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A Guide to Planning Your Baby's 1st Birthday Party

A Guide to Planning Your Baby's 1st Birthday Party

Party For One (Year Olds)

For today's post, I reached out to a fellow mom and guest blogger, Samara Kamenecka, a New York-born freelance writer and translator living in Madrid and author at Tiny Fry.

There are loads of milestones in child’s first year. However, it’s safe to say that baby’s first birthday is one of the most significant. So how do you mark this momentous occasion? Is it time to pull out all the stops and have a party of a lifetime? It can be tough to know how to celebrate your child’s first year on earth.

But listen up. Before you break the bank and hire a circus for entertainment, we’ve got some tips for you, including:

1st birthday planning things to consider checklist
But First, Pay Attention (to Baby)

Before you even sit down to make a guest list, remember that your little one will want your attention during the party time. So be sure that you aren’t taking on more than you can comfortably handle. Certainly, you don’t want to be so focused on your responsibilities as a hostess that you don’t get to enjoy the celebration alongside your birthday baby.


Does baby thrive in a social environment or is she easily overwhelmed by new experiences? The answer to this will determine the number of people you invite to the party. Whether you choose an intimate family only vibe or a rollicking dance party for the whole neighborhood, it should be determined by what makes baby most comfortable.

Another factor is to invite people who have experience with
children and who won’t be surprised if the birthday girl falls asleep in her cake or if another child has a sudden tantrum on the floor.


When you’re deciding when to start the party, remember that your guest of honor (and probably a few guests) will need to nap! Plan on the party lasting around 2 hours and don’t be offended if anyone needs to leave early because of an unexpected meltdown. Of course, you can always invite folks to stay longer if the mood hits (and if the kids doze off).


Do you want to host in your home? If you have a backyard with space for kids to run around, that’s a great option. But if you live in a small apartment, consider asking a friend or family member if you can host at their place.

Another option is to choose a restaurant or cafe, but be sure they’re kid-friendly (and have kid-approved food) before making a reservation. No matter where you wind up, announce the party by tying up a playful “number one” mylar balloon at the entrance.


Choosing a theme will streamline the decorations. For example, if you choose an animal theme, deck out your table with Mini Party Animal plates, cups and napkins. String up a Mini Party Animal Garland that guests will notice the minute they walk in.  Another reason to pick a theme is because when you look back at photos of this special day, you’ll be proud to have hosted such an organized and attractive event! 

Mini Animal Plates & Cups for 1st Birthday


Obviously, this depends on the venue. If you’ve booked a restaurant, you’ll have to work out the menu options with them. You can ask for a catered meal or invite the guests to order for themselves. If you’re hosting at home, you have more control over what you serve. With kids around, it’s smart to steer clear of anything too fancy or messy. Instead, opt for finger foods and light-colored beverages (to avoid stains!). Be wary of allergies too; ask in advance if certain foods should be avoided altogether.

Brunch Spread at 1st Birthday PartyAt my son's 1st birthday we hosted brunch.  Bloody Mary bar for all the adults and lots of easy finger foods for all our guests (including the littles in attendance)


Since baby won’t have any memory of a birthday cake, it’s really for the guests and you to enjoy. You can go all out and have a concoction that’s as beautiful as it is delicious, or you can keep it simple with cupcakes and cookies. Whatever you choose, the presentation makes a huge difference. A bright-colored cake stand is certainly an eye-catcher, as are tiered platters loaded with treats!


There are tons of options when it comes to planning a party for your 1-year old. The trick is to first think about the basics – guests, venue, time, food – before diving into the other details. Once you’ve established what vibe will work best for baby and you, you can get the party started!  Even though your little one won’t have any recollection of this bash, you’ll know you did all you could to commemorate this milestone.

1st Birthday Photo

Real life:  Yep even after all that planning when your new 1 year old gives you tired eyes that say "you want me to do what with this cake?"
You smile!  Take the photos!  And enjoy every minute of it!




1st Birthday Party Ideas

Parties Made Simple.  


Samara Kamenecka is a New York-born freelance writer and translator living in Madrid. When she's not busy trying to mold her two kids into functional, contributing members of society, she can usually be found enjoying a glass of wine (or three). You can find her blogging about everything from toys to toddlers over at Tiny Fry.

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lynn armstrong - May 7, 2018

Totally loving all your ideas! We just had our first Bday party last Sunday ironically! Loved your last photo ;)

Jhilmil Bhansali - May 7, 2018

Perfect ingredients for a great 1st Birthday party. We celebrated our son’s 1st birthday with great pomp ad show and only thing we went missing was planning a theme party. This year, we plan for Theme party on his 4th.

alison - May 7, 2018

I remember our daughters 1st party. I think it was more for the adults, but it’s too cute.

Brittany - May 7, 2018

I love these simple tips you suggest. I know I am guilty of going overboard with my kids first birthdays and really trying to make every detail perfect!

Brittney - May 7, 2018

I love the brunch idea! so cute! Great things to think about!

Kaiesha Stewart - January 27, 2018

Oh I can’t wait to have children & throw completely over the top parties!

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