gifts. 2. Don’t go crazy trying to create the perfect party decor. Your kid will be more than thrilled by a few balloons. 3. Tell guests not to bring gifts/donate to a charity/or donate to your kids college fund. One or two presents to open is enough. Otherwise you will end up with a house full of unused toys. 4. Don’t make your kids cake too healthy. We didn’t get the fun photos of cake all over her face because she didn’t even want to eat it.”

    Read more from Kira at her blog Rain or Shine

  • Focus in.

    Focus in.

    “Focus on 2-3 things and try not to go overboard! I always go overboard and you can hardly enjoy all the details when there are too many! So choose the 2-3 (maybe cake, maybe favors, maybe a beautiful backdrop) that are the most important to you and scale back or eliminate the others!”

    Read more from Alison at her blog The Alison Show

  • Brunch it up!

    Brunch it up!

    “Mornings are a happy time of day for most 12-month-olds, which makes brunch an ideal time to host a first birthday party. I have been to so many first birthdays where the kid was miserable, because he or she was tired and cranky. Mornings are great! Also, brunch food is simple and inexpensive!”

    Read more from Lauren Hartmann at her blog The Little Things We Do

  • Go for miniatures.

    Go for miniatures.

    “My tip is to bake cupcakes in ketchup cups (it makes me CRAZY that kids just lick the frosting off and then this enormous cupcake is leftover). Plus, it also means that you can eat several and not feel guilty!”

    Read more from Janssen at her blog Everyday Reading

  • Utilize your resources!

    Utilize your resources!

    “Don’t try to do it all yourself. Ask friends to help or go to Etsy for decor. It will save you a lot of time and won’t stress you out! You want the party to be something you look forward to.”

    Read more from Lauren Jimeson at A Mommy in the City

  • Head outdoors.

    Head outdoors.

    “Hold the party at a park or in your backyard. It will give you a pretty background for pictures, allow older kids space to run around and play, and keep you from cleaning up the post-cake mess. Also, be sure to keep it simple. One year olds don’t care about birthdays. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t party (you should!), but don’t plan activities that are going to complicate things and make for a cranky baby.”

    Read more from Katie at her blog The Red Kitchen

  • Consider naps.

    Consider naps.

    “I’d say the biggest piece of advice I could give is to try to work around the kiddo’s nap time and not try to schedule too many events in the day.”

    Read more from Jenni at her blog A Well Crafted Party

    Photo by Motormouth Studios

  • Plan ahead!

    Plan ahead!

    “My tips on saving money on a birthday party are for sure DIYs and planning about six months ahead especially if you want to include a lot of details! That way you won’t be stressed out with too much to do at the end.”

    See more from Arlene on her YouTube channel ArleneDanielle93

    Photo by Michael Jeong Photography

  • There's always next year.

    There's always next year.

    “Oh my gosh, our first birthday was a DISASTER. I insisted on making an all-natural healthy cake (no sugar, because I was a crazy person) and it turned out exactly the same way as you’d expect. Pretty much everything went wrong — so I’m not sure I have any tips to share. We had a much better second birthday party though!”

    Read more from Michelle at her blog Early Mama

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