How to plan your baby's best first birthday party

By Amanda Bloye on January 06, 2014

You’ve done it! You and your kiddo have made it through the first year relatively unscathed. When it comes to celebrating the milestones in your little one’s life, the first birthday is pretty high on the list. 

Here are our top nine party tips to make it the best first birthday ever.

  1. Shop as far in advance as possible: Once you’ve got the date set and have the RSVPs in, plan a day to complete all of your shopping for the party. Tip: Ask someone to watch your kiddo for the day; you’ll accomplish more.
  2. Keep it short: Chances are there will be at least a few other kids in attendance. Even though good moods may be all around, don’t push your luck. Keep the party no longer than two hours long.
  3. For a party with plenty of child attendees, have a few extra hands on deck to help out: Make plans with your family members or a couple trusted teens in the neighbourhood to watch the kids and keep them entertained.
  4. Don't over-plan the party with games and activities: Allow guests time to arrive and enjoy one another’s company. Chances are that by the time presents and cake are done; there won’t be a lot of extra time to fill anyway.
  5. Do have an activity station available for little ones and older kids to occupy their time: Colouring books, washable finger paints (with painting smocks), bubbles and easy-to-use toys are all great items to have on hand. 
  6. Have two snack tables – one filled with healthy treats for little hands, including cheese cubes, fruits and veggies and crackers, and have a second table for adults. Grown-up goodies are always appreciated by parents (they might be sick of eating raisins, Cheerios and Goldfish). Be sure to ask those attending about any allergies so you can be prepared with specific snacks on party day. 
  7. Two words - cake smash: Yes, it is messy, but every kid deserves to go a little crazy on their big oh-one. Tip: Do this with a separate mini cake, not the one you plan on serving to guests. 
  8. Hire a pro: You’ll be too busy to snap photos all day, so hire a professional photographer to get some great candids and family pictures. 
  9. Relax: Yes, easier said than done. But really– relax. Spend time with your little one. You’ll want to remember every moment. 

Eleanor's First Birthday Party (Daughter of Editor Amy Bielby):

"There were no clowns, princesses or over-the-top activities, just 50 family and friends celebrating and eating a “Very Hungry Caterpillar” cake. When it was time to blow out the candles, Eleanor looked at the cake, reached out a tiny hand and grabbed the lit candle. After a slight panic, all was well. Her favourite part? Balloons". – AMY

Juliette's First Birthday Party (Daughter of Art Director Sylvie Gosselin):

"We had a “cute as a button” theme, lots of family and friends and plenty of food. I decided to test my baking skills and made banana cupcakes with strawberry and cream frosting. Sounds good right? Wrong. Some of the kids were bringing them back because they didn’t like them! Turns out I need more practice. Juliette didn’t seem to mind; she was just happy to get her hands dirty and make a big mess". – SYLVIE

By Amanda Bloye| January 06, 2014

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