Monday, June 9, 2014

First Birthday Party Checklist

How the heck did this happen? You are barely (read: not even close) to your pre-baby weight, you still aren't sleeping through the night, you STILL have no idea what you are even doing, and all the sudden you look down and realize you have an almost one-year-old on your hands (or more accurately, pulling on your pant leg).

This means two things. 1) Your kid is old enough to where your post-baby tummy flab *could* be misinterpreted as another baby-on-the-way, so best get to steppin' to the gym! and 2) Time to wipe away the tears and plan a fun party! Hooray!

Everyone likes a good list, right? I know I do, which is why I'm writing a blog post about the First Birthday Party Checklist. There are so many little things you need to do for things to run smoothly and to have the best party ever! And hey, this could be your first birthday party to throw for a little baby, so a checklist is definitely helpful. Anywho, I digress.

1) Decide on a theme. This really warrants a blog post of it's own because there are about 8 trillion party themes going on out there. I, for example, chose "watermelons" as Boo's 1st birthday theme (she's a summer baby).

2) Create your guest list. You are either one of those people who invite the world to parties, or one who prefers smaller get-togethers. We fall in the later category only because we live across the country from all of our friends and families!

3) Decide on a venue. This can be your home, a park (if you are one of those brave souls who won't freak out if it rains and you have to do a plan B), a restaurant, you get the picture. It largely depends on your budget and how many people you are inviting.

4) Decide on a date and time. The timing is important. You want to think of a time of day where your little cherub is least likely to be a little monster, but also a good time to have people over who also have young children. We chose a Saturday at 3pm. This is, on average, right after Boo's second nap and before dinner and all that, so finger's crossed that she will be on her best little birthday girl behavior.

5) Send out invitations. This requires also making and/or buying and/or downloading an invitation. I personally used to make my own invitation and printed those bad boys off on my printer (ideal if you are creative and don't have a ton of invitations to print out). There are also the fill-in-the-blank invitations you can get at Target, and the newest thing these days is to download a customizable pre-made invitation from a web site like Etsy.

6) Research bakeries and order your cake. Be sure to get a smash cake for your little cherub and a cake for the party-goers to enjoy.

7) Depending on your theme, you might want to plan some theme-related food and drink items. As I already mentioned, we are doing watermelons, so we will of course have watermelon slices on a stick, but we are also going to have a fun watermelon drink for the parents, along with run-of-the-mill BBQ. Another example is if you are going with a vintage pink theme, you might want to get some pink food items, i.e. pink jelly beans, pink cotton candy, etc.

8) Plan your decorations. You might want to get a little door wreath, get balloons, and set up a couple of tables (for food and/or a little display of birthday girl/boy pictures, etc). You can be crafty and look up projects on Pinterest, or you can spend a little more cash and go through online stores like Etsy. For last minute items, you can definitely go to Party City or a similar store.

9) Decide on gift bags. To gift bag, or not to gift bag? That is the question!!! I have found personally that the likelihood that the gift bag will actually make it home and be used is if the gift bag is a cutely packaged theme-related food item. I plan making sugar cookies that look like watermelons and putting them in cute little baggies with a tag that says "Hope you had a "Sweet" Time " or something of the like.

10) A couple of other things that you may choose to do: Hire a photographer, take 1 year photos prior to the event to display, set up the baby's high chair for the smash cake, hire a cleaning service to clean your house prior and post event, order thank you cards that match your invitations.

- For heaven's sake, please do not register for things your baby wants. This is not a shower. Not only is it presumptuous, it is rude. If a family member or friend doesn't know what to get your little angel for their birthday, have that conversation one-on-one. While you may have the best intentions, it is tacky.

- Don't forget to send thank you cards! It's never too early to start showing your little one proper etiquette and how to be polite. In a couple of years, she/he can help you write them! And no, I'm totally not kidding.


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