Ask The Mamas: Birthday Party Planning

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, toddlers, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses!

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MSW reader Jessica asks:

“We’re starting to plan my daughter’s first birthday party. The guest list, theme, etc. is starting to stress me out. How many people did you invite to your child’s 1st birthday? What did you do?”

  • We kept our son’s first birthday party VERY low key! And I am so happy that we did. His birthday is about a week before Christmas and to cut down on the chaos that always surrounds that time of year, we opted for a simple dinner at our house with family and one close friend. We served pizza and salad and of course, birthday cake! We requested no gifts (he was too young to understand what gifts were and Christmas was right around the corner!) and most people happily complied, though some did bring a present. All in all, we had less than 25 people. We didn’t bother with a theme, fancy invitations or favors. Overall, it was very inexpensive and very low-stress! And who doesn’t love that? Check out Brody’s low-key first birthday party~Mary Ellen M.
  • I invited grandparents, godparents and aunts and uncles to my son’s 1st birthday party. It was actually larger than I would have liked but it’s customary in my husband’s family to invite all aunts/uncles to these things. As far as a theme goes, just pick one stick with it, and don’t let it get too complicated. I chose Cookie Monster, decorated with blue accents, and made some cute cupcakes. ~Vanessa B. 
  • We kept our daughter’s first birthday party very small. We only invited her baby friends from her playgroup and their parents. It turned out great, everyone had fun and it was a really nice amount of people— not too crowded and not too sparse. Remember that you don’t have to go “all out” for the theme. Chances are, babies won’t want to play any games or do activities you set up, and parents will be chasing their kids around anyway. Just buy or make some food, hang up a few decorations and you’ve got yourself a party! We had a “Candy Land” themed party and it was fairly easy and super fun. Here’s how C’s first birthday party turned out. ~Cassie W. 

Image by Kay Rogge Foto Design

  • We ended up with a party much bigger than we thought we’d have. In my husband’s family, first birthdays are a really big deal, so it’s common to do a big party. We invited just over 50 people and about 40 were able to come. Not wanting to have the gathering at someone’s house, we rented a meeting space through the HOA of a friend of mine. I was able to design and print the paper goods myself. I DIYed a birthday t-shirt for the birthday boy and my brother made a couple of cakes. My mom and mother-in-law ordered a few trays of food and some balloons. Given the size, the party was actually pretty low-key. Friends and family mingled and kids played. We didn’t do anything that was scheduled; we just let the day evolve on its own. For us, the theme was added somewhat last minute. In my opinion, I don’t feel like a theme is required. You can have a great party without a theme. If you want something that ties elements of the party together, you can just do coordinating colors for plates, cups, balloons, etc. Otherwise, once you pick a theme, I’d recommend sticking with it. Don’t go searching for other themes once you’ve made up your mind. Pinterest and Etsy are great resources for inspiration. Here’s how TJ’s 1st birthday turned out. ~Alex. T 

Image by Michael Tebow Photography

  • Emma’s birthday was very small. We only invited immediate family —her aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents. We ordered pizza, put some frozen wings in the oven and made our own cupcakes. We had just moved into our new home and it was kind of nice not having the added stress of a big birthday party and all that goes with it. Plus, it’s nice keeping things small and intimate. ~Sam A.
  • We invited about 40 people to our little one’s first birthday party. We wanted to make sure everyone who was present in her first year of life was invited to celebrate the big first birthday. We did ‘owls’ as our theme! My advice is taking a deep breath and do one thing at a time. Check out Alexis’ first birthday party!  ~Christy A.

The advice given here is solely based on our individual experiences and in no way is it going to be perfect for every mama, every baby, and every situation. None of us are medical doctors. If you have a question regarding a medical topic we can give our opinions, but please consult with your doctor. We are not liable or responsible for the results of following any specific advice in any given situation.

One Response to Ask The Mamas: Birthday Party Planning

  1. My daughter is a Christmas morning baby; my nephew was born the same year on New Years Eve. My sister & I decided to have a joint bday party because we were all going back to Ohio for Christmas/New Years. Our family & a few friends were invited. This year my daughter will be 2. We’re staying home this year, and we don’t have any party plans. Yet. (I am a notoriously last-minute planner.)

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