Tuesday 15 April 2014

Planning A First Birthday Party

My baby girl will be one year old next month so we have started to plan her very first birthday party. A lot has changed since my oldest daughter Chloe had her first birthday party all the way back in 2003, back then there was no facebook or twitter and most first birthday parties were just a simple tea party in the house with close family and a cake from Marks and Spencer's. But now due to the popularity of social media, the internet is full of idea's to celebrate a first birthday party in style, from fancy decorations and custom-made cakes to cake smash photo shoots and expensive parties.

 We want to give Sophia a special first birthday but we also don't want to go mad and spend a fortune as she won't be able to remember it. I am no expert at throwing party's I hate organising them and I nearly always opt for a party at a soft play that has everything included and all I have to do is turn up on the day and pay. But with a bit of forward planning, budgeting and organisation this is my checklists on how to throw a brilliant first birthday party without spending a fortune. 

1.) The first thing to do is draw up a guest list of who you want to invite to the party for a first birthday you should not have too many guests compared to when your child starts school and wants to invite the whole class to there party and you end up having to invite 30 + children. We have just invited family who have young children and the few friend's that we have that have children of a similar age to Sophia. There are about 14 children in total invited to her party. I have not invited any of baby's from the various baby groups she attends as she is not really friends with them.

2.) Once you have a guest list you then have to think about a venue as we only have a fairly small house a party at home was out of the question, there is no way we would fit 14 children plus parents into our house. So we decided to think of a suitable venue and we decided on the local leisure centres soft play as it is for under 5's and has bouncy castles which Sophia and her friends will love. We were going to have it in one of the large indoor soft plays in the area but I think they are more for older children.

3.) The next thing you need to think about is entertainment obviously as we are having the party at a soft play we do not need to provide any entertainment, also remember to pick something age appropriate  as most one year old's are too young for magicians and discos (I have been to first birthday party's which had these and the baby cried). If you are just having a small party in the house I have been to a party where the only entertainment was a ball pool and a box full of toys and some music on in the background and the children loved it. So you really don't need to spend a fortune.

4.) Decide if you want a theme for the party this seems to be really popular these days. I never use to pick a theme for Chloe's party's I just bought any old invites, but nearly every party I have been to lately there seems to be a theme. I quite like this idea and we have decided on a Sofia the first theme for Sophia's party 1.) because she likes it and 2.) it is also her name. We haven't gone overboard though all we have done is brought Sofia invites and Sofia goody bags and napkins all off e-bay which were really cheap and we are also getting her a Sofia the first cake made. I just think it nice for things to match but that's probably just me being weird.

5.) Food. Every party needs food luckily as we are having the party at a soft play food is included and we have picked party foods that are suitable for small children. The thing to remember is to always pick foods suitable for the child's age so we are having soft foods for the younger guests rather than the beef burger in buns and chips that the venue was going to provide for us. If you are doing the catering yourself you could always make some yummy snacks for grown-ups too.

6.) The cake, I always get Chloe a cake from good old Marks and Spencer's for her birthdays but I have noticed lately a huge rise in people getting custom made cakes made for children's birthdays. At first we were not going to get Sophia a cake made as we thought it would be really expensive (her christening cake was £70) and I didn't want to spend that much, but I really wanted her a Sofia the first cake and there is none in the shops and I can not bake to save my life. A few people on my facebook recommended a local cake maker who makes lovely children's cakes and they are quite reasonably priced so I have booked her to make a Sofia the first cake. 

7.) Another first birthday theme that I have noticed is big at the moment is first birthday cake smash photo shoots. I have seen a few friends post these on facebook recently and they look amazing!  I know that getting professional photographs taken is expensive but I just love these photos and I think they will be lovely to look back on in years to come. So much to the other half's dismay, I have booked a one in for Sophia for a few days after her birthday. 
8.) The outfit I always think it nice to buy children a nice outfit for there birthdays so they look nice and smart I really wanted to get Sophia a pretty dress but because she is having a soft play party I think I am going to have to get her leggings and a top from somewhere I have been looking for the last few week's but I can't seem to find anything that is really pretty and special enough for a first birthday. I will still be getting her a pretty dress though as every little girl needs lots of pretty dresses.

9.) Presents I always struggle with buying presents for really small children as they don't really need anything and they are too young for a lot of things and they cant ask for anything. This year we have decided as Sophia has lots of toys off Christmas we are going to buy her garden toys as she is a summer baby,we are getting her a baby swing as she loves the swings at the park, a smart trike bike so we can push her to the shops or the park instead of using the buggy all the time, a doc mcstuffin ride on as she is doc mcstuffin mad and we are going get her some books and  wooden puzzles as she loves them.

10.) Goody bags every children's party needs goody bags. Sticking with the Sofia the first theme we are having we got some Sofia goody bags off eBay and we are just going fill them with milky buttons, packets of baby biscuits and bubbles as most of the guests are too young for sweeties and party bag toys.
at 2 weeks old, can't believe this was almost a year ago!

After eleven years of hosting children's birthday, party's the thing I have realised to be the most important of all is to remember to just  have fun and make sure your child has an amazing day whatever you are doing and take lots and lots of photographs and don't forget to buy batteries for the camera!

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