Guys, can you believe Mason is going to be turning one next month?! I can hardly believe it myself. This year has flown by so fast and at the same time these have been some of the longest days of my life. That saying, “the days are long, but the years are short” couldn’t be more true right about now. My little baby has grown so much and watching him develop has been quite the treat. To think when he was born he was so far from being on the charts weighing in at only 4 lbs 11 oz. and now he’s in all areas at least on the charts with his weight in the 32nd percentile (going off of his last check up).
So when starting to plan his first birthday party I’ve been giving it so much thought. I really want to make this party memorable, though really the first birthday party is more for the parents, am I right! I still want to make it all about Mason and his little friends so I thought long and hard about the theme. Since I’m not about to reveal everything just yet, you’ll have to wait for Mason’s first birthday party recap for that, I did want to share some of my party planning tips and how I go about preparing for this oh so special occasion.
1. Deciding on a theme. You don’t always need to have a theme but in this case for Mason’s first birthday party I really wanted to have a kid friendly theme, that I would also be able to make it modern. Coming up with the theme was the hard part since Mason is so little and there are few things that he has really gravitated towards/can’t live without.
2. Location, location, location. Isn’t location always the most important part? Well it can be. Justin and I decided we didn’t want to host it at our house due to the space constraints and the fact that we don’t have too many kid friendly things for our fiends children that are a bit older than Mason. We chose a park close to our house to have the party at. I actually booked our spot months ago…so maybe I should have put this a step one since I didn’t settle on a theme until just recently.
3. Sending out invitations. You set a date, picked your location, now it’s time to form the guest list and send out invites. Justin and I decided to have one big party and invite our immediate family and friends, another reason why we settled on having the party at a park as opposed to having it at our house. I’m all about saving paper and doing online invites. While I love receiving snail mail, I know how easy it is to get an email invite, RSVP, and be able to add it to your calendar right then and there. I went with Paperless Post for the invites and picked a cute design that doesn’t particularly go with the theme but it works!
4. What to serve. You can’t throw a party without some food and refreshments especially if it’s during lunch hours. So I’ve been on the hunt to secure our food and beverage vendor. While I could just buy finger food and have it out on platters both Justin and I decided that we really wanted to enjoy ourselves at the party and do as little set up and clean up as we can. I’ve got plenty of other things to do the morning of Mason’s party that I’d much prefer to have this one catered. Again, with combining family and friends there’s going to be a lot of mouths to feed and I sure am not going to be preparing all that food in advance nor do I want to deal with excess leftovers and cleaning all the serving plates. (I hope this one doesn’t come across the wrong way, we’d just prefer to have the food handled by someone else and have our guests be served food rather then have to pick and prepare it themselves).
5. The cake. You’ve got to have a cake at a birthday party! Well you could opt for cupcakes, cake pops, or cookies as an alternative or you could have all three because who doesn’t love dessert! I’ve been reaching out to local bakers and bakeries that can make custom cakes. I’ve been pinning away on Pinterest, on a private board so no one gets any ideas of what I’m planning (gosh this is a hard post to not let everything slip), but have been sending examples of what I’m looking for to get bids and to see if the people I am reaching out to will be able to provide what I want. This part is so fun, and I can’t wait to see how the chosen baker puts his/her own creative spin on it.
6. Decor. This part goes hand in hand with your theme of course but going about selecting your decor is important. You can’t wait till the last minute because in most cases you’ve got to order in advance if you want to receive everything on time and not pay a premium. As with any event, it always seems like there is such a markup. Birthday parties seem to be no different. You mention it’s a first birthday party and it seems like the price goes up. I’ve been ordering on Etsy and Amazon to try and get exactly what I want but at the best price. To keep costs down I’ll be doing the decor DIY so I’m not paying a premium to have someone else prepare it. Again, I so badly want to spill the beans on all my bday decor ideas but instead what I’ll do is share some fun ideas I’ve been finding on Pinterest that might not give my party theme/decor away.
7. Party playlist. Thankfully with Pandora it is easy to create a station that works for your party. While this is Mason’s first birthday party I don’t think our guests want to listen to kid music all afternoon. I’m leaving the playlist up to Justin, since I know he’ll do a great job selecting the station and can man the iPhone and change it up when it seems appropriate.
8. Party favors. Deciding if you’re going to give out party favors or not and what they’re going to be. I think this applies more to once the babies are a bit older so that the kiddos have something fun to take home as a little souvenir that they can play with and will remember. I keep going back and forth on if I want to/can (and stay within budget) give out party favors and what they would be. I think it’s fun to give your guests something for coming to celebrate your little one but at the same time, kids birthday parties are not cheap! I’m finding this hard to keep within a reasonable budget and still be able to pull off the Pinterest worthy party I am so hoping to host.
I think I touched on all the areas of party planning and my process for going about being the hostess. If I’ve missed something important let me know! Oh and please, pretty please, cross your fingers that my party planning and DIY skills are as good as I think they are so that this party is a Pinterest success and not a Pinterest fail!
Photo Credit: All images sourced from Pinterest besides our invitation.